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Why the Canticles are Read at Passover

Tomorrow was Passover.  He must speak to his people.  After many years of neglect, he had ordered the Temple Service restored and had made an edict that the yearly feasts would be celebrated.

Israel had neglected worship of Yahweh and fallen into apostasy.  King Solomon knew it was due in large part to his own lack of leadership and his woefully poor example.  His sins were now reflected in the lives of his countrymen. 

He was filled with guilt and remorse.  What could he say?  Perhaps he could find something to read.  That would be a safe way out.

Going from his bedroom to the royal library he began a search through the shelves of scrolls.  The words of the prophets seemed too harsh.  The stories of the fathers seemed too long.    After hours of searching he walked out onto the balcony overlooking the hills of Judea into a starlit night.

As a young man he had been sent to those very hills by his parents to work in his Uncle’s vineyard for the summer.  All Jewish children, even those of royal birth were expected to have a trade.  So it was that he found himself apprenticed to a winery.  It was that summer he had met Gazelle.  She had been sent by her father to tend sheep on the nearby hillsides. 

Suddenly he remembered THE POEMS.  Hurrying back into the library he frantically searched for them.  Finally on a dusty high shelve he found them.  Opening the parchment he began to read:

            O that you would kiss me

                        With the kisses of your mouth!

            For your love is better than wine.

Even now the thought of her made Solomon catch his breath. She was so beautiful, so innocent, so trusting. 

For lo, the winter is past,

            The rain is over and gone,

            The flowers appear on the earth,

                        The time of singing has come,

            The voice of the turtledove

                        Is heard in our land.

            The fig tree puts forth its figs,

                        The vines are in blossom

                        They give forth fragrance.

            Arise my love, my fair one,

                        And come away.

Solomon closed his eyes and scenes long forgotten began to play back in his memory.  That was a magical summer.  He remembered the garden of her parent’s home – the sound of the fountain – the vine covered wall that he scaled to meet with her.

Behold, you are beautiful, my love,

                        Behold, you are beautiful!

            You are all together fair

                        There is no flaw in you.

Slowly the room filled with a bright light and a voice spoke:           

“Solomon, You are My Beloved.  You are the apple of my eye.  I see you as I created you to be.  You are altogether lovely.  There is no spot or blemish in you.  Many waters can not quench love – I have loved you with an everlastinglove.  I will never leave you or forsaken you.”

Solomon knew he had his Passover message.

©A fictional story by Donna J. Haerich        





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