Richard Hess has written an insightful commentary on one of the most intriguing books of the Bible, which celebrates God’s gift of love. Following an introduction to the biblical book and a history of its interpretation, Hess divides his discussion into seven major sections. Each section begins with a fresh translation, followed by paragraph-by-paragraph commentary, and concludes with a summary of the passage’s theological implications. Technical questions related to the Hebrew text or scholarly debate are addressed in the footnotes.
This resource is both scholarly and readable, presenting an historical, theological, and applicable survey of the riches of Wisdom literature. In the Logos edition, each Scripture passage links to your favorite translation, and is easy to study side-by-side with your other commentaries. You can search by topic or Scripture with split-second results!
“The Song fills a necessary vacuum in the Scriptures because it endorses sex and celebrates it beyond all expectation. Although abuse is possible and to be avoided, sex is not inherently evil, nor is it limited to a procreative function. Instead, sex enables an experience of love whose intensity has no parallel in this cosmos and serves as a signpost to point to the greater love that lies beyond it.” (Page 35)
“The Song contrasts the abuse of sex in the treaty alliances of the kings of Israel and Judah and the terrible descriptions of rape in the narrative sections of the Bible with the beauty and appreciation of sex as a gift from God.” (Page 35)
“This form implies a superlative statement: The Best Song.” (Page 37)
“The female in particular is the major character. She speaks first and last, and her words contain the most imperatives for her lover and for others. Indeed, it is she who both seeks his kisses (1:2) and commands him to be gone (8:14). Her feelings are freely shared, unlike those of her partner.14 Given the female’s dominant role as speaker and actor (e.g., she goes out in the night to search for her lover, 3:1–5), the full impact of this Song must include an equality and independence of the female as well as the male—what many traditional societies (to the present day) have been reluctant to recognize.” (Page 19)
“There are four contexts where the scenes of the Song occur: the wild country with its destructive natural forces; the cultivated countryside portrayed as a return to paradise; indoors within the city, where a private and supportive world is found; outdoors in the city, where there is hostility and violence. Within these contexts occur five themes, three of which concern the beckoning of, banishment of, and search for the beloved. The remaining two concern the evaluation of self in a hostile world and the praise of love. Within these major contexts and themes, the Song imagery may be construed.” (Pages 29–30)
An accomplished, celebrative volume. . . . [Hess] provides helpful and extensive analysis of a passage’s poetic structure. . . . Hess’ enthusiastic presentation and obvious labors furnish an undeniable contribution.
—Jennifer Pfenniger, Journal of Hebrew Scriptures
Finally, here is an up-to-date commentary on the Song of Songs that is easy to use. With superb clarity and concision, Hess’s commentary makes a world of scholarship about the Song of Songs available to a broad audience. Readers will enjoy Hess’s close attention to the lyrical beauty of the Song of Songs and his discussions of the book’s theological insights.
—Mark S. Smith, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University
In the Logos edition, this valuable volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English Bible translations, and important terms link to a wealth of other resources in your digital library, including tools for original languages, dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, and theology texts. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.