At a Glance
Author: King Solomon, king of Israel
Audience: Every passionate lover of God
Date: The reign of King Solomon, 970–931 BC
Type of Literature: Love poetry and wisdom literature
Major Themes: Christ’s passion for his bride, divine relationship, the Christian life, and Christian devotion
Title of the Poem of Love — 1:1
The Discovery of True Love — 1:2–1:16
The Shulamite Finds Her True Identity as the Fiancée of the King — 2:1–2:7
He Calls Her to a Higher Realm — 2:8–17
She Endures the Dark Night of the Soul — 3:1–5
The Revelation of the Marriage Carriage — 3:6–11
How the King Sees His Bride-to-Be — 4:1–5
The Shulamite Says Yes to the Higher Realm — 4:6
The King’s Perfect Partner — 4:7–5:1
The Magnificent Intercessor — 5:2–16
The King Lives in Her Heart — 6:1–3
She Ravishes His Heart — 6:4–9
The Radiant Bride — 6:10–7:13
The Cup of Bliss — 8:1–4
The Seal of Fire Placed upon Her Heart — 8:5–7
The Vineyard of Love — 8:8–13
The Divine Duet — 8:14
About Song of Songs
The first book translated in The Passion Translation was the Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon), my favorite book in the Bible. I have fallen in love with this sweetest song of all the ages. We see the Shulamite’s breathtaking journey unveiled in this amazing allegory. It is the path every passionate lover will choose. But this divine parable penned by Solomon also describes the journey that every longing lover of Jesus will find as his or her very own.
By translating this portion of the Word of God, the Song of Songs, I have attempted to translate not only from a scholarly or linguistic perspective, but also from the passion of a heart on fire. Love will always find a language to express itself. Fiery love for Jesus pushes our thoughts out of hiding and puts them into words of adoration. This articulation, out of the deepest places of our hearts, moves God and inspires each of us to a greater devotion. Everyone deserves to hear and feel the passion of our Bridegroom for his radiant and soon-to-be-perfected bride.
The inspired Song of Songs is a work of art. It is a melody sung from the heart of Jesus Christ for his longing bride. It is full of symbols, subtle art forms, poetry, and nuances that the translator must convey in order to bring it forth adequately to the English reader. This is what I have attempted to do with this project.
Some of the cultural symbols that conveyed rich texture of meaning to the Hebrew speaker nearly three thousand years ago have become almost impossible to leave in their literal form, since the English speaker of today has little or no connection to those symbols. This requires that much of the hidden meanings locked into the Hebrew text be made explicit. That is why I have chosen to make this a dynamic equivalent translation—transferring the meaning, not just the words, into a form that many will find refreshing.
So be prepared to see yourself in this journey and hear the Lord’s lyrics of love sung over you. Invest the time to read this through in one sitting. Then go back and read slowly and carefully, pondering each verse and praying through each love principle revealed in this translation. I think you may be shocked to read some of the things spoken over your life, considering them almost too good to be true.
May heaven’s glorious Bridegroom, the beloved of your soul, come and manifest himself to you in a wonderful fashion as you read Song of Songs in The Passion Translation. My prayer is that you will be as thrilled with what you read as I have been in translating it.
In reading this Shulamite’s journey, the storyline’s purpose is often missed or overlooked. I believe the Holy Spirit has hidden within the Song of Songs an amazing story—a story of how Jesus makes his bride beautiful and holy by casting out her fear with perfect love. This sent-from-heaven revelation is waiting to be received with all its intensity and power to unlock the deepest places of our hearts.
Most of the earliest church fathers—including Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and Jerome—viewed the Song of Songs as a clear representation of Christ and his bride, presented in deeply symbolic and allegorical teaching. Along with many other early church fathers, they wrote commentaries to reveal the beautiful secrets given to us in Solomon’s masterpiece.
Unfortunately for some, the Song of Songs has become merely a book expressing sexuality, with hidden meanings and symbols of sensuality. Many modern expositors teach from the Song of Songs the sexual relationship appropriate to a husband and wife. They find it difficult when others see the symbols and apply them to the spiritual journey every believer must take as we move further into the passionate heart of our heavenly Bridegroom. Their fear is that we “over-spiritualize” the Song of Songs. How hard that would be! How wonderfully spiritual and holy is this song of all songs!
Author and Audience
The author of this love poem is made clear at the first stanza: “The most amazing song of all, by King Solomon.” We can be thankful and grateful this wise, stately king gave us such a passionate, symbolic picture of the love of God—first for his people and then for Christ’s church! His poetic insights deepen our understanding of the love of God in the same way they did for his people from generations past!
Interpreting Song of Songs. This divine song of romance is one of the most difficult books to interpret. Over the centuries there have been no fewer than six dominant ways people have understood Song of Songs, including: typical, dramatic, mythological-cultic, dream, literal, and allegorical.
This translation reveals each symbol that the reader encounters in this song as a form of “virtual reality,” which, when properly interpreted, helps us in our pursuit of Jesus Christ. Truly, if this is the song of all songs, its theme goes beyond and reaches higher than merely literal human sexuality. It extends to our union with the living God.
Christ’s Divine Love for His Bride. From the second verse in this poem of divine romance, the love of God shines and springs forth! It opens by testifying to the Spirit’s kiss of God’s divine word breathing upon us the revelation of this love, equipping us as his warriors and intoxicating us with his love.
Throughout this most amazing song, it speaks of God’s saving love, keeping love, forgiving love, and embracing love. Even the allegory itself of the bride and Bridegroom-King speaks of the passionate pursuit of our loving God! Sitting with this poem of divine romance will transform your understanding of God’s love like never before!
The dominant voice in this divine love poem is the Shulamite. This word (Shulamite) and the word for Solomon are taken from the same Hebrew root word—one masculine, the other feminine. We are one spirit with our King, united with him. He longs for his bride to be his love prisoner, in the prison cell of his eternal love! Through our union with Christ we enjoy a joint possession of all things. You have become the Shulamite, and you will ultimately dwell in holy union with Jesus Christ.
Divine Christian Romance. The poem embedded in this romantic book tells the story of our journey of divine romance as bride of the Bridegroom-King, Jesus Christ. It speaks of the journey every longing lover of Jesus will find as his or her very own. The bride sees her beloved as a shepherd, a representation of the relationship between you and your Beloved. The suffering love of Jesus will be over our hearts for the rest of our days—the revelation of our Beloved tied onto the cross like a bundle of myrrh, a picture of the suffering love of Christ dripping down from Calvary’s tree for every lover of God.
The symbol of the bride (Christians) pursuing and being given to the Bridegroom-King (Jesus) also represents the community of brides, the church. For the beautiful bride overflowing with her Lover’s life is to be given to others, even as Jesus was given to us by the Father. She has become a feast for the nations, wine to cheer the hearts of others. In this poem of divine romance the “city” is a picture of the local church, a place with government, order, and overseers. And the king’s “vineyard” is a picture of the church, the called-out multitude of those who follow Jesus.
Passionate Christian Devotion. Throughout this love song of divine romance, various symbols are used to speak of our passionate, emotional devotion to our Bridegroom-King-Lover: lilies are symbols of our pure devotion in the “temple” of our inner being to Christ; foxes are the compromises hidden deep in our hearts that keep the fruit of passionate devotion to Christ from growing within us; hair is a symbol of our devotion to Christ; pomegranates are equated to human passion and emotions, for when opened they speak powerfully of our hearts of passion opened to our Lover.