Familiar Phrases in an Unfamiliar Place

Familiar Phrases in an Unfamiliar Place

The Song of Songs (sometimes called the Song of Solomon) is a part of the Bible that is not often read. Even so, three phrases jump out as being very familiar.

The first is “rose of Sharon.” It is a beautiful and valued flower. However, according to some translators, this eloquent phrasing should more correctly be rendered as “crocus.” That just doesn’t carry the same punch.

Immediately following that is another flower reference, “lily of the valley.” Lily of the valley is also a pretty flower, usually a pure white and most delicate in appearance.

What is unclear is if these images refer to the king (implying God) or to his beloved (implying us).

The third phrase is “his banner over me is love.” This harkens to I song I remember singing as a child. Aside from this phrase and a vague recollection of the tune, I can recall no other words to the song, but I think this is what we sang (and there are even hand motions to accompany it!)

Interestingly, all three phrases only occur once in the Bible, in the Song of Songs.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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