This new translation of The Song of songs by the Blochs was quite wonderful. It shows adeptness in Hebrew poetry and great and careful skill in translating the poem into the often cumbersome English! The three sections of the book were all very “quick reads”. The first section gave some historical background and insight into the poem, as well as their approach in translating it. The second section was their translation of Song of songs; which again was a very reverent but fresh and helpful rendering of the ancient love song. The third section was all commentary and bordered on tedious; but still helpful to those of us laboring to understand the wonderful world of the Hebrew language!
I take issue with their assertion of a later date to the Song, and not attributing its authorship to Solomon. There is a long debate on such things, but I am not ready to commit to a “side”; however, I lean toward an earlier date and a Solomonic authorship.
What I found most wonderful here, was the glory with which this Divinely inspired song paints the union of a man and woman in the act of love-making. It truly is Edenic in its figures and analogies; and shows how sexual union between a man and a woman is perhaps the clearest picture of heaven and earth united. The Song is clearly erotic, and it makes no sense to try to make it acceptable to our Jane Austin sensibilities; but its eroticism is a discrete and restrained sensuality. Our culture has made sex something bawdy, ribald & naughty. Solomon’s song is at once highly sexual and yet plainly modest and tasteful. This song doesn’t bring sex into the gutter; it lifts us out of the gutter of our sexual perversion and into the heights of God’s intended order for sex.
Finally, most wonderful to me is the theme in the song of the two lovers longing to be together, then separating, then coming together again. It is these “comings and goings” which makes the primary “plot” to the story. Best of all, this song of love ends with the two lovers parting, and it leaves us with a longing to see them reunited. In much the same way, the story we are in is that the Beloved has “gone away”, and though His love is always with us, we long for the warmth of His full presence. The church is the Shullamite, longing, aching, waiting until the return of her Beloved in the flesh. Oh, what a day that will be…