My Least Favorite Bible Book

Posted on February 9, 2021


By David Ettinger

No Romeo
It was 1994, and I was in a parked car with my girlfriend.

The past 2 years were a challenge as I lived in New Mexico, and she in Florida. We had met in Israel in 1992, fell for each other, and started a long-distance relationship when we returned to the States. What kept us apart is that we were both single parents who shared joint custody with our ex-spouses. Moving cross-country was not an option.

Here is the low point of our discussion. “David,” she said, “you haven’t even asked me to marry you yet.” I cluelessly replied, “I didn’t know you wanted me to.”

Yeah, I said that. It’s an understatement to say that I ain’t no Romeo, and that the things of romance have not been one of my strong points. This ought to give you a clue as to my least favorite book of the Bible. The book, of course, is Song of Solomon, also known as Song of Songs.

A Matter of Why
It’s not so much that I don’t understand the Song of Solomon, it’s more that I don’t understand why it’s there. And please, don’t drag out that sorry explanation that it’s a picture of Christ’s love for the Church.

First, the book was written about 950 years before the Church was even established. Second, the context does not allow for it. And third, based on that same context, that explanation is downright disgusting. The Song of Solomon extols the virtues of physical love as permitted in marriage, and by Bible standards there is a “steamy” element about it. To liken it to Christ and the Church … come on now!

One of the major elements of Song of Solomon is its imagery. A few examples:

  • “Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone” (4:1-2).
  • “Your neck is like the tower of David, built with courses of stone; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies” (4:4-5).
  • “How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies” (7:1-2).

Of course this made sense way back at that time, but it reads awkwardly today. I’m sure in read awkwardly in Europe in A.D. 921 as well.

And then there’s the entire section extolling the beauty and glory of King Solomon (3:6-10). That would be okay in the book’s context – if it wasn’t King Solomon who wrote the book!

Help Me Out Here
Since becoming a Christian in 1986, I have read the Bible twice yearly, and this includes the Song of Solomon – I’ve never skipped it.

But honestly, I just don’t know why it’s in the Bible. I have read commentaries on it and tried to understand its purpose, but I don’t. It has never benefitted me intellectually or spiritually, and had I never read the Song of Solomon, I can’t say that my life would be any worse for it.

So, I’m turning it over to you. If you can tell me why this book is beneficial, I’d like to know. If you can tell me why it’s edifying, I’d like to know. If you can tell me why it’s in the Bible, I’d like to know.

And I’m serious about that. I honestly welcome your opinions; I’d be grateful for any insight you can give me. So, I open it up to you, and much thanks for your cooperation!