The Song of Solomon mentions the name "Solomon" several times. Is it plausible to understand Solomon to have become a symbol of masculinity (a wise, mighty, powerful womanizer), and read references to Solomon as comparisons of the bridegroom to the symbol of masculinity (much like one would understand a man being called "Casanova")?

1 Answer 1


I am sure there are many ways to read these references, if this is what you wish to do. Apparently this was originally an operetta (John Romer, Testament: the Bible and History). Although this poem is attributed to Solomon, the language and style indicate that it was actually written after the end of the Babylonian Exile.

The Song of Solomon tells the sexual experiences and thoughts of a dark-skinned woman, but seems to have no real historical or religious significance. The singer is portrayed as a farm girl whose skin is darkened from her time in the sun, and her lover as a shepherd:

Song 1:6-7: Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has burned me. My brothers have been angry with me; they charged me with the care of the vineyards: my own vineyard I have not cared for. Tell me, you whom my heart loves, where you pasture your flock, where you give them rest at midday, Lest I be found wandering after the flocks of your companions.

The two make love in the fields, and she calls him her king, pretending that the trees are a palace – “the beams of our house are cedars, our rafters, cypresses.”

The song ends with the girl wishing that he were her brother, so that she could kiss him in public without being teased, and they would be together in the home of her mother, after which she speaks of her innocent young sister:

Song 8:1-2 Oh, that you were my brother, nursed at my mother's breasts! If I met you out of doors, I would kiss you and none would taunt me. I would lead you, bring you in to the home of my mother. There you would teach me to give you spiced wine to drink and pomegranate juice.

Some find in it a portrayal and praise of the mutual love of God and his people, or an inspired portrayal of ideal human love. Perhaps it can also be seen as comparing the bridegroom to the “masculine ideal,” but only if we read into the song actual references to King Solomon.

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    Got a scholarly reference to support that skin color assertion?
    – user947
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 13:37
  • Song of Solomon 1:5: "I am black but comely ..." Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 21:29
  • I don't think that many scholars think that this means 'black' in the modern sense of the term. 'Swarthy' or 'suntanned' are offered by HALOT.
    – user947
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 22:41
  • 1
    Thanks for the answer, but the question is about how to understand references to "Solomon" - literal or figurative - which you barely address (but don't really answer) in your last sentence. Moreover, you don't really cite any evidence: what aspect of the language/style in the Song of Solomon indicates a post-exilic date? What evidence except for "apparently" do you have that it was originally an operetta?
    – Niobius
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 8:38
  • 2
    Online translator a tool for biblical hermeneutics?
    – fdb
    Commented Sep 20, 2015 at 21:29

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