Song of Solomon, or sometimes named Song of Songs, is a beautiful addition to the Scriptural canon of the Bible. It does not deal with prophecies or great leaders of the faith, but instead is a touching and emotional dialogue between two betrothed individuals.
It is home to the familiar passage in Song of Solomon 3:4 which says, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.”
The phrase “I have found the one my soul loves” is popular among Christian weddings and even speaks to any kind of all-fulfilling romantic love between two people. It speaks to the deep connection that engagement and marriage can create, and is a poignant picture of what love can look like.
What Song of Solomon Does Not Say
Traditionally, Song of Solomon is considered part of the poetry genre found in the Bible. It does not teach any hidden truths about God, and it is not focused on a presentation of Israel’s history. Since it is found in the Old Testament, it does not point to Jesus Christ or the start of the Christian church.
However, many segments of theological study have chosen to look at this brief book as an allegory, meaning that it symbolizes something else using language that evokes a particular set of imagery. In this chase, tradition holds that the “lover,” or man, represents God, and the “beloved,” or woman, represents either the people of Israel or the church.
The main issue with this perspective is that much of the language in Song of Solomon is explicitly sexual. Both the lover and the beloved delve into overt physical descriptions and speak with great longing about the day when they can finally consummate their relationship in the marriage bed. While we will have the greatest union of all as the bride of Christ when we get to heaven, it can be problematic to assign this type of symbolism to the church.
Instead, this is a book of the Bible we can take at face value. Solomon, the wisest and most powerful king Israel has ever known, may have written this book as a dialogue between two idealized young lovers, or perhaps it was written with the king in mind. Either way, we can simply read it as the rising tides of emotional and physical love between two people.
The Soul That Loves
Song of Solomon begins as two people long for each other. They describe each other in intimate detail, the bride – and eventually the groom – praising every aspect of their respective physical bodies. They clearly long for each other; their hearts are overrun with devotion and desire.
As chapter 3 begins, we find the beloved (or bride) describing a dream she recently had where she sought her lover. She left her house and roamed the city with no success, asking the soldiers in the watchtowers if they could help her. Soon she found her beloved and refused to let him go again until they could escape to a private place together. When she awoke from her dream, the lover is said to be arriving for the wedding: the woman’s dream would soon become a reality.
Here we find this tender phrase, “I have found the one my soul loves.” The Hebrew word translated as “soul” refers to the innermost core of the person, that which gives a person breath and life. It is also the seat of all emotions and passions. The word for “love” here is versatile, but can refer to romantic love, patriotic love, familial love, and love from God.
The soul-deep love the woman is experiencing is the deepest possible connection and yearning one can feel. All of her body and mind ache to be near her beloved, and nothing else will satisfy. It is a love that finds its source in the heart, its stimulation in the mind, its expression in fiery emotions, and its consummation in a physical, sexual embrace.
Today’s Marriage Vows and Passions
We can very easily apply this type of love to our marriage relationships today. The notion of “falling in love” may be a fairy tale concept from centuries past, but the prominence of romantic love has risen sharply with the Western culture of the past two hundred years. We place a great deal of emphasis on a romantic connection, and today’s relationships frequently fizzle out if a physical attraction is not joined with a deep emotional connection. We will even break a lasting marriage covenant if we do not feel connected to the other person.
However, biblical marriage is one that is similar to what is described in this book. Both parties desire each other deeply and will find rest and peace in no other person than their beloved. They are physically and sexually attracted to each other, falling for every part of the other’s body and experiencing the joy of a God-honoring expression of sexual love. They feel a hole in their heart that only the other person can fill, and only when together do they truly feel complete. When they come together, the world disappears and troubles simply fade away. Everything is right, everything is good.
We should all search for the person that makes us feel like this. God has given human beings the gift of marriage as His ordained means of sexual expression, but the commitment we make to each other in marriage is a holy expression of love and fidelity that God blessed from Eden forward. We dream of our beloved, we cannot wait to see them at the end of the day, and we smile when we see them as we wake each morning.
May you find the one that your soul loves, and may you be happy together!
Expert Overview of Song of Songs
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.