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Song of Solomon 8:6-7 – Love Is Strong as Death

Summary

Love involves risk and daring; it is passionate and ferocious; it is as elemental as death.

Analysis

These lines may be the closest thing in the Song to a mood that is somber, to the risks that love always encounters. The young woman wishes to be united with her lover with a vow or oath (a "seal"), something that will provide some security against the forces that can harm or overwhelm the love that lies between them. There is something reminiscent of other wisdom writings in the way love is set over against wealth and possessions as possessing far-surpassing value.

The Song here recognizes love as an elemental passion that engulfs human beings as much as they embrace it. There is danger here, but also overwhelming promise. To give oneself totally to another risks great loss, but it promises unending gain.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7


6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
   as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
   passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
   a raging flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
   neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
   all the wealth of one’s house,
   it would be utterly scorned.

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10 February 2011

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