It’s not difficult to see how allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs inspires the topsy-turvy world of Jewish and Christian mysticism.

The poem speaks of the veiling of the bride (1:7; 4:1, 3; 6:7). That’s natural and literal, of course, since ancient Israelite women wore veils (Genesis 24:65; 38:14).

But when we move to allegory, it gets tangled, especially if we think, as we should, that the Song is full of temple allegory. If Lover and Beloved are Yahweh and Israel in the trysting place of the temple, then Yahweh should be the one veiled, since He, like Moses, veils the face of His glory because of Israel’s hardness of heart.

Yet in the Song the Bride is veiled. Woman is the glory of man, so Israel the Bride is the glory of God. She is a glory veiled until Christ and the Spirit come to remove the veil so that God’s glory-bride can radiate openly to the world, so that God and His bride may meet face to face, unveiled.