Song of Solomon – Chapter 8
By King Solomon
If only you were to me like a brother,
who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
I would kiss you, and no one would despise me.
I would lead you and bring you to my mother’s house—
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.
His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?
Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy
unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
We have a young sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for?
If she is a wall,
we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
we will enclose her with panels of cedar.
I am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.
Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit a thousand shekels of silver.
But my own vineyard is mine to give;
the thousand shekels are for you,
O Solomon, and two hundred
are for those who tend its fruit.
You who dwell in the gardens with friends in attendance,
let me hear your voice!
Come away, my lover,
and be like a gazelle or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains.
Summary of Song of Solomon – Chapter 8
- Popularity of “Song of Solomon – Chapter-8”: “Song of Solomon- Chapter-8” must have been written around 971 and 931 BC, presenting a thought-provoking poetic piece that revolves around love. This chapter presents love as a passionate emotion as well as a representation of God’s fierce. Also, this chapter presents a dialog between a woman and a man on one hand and between her and the daughters of Jerusalem on the other hand. The poem’s popularity lies in the fact that even after centuries of its inception, it is still used in religious sermons and speeches.
- “Song of Solomon – Chapter 8” As a Repetitive of love: This love song begins when a woman expresses her love and affection for a person in public. Her expression raised questions as it was inappropriate in her culture and time. However, her familial kiss was not questioned by the people. She made it clear that she desires to have an intimate relationship. To clarify her point, she addresses the daughters of Jerusalem and requests them not to arouse love until the time is right. Also, she expresses how she gave her virginity to her man and gave birth. Thus, she openly admits that she is in a relationship and claims that her love for her spouse is like death. Just like one could not defeat or avoid death, she could not avoid the trappings of love. As the poem continues, she explains that God dislikes when the people He created start prioritizing things over Him and informs the readers that the couple is experiencing enjoyment and she wants to be one with her lover forever.
- Major Themes in “Song of Solomon” – Chapter 8”: The poem’s central themes are the supremacy of love, God’s disobedience, and freedom of expression. This poem contrasts two things: God’s love and the love of human beings. The poem’s speaker goes against her norms and culture to express her love for a man. Knowing that her action will bring her drastic results, she does not hesitate to present her stance. However, after telling her intimate feelings for her beloved, she talks about how God hates those seeking pleasure in worldly things. In her case, she disobeyed God by diverting her attention. Instead of worshipping only Him, she shared her love with a man. Thus, her disobedience arouses God’s fierce, but it seems that the speaker is least bothered about the crime she has committed. Instead, she wants to carry the same passion for her beloved.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in Song of Solomon – Chapter 8
The current chapter is taken from the Song of Solomon, The Old Testament. Even though King Solomon wrote it in Hebrew, the translation of this poem is remarkable with the use of the following literary devices.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /e/ in “Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment” and the sound of /o/ in “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.”
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /t/ in “Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you” and the sound of /r/ in “What shall we do for our sister for the day she is spoken for.”
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. The poet used imagery in this poem, such as; “Under the apple tree I roused you; there your mother conceived you, there she who was in labor gave you birth” and “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers.”
- Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between objects different in nature. The poet used confession as an extended metaphor to show how sometimes it becomes necessary to confess your mistakes.
- Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a question that is not asked in order to receive an answer; it is just posed to make the point clear. King Solomon posed rhetorical questions at two places in the poem to emphasize his point, such as “Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?”
- Simile: It is a device used to compare something with something else to make the meanings clear to the readers. The poet used this device at the end of the poem, such as; “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers.”
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols, such as love, confession, mistake, and man’s nature.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in Song of Solomon – Chapter 8
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: It means the type of language. The poem shows descriptive simple, and poetic diction.
- Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free verse poem with no strict rhyme or meter.
- Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are thirty-three lines in this poem with no stanza break.
- Tone: It means the voice of the text. Initially, the poem shows a confessional tone, but later it turns suggestive.
Quotes to be Used
The following lines are useful to highlight the power of love. These lines best describe how it equips a person with strange feelings.
“for love is as strong as death, its jealousy
unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.”