How can someone say that in the Bible? The book in the Bible called the Song of Solomon can be seen as one of the most controversial, yet highly praised, books in the Bible. It has had so many different interpretations of what the author is trying to say in his writing. The interpretations are set on four different theories. The book is interpreted allegorical, typological, prophetic, finally the theory I use and trust in, Literal.
Allegory is a form of literature that the writer is using a story that has a hidden or parallel meaning. Allegorical theories, sometimes called allegorizing, is interpretation of texts that treats them as allegorical, whether or not their author intended them to be allegories (Payne,1996). The problem one may have with this type of interpretation is that it is left to the imagination of the person giving the interpretation, therefore, losing some viability.
Comparatively, one can use a typological theory of interpretation. This might also be described as a spiritual reading of the book, only slightly less allegorical than the allegorical view (Long, 2014). Being that, one may interpret the writing with spiritual comparisons that the author was not intending to be made. When doing this, the meaning of the writing has the possibility of being vastly distorted for the original text.
By the same token, one can use a prophetic theory of interpretation when looking at the book Song of Solomon. In the same fashion as typological theorization, the prophetic theory is still allegoric since the book is not taken literally. Likewise, when one uses this theory, they are taking liberty in how they tie it to different points in biblical history. I can see where this type of interpretation might cause a conflict between certain scholars.
In addition, one can use the final theory, and that is literal theorization. This interpretation is just as it states, taking the writing as a literal, powerful description of the romantic and sensual love between a man and a woman, observing both their courtship and their marriage (Guzik, 2017). When one looks at the writing in the Song of Solomon in this way, they see what God expects of his followers when it comes to marriage relationships. Moreover, there is an underlying illustration of the relationship that God want to have with his people. For this reason, one may find this to be the best way to interpret this writing because if they are to believe that all writings in the Bible are inspired by God why would he leave one of its writing up to the interpretation of man.
All in all, we can see that the Song of Solomon has been interpreted in many ways by many different people. By and large, even with the varying interpretations scholars can agree that the Son of Solomon is one of the most important of the 1,005 songs Solomon wrote, as seen in 1 Kings 4:32 (KJV); And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. Rabbi Aqiba even went as far as to state, “the entire history of the world from it beginning to this very day does not outshine that day on which this book was given to Israel. All the Scriptures, indeed, are holy…; but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies.” Given these points one may find it hard to interpret this book any way but literally.
- Guzik, D. (21 Feb, 2017). Study Guide for Song of Songs 1 by David Guzik. Retrieved from https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Sgs/Sgs-1.cfm
- Long, W. (2014, August 29). Making Sense of the Song of Solomon An Introduction to the Song of Solomon. Grace Christian University. Retrieved from https://grace.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-213389-dt-content-rid-12354854_1/courses/gbcol.BIB141-O-LA68B/WK3%20Song%20of%20Solomon%20-%20P.%20Long%20Notes.pdf
- Payne, P. B. (1996). Gospel Perspectives. Retrieved January 5, 2020, from https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/allegory.html.