I am Black and Lovely

Solomon’s lover says she is Black. And she says she is lovely. Who is she? We have four theories. Who do you think she was?

 

Song of Songs 1:5. I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. (NASB translation)

 


 

 

THEORY #1. SHE WAS A SUNTANNED FIELD WORKER

Many Christians say Solomon’s lover was a suntanned field worker. At first blush, that seems possible. Being a field hand, she would have been suntanned.

We see three problems with this theory.

PROBLEM 1. Thousands of other women were working in the fields. They would have been equally suntanned. Why would Solomon’s lover have been darker than all of those?

PROBLEM 2. The Hebrew word she uses to describe her skin tone is שָׁחֹר (“shachor”). It literally means “black.” She calls herself “black,” not “suntanned.”

PROBLEM 3. A field hand would not have had much wealth or sophistication. But Solomon did. He was the wealthiest person on earth. And he was incredibly selfish and self-centered. We do not believe he would have invested himself in a woman who did not add to his own wealth and sophistication.

 

THEORY #2. SHE WAS THE PRINCESS OF EGYPT

 

We wonder if Solomon’s lover might have been the Princess of Egypt. After all, 1 Kings 11 tells us that the Princess of Egypt and Solomon were married. And as as an Egyptian, her skin tone would have been darker than the skin tone of the people of Israel.

We see two problems with this theory.

PROBLEM 1. The skin tone of most people from Egypt is more “brown” than “Black.”

PROBLEM 2. The marriage between Solomon and the Princess of Egypt was not so much a romance as it was part of an treaty between nations. At the time of their marriage, as 1 Kings 11 tells us, Solomon was a feeble old man. That is the chapter where he dies.

 

THEORY #3. SHE WAS THE QUEEN OF SHEBA

 

The Queen of Sheba was the most culturally sophisticated and wealthy woman in the world. She was very impressed with Solomon. And she completely rocked his world. If they had a romantic involvement, it would have been poetic and beautiful.

Virtually all modern scholars agree that Sheba was the South Arabian kingdom of Saba, centered around the oasis of Marib, in the present-day Republic of Yemen.

We see one problem with this theory.

PROBLEM 1. People from Yemen are not very “Black.”

Some people might object that the Bible does not mention a romantic encounter between the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. However, a lack of evidence does not mean it did not happen.

 

THEORY #4. SHE WAS AN UNNAMED AFRICAN WOMAN

 

Perhaps Solomon’s lover was a woman from Africa that we do not know about. To our knowledge, the descendants of Africa are the only people who describe themselves as “Black.”

The wealthiest woman in the history of the world has black skin.

She is Oprah.

Her lovely skin tone matches the biblical description of Solomon’s lover.

We see no problems with this theory.

As with our Theory #3 above, some people might complain that the Bible does not mention a romantic encounter between an unnamed African woman and Solomon. However, a lack of evidence does not mean it did not happen.

 

WHO WAS SHE?

 

Those are our four theories. Theory #4 seems the most convincing. We are inclined to say that Solomon’s lover was an unnamed African woman. King Solomon’s all-time closest lover was a Black woman.

Who do you think she was?

 

A LINGERING QUESTION

 

Almost all Bible translations use the word “dark” instead of “black.” That is misleading about the identity of Solomon’s lover.

The Hebrew word is שָׁחֹר (“shachor”), “black,” and not “dark.” Why do the scholars mistranslate it?

Almost all the popular translations use the word “dark” instead of “Black,” as you can see:

“DARK” “BLACK”
New International Version

New Living Translation

English Standard Version

Holman Christian Standard Bible

International Standard Version

NET Bible

GOD’S WORD Translation

Jubilee Bible 2000

King James 2000 Bible

World English Bible

Young’s Literal Translation

New American Standard Bible

King James Bible

American King James Version

American Standard Version

Douay-Rheims Bible

Darby Bible Translation

English Revised Version

Webster’s Bible Translation

Are the translators uncomfortable that Solomon’s greatest lover was a Black woman?

 


SONG OF SONGS
OUTLINE   MEMORIZE   BLACK AND LOVELY

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.