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Chapter 169 - Simon criticises the Song of Solomon.
169,1. I say to Simon: “Is your companion greatly impressed by Solomon? What has he gleaned from the Song of Songs? Tell Me how far you have already fathomed its meaning!”
169,2. Simon says: “My Lord and Master of Heaven and this earth! If I may speak freely without biting my tongue and without mincing my words, then I will comment with pleasure. If however I have to search carefully for words, I will be tongue-tied and no words will come out!”
169,3. I say: “Use your tongue as it is! Your jokes and humour originate from the seed of a good crop!”
169,4. Simon replies: “Oh well, in that case we will be able to make some contribution! It will of course be limited by the extent of my very simple mind but my opinions will not be unsound!
169,5. You, My Lord and Master, have asked how far we have progressed in understanding the Song of Songs! Help me, Elias, but I have not made any progress at all as I would be sorry to waste my time! Gaby however has already learned the whole of the first chapter by heart. He still savours it and chews it over and sometimes fills both cheeks with it but as far as the meaning of this work is concerned, he knows just as much as I know about the deepest abyss at the bottom of the sea. The best part of all this is, that the more one reads the first segment of the Song, the less one understands! When one has finally memorized it, one understands it least of all!”
169,6. I say to him: “Do you perhaps also know the first chapter by heart?”
169,7. Simon says: “He - droned it out so often in my presence that I unfortunately also know it word for word by heart and that displeases me greatly! To talk to the Scythians (Author’s footnote:- a nation of barbarian horsemen) is much more entertaining than to recite Solomon’s Song of Songs. Anyone who finds something to appeal to him in it must be born of very strange parents. I regard it as nonsense! However beautiful, true and good his proverbs and even his sermons may be, Solomon’s Song of Songs is equally stupid and meaningless. Any person who considers it to be more than the work of a fool, clearly has a very sick mind!
169,8. As an example what is the meaning of: ‘Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth; as your love is lovelier than wine.’ Who is the ‘he’ and who is the ‘me’? Is the unknown “he” supposed to kiss the mouth of the equally unknown ‘me’ with the “he’s” own mouth!? Does this ‘he’ also have other strange mouths in his face? That must be quite a miraculously odd being!
169,9. The second section of this first verse apparently contains the reason for the longing expressed in the first part; but there ‘he’ is referred to in the second person singular and one can not be absolutely sure that the expression ‘your love’, which is lovelier than wine, means the love of ‘he’. If one does not know who ‘he’ is and who ‘me’ is, how is one supposed to know who he is, whose love - in the second person singular - is lovelier than wine?
169,10. The next point is that it is not really a compliment to that love, if it is said to be lovelier than wine, without some previous indication that the wine is especially delightful. There are also very dubious and poor quality wines! If however, love is only more delightful or lovelier than wine no matter what its quality, then that love can surely not be so special! Apart from all this chit-chat there may certainly be some extraordinary meaning concealed in it, but I for my part will never be able to find it while I am on this earth.
169,11. To indicate the full extent of my stupidity which I have already demonstrated I would like to add on the second verse to the first and that is as follows if my memory has not failed me: ‘Because of the sweet smell of your good ointment; your name is like an ointment being poured out and that is why the maidens love you.’ In my view the second verse fits the first one with the same precision as a whole house would fit onto one human eye! What is this ointment and who owns it? Who should be sniffing at the ointment? How can someone’s name be like an ointment being poured out, and why should he be loved by the maidens just because of it? What kind of maidens are they?
169,12. Just go away, great Solomon, with all your great wisdom! One single word from You, My Lord, has thousands of times more value for me than all the high-flown wisdom of Solomon! I already have said enough about Solomon! Lord, I ask You to spare me the verses which follow as they surpass the Scythian experience by a long way!”
169,13. I say: “Very well, My dear Simon, could you also recite to Me the words of warning I spoke to those who did not wish to leave the mountain because the morning was so beautiful and you commented that My words would surely not contain any inner, spiritual meaning? If you can still remember, tell Me once more what I said!”
169,14. Simon replies with a somewhat embarrassed look on his face: “Lord and Master, if my memory does not deceive me, your short comment was as follows: ‘Down there at the tables in the open air the same morning is there as it is here on the mountain. Enjoy it in the short time it takes to go down and when you arrive you will even enjoy the morning twice as much. Our bodies need to be re-invigorated, therefore let us go down quickly to the tables!’ I believe, My Lord and Master, that these were Your words?!”
169,15. I say: “Very good, My dear Simon! You have recalled My words absolutely correctly. But what do you say, if I now tell you, that My words of warning on the mountain amount to exactly the same in their spiritual meaning as the two verses of Solomon’s Song of Songs which you recited to Me?! Can you believe this to be possible?”
169,16. Simon says: “Before believing that, I prefer to believe that this vast lake will be transformed into a luxurious meadow before morning. Your words on the mountain, My Lord, were totally clear and unambiguous. We all grasped very well that our pleasant task was to go down and sit cheerfully at the tables to refresh our bodies with a very well prepared breakfast! Anyone who did not understand that must be deaf as a post.
169,17. However, who is also able to understand the two verses of the Song of Songs in this way? Taken literally, as I have shown, they are utter nonsense! If that is so, who can seriously search for a very deep spiritual meaning? I believe with good reason that this is the same as having to imagine that a dumb-bell who is more animal than human, is as wise as Plato! Of course, everything is possible, so why not this?! I am just speaking as I feel right now.”
169,18. I say: “Even better; as the more impossible facts you find, the more deeply your enlightenment will affect you afterwards. It is however a wonder that you and others like you with open eyes are still unable to see and with open ears are still unable to hear! Let us leave it at that! As you know the Song of Songs so well, recite the third verse to Me too and I will then be able to explain the intricately interwoven riddle to your full satisfaction!”
169,19. Simon says: “Oh no, even the third verse?! Out of love for You, My Lord, I am pleased to do everything You ask of me; but I can assure You that this nearly turns my stomach over!
169,20. The third verse is quite confusing. If my memory serves me correctly, the well-known third verse reads as follows: ‘Draw me and we will run behind! The king brings me to his chambers. We are glad and rejoice in you; we will remember your love more than your wine. The upright ones love you.’
169,21. There it is! Anyone who can digest it, should do so! If only the start had been: ‘Pull me behind you, and I will run behind!’ but the latter part only says: ‘and we will run behind!’ Who is ‘he’ who wants to be pulled along and who are the ‘we’ who are running?
169,22. ‘The king brings me to his chambers.’ Which king, the everlasting one or any temporal, worldly one? This sentence is nevertheless one of the best.
169,23. ‘We are glad and rejoice in you.’ Here I only want to know who ‘we’ are, and who makes us rejoice!
169,24. Furthermore, the unknown people prize the love for these same unknown people more highly than the wine, but nothing is said about the quality of the wine!
169,25. At the end, who is the unidentified ‘you’, who is loved by the upright? How obscure the figures of speech are!
169,26. What poor wretches we humans are on this earth! Man starts with nothing, lives with nothing and finally ends up with nothing. Even if he believes he understands something during the better, brighter periods of his life, but then he unfortunately comes into contact with Solomon’s Song of Songs, he becomes a complete fool. The moment a person has his attention drawn by another person, whether in speech or in writing, to the fact that his knowledge has reached its limit, then the whole person comes to a stop. This means that his life still continues but he is now a fool who is no longer able to understand or grasp anything new! If someone like me has reached this point and can go no further, he turns his back on life and begins to vegetate like an animal. Why put oneself to any further trouble for nothing or a thousand times nothing?!
169,27. Lord and Master, during this night on the mountain You have shown us things that no mortal man has ever seen before on this earth. I now understand a great deal, but why do I not understand the wisdom of Solomon? Is the truth that no man whatsoever is permitted to understand, or is it actually - as it outwardly appears to be - devout insanity, thus completely incomprehensible? Or are there hidden secrets, which are of the greatest importance in life?
169,28. Please tell me one way or the other! - I believe that You alone can comment seriously on it and that You are able to understand the Song of Songs if it can be understood in any way! But if the whole Song is only Solomon’s last confidence trick, then tell me this too so that I can immediately will throw his writings into a muddy pool to give its occupants the opportunity to study the wisdom of Solomon!”
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