Canticles (Song of Songs), entitled in the Authorized Version The Song of Solomon. It was probably written by Solomon about b.c. 1012. It may be called a drama, as it contains the dramatic evolution of a simple love-story. Meaning.—The schools of interpretation may be divided into three: the mystical or typical, the allegorical, and the literal.
1. The mystical interpretation owes its origin to the desire to find a literal basis of fact for the allegorical. This basis is either the marriage of Solomon with Pharaoh’s daughter or his marriage with an Israelitish woman, the Shulamite. 2. The allegorical. According to the Talmud the beloved is taken to be God; the loved one, or bride, is the congregation of Israel. In the Christian Church the Talmudical interpretation, imported by Origen, was all but universally received. 3. The literal interpretation. According to the most generally-received interpretation of the modern literalists, the Song is intended to display the victory of humble and constant love over the temptations of wealth and royalty. Canonicity.—The book has been rejected from the Canon by some critics; but in no case has its rejection been defended on external grounds. It is found in the LXX and in the translations of Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion. It is contained in the catalogue given in the Talmud, and in the catalogue of Melito; and in short we have the same evidence for its canonicity as that which is commonly adduced for the canonicity of any book of the Old Testament.