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Song of Songs. An Intriguing Look at Love Poetry in the Bible. Sr. Diane Bergant Old Testament scholar. Set Me as a Seal – Mike Maher.

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song of songs

Song of Songs

An Intriguing Look at

Love Poetry in the Bible


Sr. Diane Bergant

Old Testament scholar

set me as a seal mike maher
Set Me as a Seal – Mike Maher

Set me as a seal on your heart. Set me as a seal on your soul. For strong as death is love, unyielding as the grave. Nothing will quench its flame, nothing will quench its flame. Kiss me, my love, that your name be on my lips. You intoxicate my beingwith the fragrance of your presence. How beautiful you are, my darling. Show me your face, let me hear your voice. Sweet as the dew in the early morn, like a lily among the thorns.I looked for you, the one my heart loves. I looked for you, but did not find you. I searched through the night until I rested in your sight. Now, I will never let you go. You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes. Your lips so sweet, adorned with honey. My hands, they drip with myrrh.



  • 4 Main Interpretations: a dramatic performance, an allegory, a cultic reenactment, and a collection of love poems
  • Traditionally treated as an allegorical representation of the relationship of God and Israel as husband and wife
  • “On one hand, more demure readers have frequently been chagrined by its erotic character and have chosen a metaphorical reading.” (7)


  • Literally, Song of Songs is a poetic dialogue between a man and a woman that represents their movement from courtship to consummation.
  • “On the other hand, its unabashed sensuality has captured the imagination of and has endeared it to those who appreciate passionate human love.” (7)

Poems of Yearning

(1:2-2:7; 2:6; 7:9b-10; 8:1-3)


(1:5-6; 8:10)

Poems of Admiration

(1:9-17; 2:3; 4:9-15; 6:4-5a; 7:8-11)

Accounts of an Experience

(2:8-10a; 3:1-5; 5:2-8; 6:11-12; 8:5b)

Characterizations of the Lover’s Physical Form

(4:1-7; 5:10-16; 6:5b-7; 7:2-8)

Invitations to Meet

(2:10b-14; 4:8; 5:1; 7:12-14)

human heart and the natural world
Human Heart and the Natural World

“Whether it is the woman in awe of the strength and splendor of her lover, or the man glorifying her physical charms, the descriptions all call on elements from the natural world to characterize the feature being described…” (156)

the ebb and flow of dialogue presence and absence
The Ebb and Flow of Dialogue(Presence and Absence)

“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. As a lily among brambles, so is my love among maidens.” 2:1-2

“As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” 2:3

a new vision of woman
A New Vision of Woman
  • In her ebb-and-flow conversation with her lover, the woman is assertive, undaunted, risking misunderstanding and censure as she pursues her love.
  • “Her assertiveness springs from the sexual desire that she experiences and from what she perceives as an appropriate response for the moment.” (158)
the assertive woman
The Assertive Woman

“I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves.” 3:2

“Let us go out early to the vineyards…There I will give you my love.” 7:12

“O that his left hand were under my head and that his right hand embraced me.” 8:3

love a biblical perspective
Love:A Biblical Perspective
  • Mutual passion and commitment of couple
  • A universal force, rooted in the very makeup of the human person
  • Develops at its own pace
  • Enables us to endure unimaginable distress for the sake of the other
a biblical perspective on love
A Biblical Perspective on Love

“While the Song describes love in many ways, it is probably its depiction as an elemental power, the force of which rivals the strength of death itself, that is the most startling.”



“Since the heart of biblical spirituality is love of God and love of the other, and since sexuality is the physiological and psychological grounding of the human ability to love, sexuality plays a very important role in spirituality.” (11)

connections to christian love and marriage
Connections to Christian Love and Marriage
  • Moving away from a false dichotomy between spirit and flesh
  • Reuniting sexuality with the experience of the sacred
  • Love transforms us: emotionally, physically, spiritually