Courtesy of Dr. He Qi (

The shared gaze of two lovers expresses their shared desires in this detail of the vibrant painting of the Song of Songs by contemporary Chinese artist He Qi. The Song of Songs holds a unique place among the texts of the Bible as a joyous celebration of sexual love. The lovers’ desire is obvious, but as Richard S. Hess explains in the accompanying article, their devotion to each other is equally important to the Song, raising it above the level of simple erotic poetry. This artful weaving together of the themes of desire and commitment may well explain why the Song of Songs came to be included in the Hebrew Scriptures.