A Biblical Same-sex Love Story..

The definition of marriage has changed many times throughout the ages. No one holds a monopoly on the word itself. I can certainly share Scripture however, detailing an instance where two men joined their souls together in love, becoming one flesh via a sacred union and covenants sworn before God.

The following is the love story of David and Jonathan, who were bisexual, and which thousands of Christian congregations and many denominations now use as a model for same-sex love and commitment between two men.

(Since this particular translation had to be as detailed and comprehensive as possible to withstand the disbelief of those who will attempt to deny its truth… it’s fairly long… so it’s intended only for those who have the comprehension level, interest, or patience, to read it) (‘Strong’ refers to Strong’s lexicon which is used by theologians around the world for accurate Hebrew translations.. ‘OT’ of course refers to Old Testament, ‘NKJV’ stands for New King James Version and ‘NRSV’ refers to New Revised Standard Version’)

In the early material on David (1 Sam 16-17), three times the narrator calls attention to David’s beauty – more times in the Bible than in any other case. First, the prophet Samuel notes that David “was ruddy [admoni, Strong #132], and had beautiful eyes [yapheh ‘ayinim, #3303, #5869], and was handsome [to behold, tob ro’i, #2896, #7210].” (16:12, NRSV) Then, when a young court servant recommends David to Saul, he describes him (among other things) as “a handsome [to’ar, #8389] person” (16:18, NKJV). Finally, the giant notes that David, his opponent, was “a youth, ruddy [admoni] and good-looking [yapheh mar’eh, #3303, #4758]” (17:42, NKJV).

Here, the common language used throughout the OT to describe beauty is found again, including yapheh and tob (“beautiful, handsome” in both cases), along with to’ar and mar’eh (“[in] figure or shape”). However, new words in the David descriptions include ro’i (#7210, “a … sight [to behold]) and admoni and ‘ayinim, translated as “ruddy” and “eyes” respectively in the NRSV.

Jonathan’s intense love and attraction to David: Not surprisingly, after making such an emphasis about David’s good looks, the reader begins to find responses to this in the text. For example, in 1 Sam 18:1 we read, “Now when he [David] had finished speaking to Saul, the soul [nephesh] of Jonathan was knit to the soul [nephesh] of David, and Jonathan loved [aheb, #157] him as his own soul [nephesh].” Then (v. 3), “Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he [Jonathan] loved [ahaba, #160] him as his own soul.” Later, when the two make a second covenant, we are told (20:17) that “Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he [Jonathan] loved [ahaba, #160] him; for he loved [ahaba, #160] him as he loved [aheb, #157] his own soul.” (NKJV, underlining added) In addition to this, we are told in 19:1 that Jonathan “delighted [kaphes, #2654] greatly” in David” (NKJV).

So, in response to three references to David’s beauty, there appear three references describing Jonathan’s love for him – two of them twice using the verb “love” and the third using the related verb “delights [in].” Strong’s lexicon notes that the aheb (#157) means “to have affection for (sexually or otherwise),” along with the related terms oheb (#159) and ahaba (#160), the last a feminine form. The male and female forms of “love” (verb and noun) appear to be used interchangeably in Scripture, e.g. in Song of Songs 2:4-5, the beloved [girl] says, “He [King Solomon] brought me to the banqueting house, and his intention toward me was love [#160]. Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples; for I am faint with love [#160].” (NRSV)

The Bible records three spiritual unions that Jonathan and David made together. The first covenant was made very shortly after they met. In 1 Sam 18:3-4 (NRSV), we read: “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul [NIV: ‘as himself,’ nephesh]. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor [NIV, REB: ‘tunic’], and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” The preceding verses relate how after David had finished speaking with Saul, “the soul [nephesh] of Jonathan was bound [qashar] to the soul [nephesh] of David, and Jonathan loved [aheb] him as his own soul” (v. 1); and after this, Saul would not let David return home (v. 2). The emphasis here clearly is on the intense love Jonathan felt for David, expressed through the combined and repeated use of “loved,” “bound [to]” (this used only once), and nephesh, which indicates the extent of Jonathan’s love (as compelling as the love and interest one has toward oneself).

Jonathan’s intense attraction to David appears in the narrative like a bolt out of the blue: spontaneous, intense, and earth-shattering for him. He expresses this love then by the giving to David all of the clothes he was wearing and all of the weapons he was carrying, the significance of which represented the entire “giving away [of] one’s own self,”.. i.e. the giving of his whole heart and self to David.

The second covenant was made near the end of their time together in Gibeah and is recorded in 1 Sam 20:16-17 (NRSV): “Thus Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the Lord seek out the enemies of David.’ Jonathan made David swear again, by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own life.” (1 Sam 20:16-17, NRSV)

20:42 (NRSV) records, “Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendents and your descendents, forever.’” The repetition of aheb/ahaba (“love/loved”) and of nephesh (“as [much as] his own life”) in 20:17 is a very clear emphasis on this pact having strongly homoeroticized elements as well as political elements.

The third covenant was probably made several years later and is noted in 1 Sam 23:18 (NRSV): “Then the two of them made a covenant before the Lord…” the pact made in 23:18 is not merely “a simple extension or re-confirmation of the [earlier] pact” described in 1 Sam 20, for the later pact looks deeper into the future and “lays down the work distribution and relationship which is the center of everything.” The third pact is understood as a “fresh, bilateral covenant defining their new relationship.” In fact, each of the three pacts, while containing a common core of expressed love and commitment, seems to differ from what was pledged before, and so advances in content and adds detail to their relationship.

Just as three times our attention is directed to David’s beauty (16:12,18; 17:42), so also three times we are told that Jonathan “loved” David (18:1,3; 20:17). Even though there are different forms of the word ‘love’ in Hebrew, the exact same Hebrew word aheb (“loved/fallen in love”), used in 18:1 referring to Jonathan, appears also in 18:20 referring to the princess Michal, where it has been rendered as “Michal had fallen in love with David”, or “…fell in love with David” Such a reading is bolstered by 19:1 which relates how Jonathan continued to take “great delight [kaphes] in David” (NRSV), since kaphes almost always appears in OT passages concerned with sexual desire and erotic love.

This interpretation is further bolstered by comparing the Jonathan and David relationship to that of Shechem and Dinah in Gen 34, where the Hevite prince falls madly in love with Jacob’s daughter (underexpressed in the Hebrew, as usual, with “was drawn to,” v. 3, NRSV). Here we have exactly the same language as appears in 1 Sam 18:1,3 and 19:1, used in Hebrew to describe erotic passion which has led to sexual union – including “loved” (aheb), “heart” (nephesh) and “delighted [in]” (kephes) (34:3,8,19, NRSV), as well as the idea of “longs [for]” (kasaph, v. 8; J. Green: “bound [to]”), although 1 Sam 18:1 uses a different verb for this (qashar).

In 1 Sam 18, Jonathan and David lived together in the capital city a number of months, perhaps up to a year, as David masters the arts of sword and bow (Jonathan at his side), gains real-life experience on the battlefield, and leads Israel’s army to many glorious victories (18:16,27,30; 9:8). However, in chs. 19-20 time rapidly speeds up. As Saul’s jealousy and rage toward David intensify, he hides his murderous attempts from Jonathan, while David’s life becomes one of terror, trying to keep one step ahead of Saul and his henchmen.

Then, at a New Moon festival celebrated at court, Saul asked Jonathan why David was absent; and the prince explained that David had asked leave to join his family for an annual sacrifice in Bethlehem (20:6,27-29). “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan. He said to him, ‘You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen [bachar] the son of Jesse to your own shame [bosheth], and to the shame [bosheth] of your mother’s nakedness [‘erwa]? For as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.’” (1 Sam 20:30-31, NRSV). Then the enraged king hurled his spear straight at Jonathan, who jumped and fled in anger from the king’s table, realizing, at last, what a dangerous and deadly position David was in related to his father.

Although the first part of Saul’s insult has usually been translated like “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman!” (18:30a, NRSV, cf. NIV, NRSV), the Hebrew is quite vulgar and would be more accurately rendered as, “You son of a slu.!” or “You son of a bi…!” Interestingly, Lucian’s version of the Greek Septuagint adds gunaikotraphe (“effeminate man”) here (Driver), an idea which Chrysostom reiterates (ca. 400).

Then, the second part of this insult reads, “Do I not know that you have chosen [bachar] the son of Jesse to your own shame [bosheth]…” (18:30b, NRSV). Instead of the verb bachar (Strong, #977) in the Hebrew, meaning “to choose.”

The importance of the third part of this insult, which reads “…and to the shame [bosheth] of your mother’s nakedness [‘erwa]” (18:30c, NRSV), cannot be denied. This final phrase is loaded, in fact, with sexual terminology, including ‘erwa (“nakedness”), most often used in the OT to refer to the genitals and the repeated bosheth (“shame”), which is almost always used in a sexual context.

One really has to ask, what was Jonathan doing – nakedly, sexually and shamefully (to his father at least) – to receive such an insult as this? In fact, the language throughout 20:30 is so extremely sexually-charged it goes well beyond rationality to believe that we are not meant to interpret it in sexual ways.

So, we ask, was this merely deep friendship or a romantic relationship? In Exhibit A, upon their first meeting, Jonathan is said to have loved David as his own soul and to have given him his most precious possessions. Jonathan’s father uses language of sex and shame when he decries Jonathan and David’s relationship in a fit of rage. We see Jonathan and David’s passionate, tearful goodbye, and Jonathan reminding David of the eternal covenant they have made to each other — a covenant David still honors years later, even though honoring it is politically incorrect. But if you are still not convinced this was a romantic relationship, there is one more piece of biblical evidence — the smoking gun, so to speak. The story has one more passionate chapter.

In the first chapter of 2 Samuel, the author tells us that after Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle, David tore his clothes and fasted, a sign of deep mourning. He wept and wrote a song, which he ordered all the people of Judah to sing. In that song, he included these words:

“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!
In life and in death they were not divided;
they were swifter than eagles,
they were stronger than lions.
How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle!
Jonathan lies slain upon your high places.
I am distressed for you my brother Jonathan;
Greatly beloved were you to me;
your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”
(2 Samuel 1:23, 26-27, emphasis added)

Here it is in black and white. David states the love he shared with Jonathan was greater than what he had experienced with women. Have you ever heard a heterosexual man say he loved his male friend more than his wife? This goes well beyond deep friendship between two heterosexual men.

In this story, we have a direct biblical answer to our question: Can two people of the same sex live in a loving, committed relationship with God’s favor? The answer is “yes,” because Jonathan and David did, and the Bible celebrates their relationship.

For those who will bend over backwards in an attempt to say it was only a ‘friendship’, I’d like them to share how many well-known examples they can provide of heterosexual male ‘friends’ who upon meeting each other for the first time, has one making a declaration of love for the other one, making 3 sacred covenants of ‘love’, devotion and spiritual union with each other over the course of time… disrobing completely and giving their clothes, weapons, and heart to their friend in the form of a covenant… having the father of one friend insult his son in an explicitly sexual manner over their relationship, and while also having one friend state that his love for him “surpasses the love he has for any woman.”

By that reasoning… there should be hundreds of similar detailed, explicit, and well-known heterosexual examples readily available for someone to contribute… except, there aren’t any.

Source: http://epistle.us/hbarticles/jondave6.html



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One Response to “A Biblical Same-sex Love Story..”

  1. A Biblical Same-sex Love Story.. | Christians Anonymous Says:

    […] Source: A Biblical Same-sex Love Story.. […]


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