I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine… (Song of Solomon 6:3).
Throughout the Judeo-Christian tradition, there has been debate about the importance and meaning of a small Old Testament book that sits at the end of the Poetic Books of the Old Testament, and right before the Major Prophets. It is usually titled either Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs. Some have suggested it doesn’t belong in the Bible, while others believe it to be the most important book of all.
The debate usually revolves around whether the book is to be taken at face value as an ode to romantic, and even erotic, love – or as an allegory or mystical treatment of the relationship between God and his people. I like to view it both ways.
Right out of the shoot, Solomon’s “lover” or “beloved” says, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth…for your love is more delightful than wine.” You can certainly see how the first phrase lends itself toward a more literal, romantic interpretation, while the second phrase could be a beautiful expression of our love for God.
Today’s text has special meaning for me. The Hebrew text translated here into English is embedded around my wedding ring. I usually think of it as a commitment to my wife, but it is also a reminder of how this is true in my relationship with God. I am my beloved’s. I belong to God, who loves me. And he is mine. God has committed himself to me!
The entire “song” is filled with a sense of passionate longing and the desire for consummation. On a physical level, it is very hot. Part of the reason interpreters throughout the centuries have gone for the more symbolic translation is the discomfort some seem to have for a view of biblical sexuality that is so erotic. Too bad! We could learn a lot about the way marriage was intended to be just by studying the way the lover and the beloved talk to each other in the text. When was the last time you said to your wife, “How beautiful you are, my darling!” And of course, if you really want to compliment her, you could go with the “Your hair is like a flock of goats” line. I think it went over better in Solomon’s day.
But seriously, do you know the passion God has to be in relationship with you? Do you know that you are his “beloved”? Do you long for connection with him like the beloved has for the lover? God is the lover of your soul. Actually, he is the lover of you…all of you…body, soul, and spirit. Today, put a “B” on your hand to remind you, “I am my beloved’s.”