Tree house

The Bride moves from speaking of Dodi as an “apple tree” with delightful fruit and shade to entering Dodi’s “house of wine.” The “house of wine” is a variation of the image of the tree. The apple tree is a place of fruit and shade, a house of fruit. The . . . . Continue Reading »


The word “shade” is first used in Genesis 19:8, where Lot says that the angels have come under the “shadow” of his roof. The shadow of Yahweh’s wings welcomes, protects, cools those who draw near to his house. To come into shade is to come out of the sun, out of . . . . Continue Reading »

Speech of Spirit and Bride

The opening statement of Song of Songs 2 is spoken by the Bride, but the Bridegroom chimes in with an enhancement. This is the liturgical structure of conversation, and of life, and of love. When Adam named the animals, he found no one to share in His priestly task in the garden-sanctuary of God. . . . . Continue Reading »

Clusters of Henna

“My belived” ( dodi ) is as a cluster ( eshchol ) of camphire or henna from the vineyards (Song 1:14). The word eshchol is typically used for bunches of grapes. The dream of the cup-bearer that Joseph interpreted involved wine from eshchols of grapes (Genesis 40:10), and the spies . . . . Continue Reading »

Reclining at table

The scene in the first stich of Song of Songs 1:12 pictures the king “at his table.” Some translations say that the king is at his couch. The Hebrew word here is from a verb that means to “surround” ( sabab ). It might be translated as “While the king was compassing . . . . Continue Reading »

Bodies and Christ’s Body

Griffiths ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) ) suggests that we must interpret the Song’s bodily imagery through the theological lens of Paul’s teaching concerning the body of Christ. “The complex and fluid relations of one body part to another – of . . . . Continue Reading »

Divine excess

Griffiths argues ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) , pp. 30-31) that the analogy between human love and God’s gift of love to us is found in “the sheer excess of human sexual love, its radical disproportion to its biological and social functions, its deranged . . . . Continue Reading »

Bodies transformed

Paul Griffiths brilliantly analyzes the lovers’ obsession with one another’s bodies in the Song ( Song of Songs (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) , p. 30): “Lovers are interested in one another’s bodies, indeed absorbed by them. They gaze into one another’s . . . . Continue Reading »


Here’s an intriguing etymology. The Hebrew word na’ah is used only three times in the Old Testament (Psalm 93:5; Song of Songs 1:10; Isaiah 52:7), meaning “to be beautiful.” It appears to come from navah , “to sit, to dwell.” It has the sense of “sitting . . . . Continue Reading »

My friend

The Lover calls his bride his “darling” (Song of Songs 1:9, NASB). The Hebrew is ra’yah , and this is the first use of the word. Of the 10 uses in the Hebrew Bible, nine are in the Song and always the Lover’s term of endearment for his Beloved (1:15; 2:2, 10, 13; 4:1, 7; . . . . Continue Reading »