Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Singing the Scriptures - The Song of Solomon (Parts IV and V)

The full text in Hebrew and English with an English and Hebrew underlay and also showing the cantillation symbols as deciphered by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura is now available at the shared location in PDF form. Who would want to sing or to interpret that ancient song?

Better question, who would want to be sung about as in that ancient song? Is Solomon really the lover? Only to the extent that he fills the role assigned to him in Psalm 72. And as historical king, he fails in this role - too many wives, to many horses, too much economic power. Solomon like other rulers then and now ruled by power for his own sake and began his reign with murder. Don't think it is only national sovereigns that do such things. Count the oligarchs and the kleptocrats and all the self-interested of the earth in these roles.

Solomon gets a little word play since his name means peace. It has the sh-l-m sound in it. So also we have the Shulamite, who we identify with the bride, and the foxes - shu-alim, that have the same sound but separated by a guttural. These sounds frame the poem. But the central word-play of the poem is in the animals, the hart and the roe that sound like God and hosts.

The imagery of love is not confined to the Song. It pervades the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. It has its place in the NT also. No one fasts when the Bridegroom is present. (Mark 2:19, Matthew 9:15, Luke 5:34. And of course Revelation 21:2.)

I have tidied up the text quite a bit and changed the translation to match the music somewhat - where feasible. See the text alone with the links to my work in 2010 (updated) on the right hand side of the page beginning here.