Allegorical Interpretations of the Song of Songs

1. Classic Midrash: Song is an allegory of the love of G-d and Israel

a. But Israel says to the nations of the world, "you have no portion in G-d", as it is said, "My beloved is mine and I am his" and "I am my Beloved's and my beloved is mine"

b. As it is said in the writings, "O my dove, in the cranny of the rocks, hidden by the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your face is beautiful" (2:14) -- "Let me see your face" --this refers to that which Moses said, "stand by and witness the deliverance which the Lord will work for you today. "Let me hear your voice" refers to when the Israelites cried out to the Lord. "For your face is beautiful" when the whole community came forward and stood before the Lord."

2. St. Bernard of Clairvaux: Song represents love of G-d and the human soul

"Draw me after you, let us run! The King has brought me to his chambers." (1:4)

She seems to appeal for the grace to follow the example of [Christ's] way of life, to emulate his virtue, to hold fast to a rule of life similar to his and achieve some degree of self-control. Here surely the bride needs to be drawn, and drawn by no other than by he who said "without me you can do nothing.". . . Therefore when you feel weighed down . . . look for the hand of one who can help you, begging like the bride to be drawn, until finally under the influence of grace you feel again the vigorous pulse of life. Then you will run!"

Let us at last enter the bedroom. What can be said of it? . . . The bedroom of the king is to be sought in the mystery of divine contemplation . . . I feel that the King has not one bedroom, but many, and each [soul] has her own secret rendezvous with the Bridegroom . . . All do not experience the delight of the Bridegroom's private visit in the same room; the Father has different arrangements for each. For we did not choose him but he chose us and appointed places for us."

3. The Zohar: Song reveals the nature of G-d and G-d relationship to humans and to itself and the cosmos

"I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys" (2:1). How beloved is the community of Israel before the Holy One. For he praises her and she always praises him. . . Because she flowers splendidly in the Garden of Eden, the community of Israel is called 'Rose of Sharon'; also because she chants and praises the high king; also because her desire is to be watered from the deep stream which is the source of all spiritual rivers . . . 'Rose of Sharon' refers to the place which is the deepest of all, the most hidden of all.

4. The Song as a dialogue between two divine beings