posted 17 Oct 2010, 16:28 by Sam Mbale
updated 17 Oct 2010, 16:30
There's a really interesting and inspirational Bible passage
that comes from the book titled The Song of Solomon in the
Old Testament of the Bible. The reason why I find it so
fascinating is because it's basically just an ancient love
poem from a king to a common woman who he wants to wed.
There's a specific section in the book that I find
especially interesting and want to share. I hope you like
it as well. Here it is in the old King James version:
"For love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the
grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a
most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown
it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for
love, it would utterly be contemned."
The passage comes from the 8th and final chapter of the book
and is something like a conclusion to the poem. I really
find it fascinating and even inspiring because the subject
matter is so different than you would expect from the Bible,
especially in the Old Testament.
I've really enjoyed having the chance to read a lot of
ancient poetry. I've read the ancient Chinese book the Tao
Te Ching many times and really connect with it. I've also
read a lot of the poetry of the ancient Persian poet Rumi.
Ancient poetry differs on so many levels from modern poetry.
It isn't necessarily that the people living then were
different than we are today, but the world and the way they
saw the world was much more mysterious, dangerous, and
unknown than the world that we live in today.
The Bible in actuality, has multiple books of poetry, like
the book of Psalms for example, and when translating these
books of ancient poetry it really seems as though the
translators were concentrated more on being strictly
accurate than they were about capturing the original beauty
and poetic nature of the text. In ancient texts like the
Tao Te Ching, modern English translations have spent much
effort and diligence in trying to capture the poetic value
of the poems, even trying to rhyme in English when it suits
From my understanding, no one has yet tried to do something
like this with the book of Psalms in the Bible. I really
wish that a concerted effort would be made to do something
like that because, as you saw in the passage I listed above,
the Bible has a very poetic value to it at times, and that
value is most often sacrificed in lieu of translational
accuracy. But if a piece of text was meant to be read in a
poetic fashion and that poetic value gets lost in the
translation, then why does a person even bother translating
the text in the first place?
Poetry is considered a mechanism for eliciting an emotional
response from the reader. The words themselves are
important, but in the strictest sense, if the right
emotional response wasn't elicited while the reader reads
the poetry, then the actual message wasn't conveyed.
Otherwise, there's really no reason to communicate in poetic
language. But most of what I've seen from the book of Psalms
has been from persons who don't seem to necessarily care
about keeping the original poetic value of the words intact.
I hope one day that someone endeavors to undertake that
About the Author:
Thanks very much for reading my thoughts on poetic verses in
the Bible. I hope you enjoyed!