Religion & Spirituality

Biblical Swirling Part II: Colorism Is As Old As The Bible Itself!

Are  you a dark-skinned woman feeling ugly and unfeminine? Well the Abrahamic God thought you worthy to be a woman front and center in the Bible. Yup, the object of King Solomon’s affection was a woman self-conscious because of her dark skin:

Song of Solomon 1:5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

Notice she says black BUT comely. She’s basically telling Solomon that even though she’s black, she’s still beautiful…as if she wasn’t supposed to be. That might suggest to a reader that dark skin probably wasn’t considered to be the most attractive feature.

6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Some will say, based on the above, that she was actually tanned from working in the sun. That seems plausible but the sun can only make someone “but so dark.” If you consider Strong’s Concordance, the original word suggests more than just a tan. Consider the contrast with the way Solomon’s skin color is described:

Song of Solomon 5:10  My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

One thing clear to me is that the Jews of the bible were a light-skinned people. The fact that the Shulamite maiden is enamored with his light skin suggests that lighter men were preferred as well.  Solomon’s light or ruddy complexion  is closer to a reddish color. His bushy hair was actually wavy (according to Strongs Concordance) That is not to imply that the “chosen” were white European types or that the maiden in the first chapter was a black African.

The Song of Solomon is considered by many Christians to be a prophetic/spiritual book illustrating God’s love for the Christian Church. The fair-skinned Solomon represents God while the dark-skinned maiden represents the church. Why do you think Solomon’s love for a dark-skinned woman was considered important enough to illustrate the Abrahamic God’s love?

It is clear that light skin was the more favorable color to possess during biblical days.  That mattered little to the Abrahamic God. The woman considered last by her society was placed first in the grand scheme of things. That seems to be a recurrent theme in the Bible; the rejected woman ends up the winner.



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