Chapter one surveys past inquiries into the Song's geographical images and spells out a methodology for examining these contexts in light of contributions offered from hermeneutical studies of metaphorical language. The approach includes discerning the syntagmatic and pragmatic use and rhetorical force of the images, and examining intertextual allusions to these images within the broader context of Scripture and ancient Near Eastern literature. Such background offers a basis for understanding the emotional force of the Song's geographic references.
Chapter two analyzes the Song's general or non-specific locales (e.g., vineyards, gardens, mountains, orchards, springs, countryside, city, wilderness, etc.) and demonstrates the perspective its poems have on these contexts. By examining how the poems employ their geographical images, it is possible to discern emotional and rhetorical responses these settings were intended to evoke.
Chapter three looks closely at each of the Song's specific toponyms. The Song idealizes fertile regions known for their lush vegetative growth or exotic exports (e.g., Lebanon, the Sharon Plain, Gilead, and Kedar) as well as the well-protected, beautiful capital cities of Jerusalem, Tirzah, Heshbon, and Damascus. Mountains can evoke a sense of distance, foreignness, greatness, and even danger (e.g., Lebanon, Amana, Senir, and Hermon). The spring of En-gedi and the pools of Heshbon are mentioned positively as life-giving and beautiful water sources. En-gedi is especially idealized as a lovers' paradise. Several toponyms are enigmatic or simply unknown to outside of the Song. They are therefore treated variously in the early versions—at times simply translated as common nouns, giving attention to their word meanings (e.g., Bath-rabbim becomes "daughter of many," the hills of Bether are "the hills of cleavage" or "hills of spice," and Baal-hamon becomes "lord/place of many"). The toponyms are employed poetically in order to evoke some rhetorical response, thus each place name is examined for its contribution to the Song's emotional geography.
The concluding chapter suggests implications the Song's emotional geography may have upon a biblical theology of the city—as the image is both idealized as a place of beauty and yet almost none of the lovemaking episodes takes place there.