There are many ways to outline SS. Some divide the book into seven parts corresponding to the seven days of nuptials or seven nights of celebration in Jewish marriage (Clarke, 3:845-46). Others think there are twelve sacred idylls, and divide the book accordingly (Gray and Adams, 3:5). For the purposes of this discussion, I have chosen to use several broad strokes to indicate the progression toward maturity that is seen in the lives of two earthly lovers. It is not even certain who speaks as the poem unfolds, whether it is the bride, the groom, or daughters of Jerusalem or other friends who try to advise the bride.
- The Communion of Youthful Lovers (1:1-3:5)
- The Dream of the Union of Lovers (3:6-4:15)
- The Struggles of Lovers (4:16-7:9a)
- The Growth and Progress of Young Lovers (7:9b-8:14)