Bible Question:

Is there proof that Jesus married a black woman?

Bible Answer:

Dr. Gene Kim has taught that there is one hundred percent proof that, “Jesus married a black woman.” The question someone has asked is, “Is there proof that Jesus married a black woman?”

King Solomon’s Bride Was Not Black

In order to prove his teaching Dr. Kim introduces his audience to Song of Solomon 1:5.

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

This verse records only a portion of the entire statement (Song of Solomon 1:2-7) made by King Solomon’s bride and future wife. His bride is a Shulammite (Song of Solomon 6:13). Dr Kim refers to her statement that she is “black but lovely” and, subsequently, claims that she a black woman. The Hebrew word that is translated as “black” is sahor.  The word can be translated as black or swarthy[1] and “tan or dark-skinned.”

The next verse helps us understand the meaning of this word.

“Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
Song of Solomon 1:6 (NASB)

It is obvious from this verse that King Solomon’s bride says that she is dark or swarthy because she has been discolored by the sun since she has been working in the vineyards. Her message is that she was not normally so dark. That is, her skin color was not normally black; it is sunburned or darkened by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Further, the Hebrew text of Song of Solomon 6:13 can be translated as “Shulammite” or as a maid from the city of Shulem. Historical records indicate that the city was called Shunem in the fourth century B.C. (Eusebius, Onomasticon. s. v.).[2] Since the city of Shunem was an Israeli city[3] this means that the Shulammite woman was from a Jewish city.

Christ and The Church Symbolism

Dr. Gene Kim correctly states that some Bible teachers claim that Song of Solomon is a picture or symbolic of the relationship of Christ and the church. However, not every Bible teacher and pastor agrees. If we assume that Song of Solomon is symbolic of Christ and the church, it is inconsistent then to force literal statements upon symbolic imagery. That is, how can symbolic imagery become literal? The literal characteristics of King Solomon’s bride cannot be directly applied to the symbolic imagery of the church or to anyone else.

When Song of Solomon 1:12 speaks of her perfume does this mean the church actually smells of perfume? When Song of Solomon 2:1 says, “I am the rose of Sharon” does this mean the church is literally a rose? When Song of Solomon 4 states that King Solomon and his bride are engaged in foreplay and sexual intercourse, does this mean that the church literally does with Christ? Many more comparisons can be made that reveal literal descriptions cannot be directly applied to symbolic imagery. In short, literal descriptions of King Solomon’s bride cannot be literally applied to the church.

Conclusion:

Dr. Gene Kim is in error in his teaching. His first error was jumping to the conclusion that King Solomon’s bride was of African descent or black. His second error was that one cannot apply literal characteristics of King Solomon’s bride to symbolic or figurative imagery of the church. In summary, his teaching contains much error. There is no proof in Scripture that Jesus ever was married to any woman.

 

References:

1. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

2. John McClintock and James Strong. Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Baker Book House. 1981, vol. IX, p. 714.

3. Aharoni and Avi-Yonah. The MacMillan Bible Atlas. MacMillan Publishing. 1968. map 129, p. 82.