Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is Being Gay A Sin? Part Six - David and Jonathan... A Love Story

Is Being Gay A Sin?
We are in Part Six of the blog series, "Is Being Gay A Sin?" So, we have seen some examples of same sex couples. Along the way of this blog series, we've covered alot of ground. We've talked about translations from the Old Testament in Hebrew, the New Testament in Greek and some Aramaic. We've covered some Judean politics and how modern (+/- 200 years) have their own passions and reasons for altering translations. And we've seen what the Bible had to say about being gay. Let's look a great love story. And example of two men that genuinely loved one another. As a Christian, it is our duty to prayerfully study and understand what God was trying to communicate to His people, not only in ancient Hebrew times, the more recent Greek and Roman times, but througout ALL time.


Please read:

They will help you in reading this work in context and in the flow it was intended.


David and Jonathan… A Love Story
Passages in 1 Samuel & 2 Samuel describe, among other events, a extremely close bond between David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of King Saul, and next in line for the throne. But Samuel anointed David to be the next king. This produced a strong conflict in the mind of Saul.

  • Religious conservatives generally view the friendship of David and Jonathan as totally non-sexual. They find it inconceivable that God would allow a famous king of Israel to be a homosexual.
  • Some religious liberals believe that David and Jonathan had a consensual homosexual relationship - in many ways, a prototype of many of today's gay partnerships. Some important verses which describe their relationship are:
Part 1 : I Sam 17:57-18:9: They Meet and Fall in Love
On David's return from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with the head of the Philistine in his hand. Saul said to him, "Whose son are you, young man?" And David answered, "I am the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite." When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him; as a result, Saul set him over the army. And all the people, even the servants of Saul, approved. As they were coming home, when David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they made merry, "Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Saul was very angry, for this saying displeased him. He said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; what more can he have but the kingdom?" So Saul eyed David from that day on. [many people "eyed" David it seems - Saul's daughter Michal also falls in love with David in chapter 18]

1 Samuel 18:1 "...Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself." (NIV) "...the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (KJV) Most translations use the term "soul" rather than "spirit" to describe the bond. They speak of an "immediate bond of love", their souls being "in unison," their souls being "knit" etc. Genesis 2:7, as written in the original Hebrew, describes how God blew the spirit into the body of Adam that God had formed from earth, so that Adam became a living soul. This means that "soul", in the ancient Israelite times, represents a combination of body and spirit. Thus the two men appear to have loved each other both physically and emotionally.

1 Samuel 18:2 "From that day, Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house." (NIV) David left his parent's home and moved to Saul's where he would be with Jonathan. This is a strong indication that the relationship was extremely close. It echoes the passage marriage passage in Genesis 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

1 Samuel 18:3-4 "And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." (NIV) Since people in those days did not wear underwear, Jonathan stripped himself naked in front of David. That would be considered extremely unusual behavior (then and now) unless their relationship was sexual in nature. 

1 Samuel 18:20-21 "Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 'I will give her to him', he thought, 'so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him'. Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law" (NIV) In the King James Version, the end of Verse 21 reads: "Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the one of the twain." (KJV) Saul's belief was that David would be so distracted by a wife that he would not be an effective fighter and would be killed by the Philistines. He offered first his daughter Merab, but that was rejected, presumably by her. Then he offered Michal. There is an interesting phrase used at the end of verse 21. In both the NIV and KJV, it would seem that David's first opportunity to be a son-in-law was with the older daughter Merab, and his second was with the younger daughter Michal.

The KJV preserves the original text in its clearest form; it implies that David would become Saul's son-in-law through "one of the twain." "Twain" means "two", so the verse seems to refer to one of Saul's two daughters. Unfortunately, this is a mistranslation. The underlined phrase "the one of" does not exist in the Hebrew original. The words are shown in italics in the King James Version; this is an admission by the translators that they made the words up. Thus, if the KJV translators had been truly honest, they would have written: "Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the twain."

In modern English, this might be written: "Today, you are son-in-law with two of my children" That would refer to both his son Jonathan and his daughter Michal. The Hebrew original would appear to recognize David and Jonathan's homosexual relationship as equivalent to David and Michal's heterosexual marriage. Saul may have approved or disapproved of the same-sex relationship; but at least he appears to have recognized it. The KJV highlight the re-writing of the Hebrew original by placing the three words in italics; the NIV translation is clearly deceptive. 

Part 2: 1 Sam 19:1-7 Jonathan Puts David Before his Family
Saul spoke with his son Jonathan and with all his servants about killing David. But Saul's son Jonathan took great delight in David. Jonathan told David, "My father Saul is trying to kill you; therefore be on guard tomorrow morning; stay in a secret place and hide yourself. I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you; if I learn anything I will tell you." Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul, saying to him, "The king should not sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have been of good service to you; for he took his life in his hand when he attacked the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced; why then will you sin against an innocent person by killing David without cause?" Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan; Saul swore, "As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death." So Jonathan called David and related all these things to him. Jonathan then brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.

Part 3: 1 Sam 20:1-42 The Adventure - Jonathan Saves David
[Saul turns against David and tries to attack and kill him] David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came before Jonathan and said, "What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin against your father that he is trying to take my life?"
He said to him, "Far from it! You shall not die. My father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me; and why should my father hide this from me? Never!" But David also swore, "Your father knows well that you like me; and he thinks, 'Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.' But truly, as the LORD lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death."
Then Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you." David said to Jonathan, "Tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at the meal; but let me go, so that I may hide in the field until the third evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, 'David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.' If he says, 'Good!' it will be well with your servant; but if he is angry, then know that evil has been determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a sacred covenant with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself; why should you bring me to your father?"
Jonathan said, "Far be it from you! If I knew that it was decided by my father that evil should come upon you, would I not tell you?" Then David said to Jonathan, "Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?" Jonathan replied to David, "Come, let us go out into the field." So they both went out into the field. Jonathan said to David, "By the LORD, the God of Israel! When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or on the third day, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? But if my father intends to do you harm, the LORD do so to Jonathan, and more also, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, so that you may go in safety. May the LORD be with you, as he has been with my father. If I am still alive, show me the faithful love of the LORD; but if I die, never cut off your faithful love from my house, even if the LORD were to cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth." 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.
Jonathan said to him, "Tomorrow is the new moon; you will be missed, because your place will be empty. On the day after tomorrow, you shall go a long way down; go to the place where you hid yourself earlier, and remain beside the stone there. I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. Then I will send the boy, saying, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say to the boy, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you, collect them,' then you are to come, for, as the LORD lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. But if I say to the young man, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then go; for the LORD has sent you away. As for the matter about which you and I have spoken, the LORD is witness between you and me forever."
So David hid himself in the field. When the new moon came, the king sat at the feast to eat. The king sat upon his seat, as at other times, upon the seat by the wall. Jonathan stood, while Abner sat by Saul's side; but David's place was empty. Saul did not say anything that day; for he thought, "Something has befallen him; he is not clean, surely he is not clean." But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David's place was empty. And Saul said to his son Jonathan, "Why has the son of Jesse not come to the feast, either yesterday or today?" Jonathan answered Saul, "David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem; he said, 'Let me go; for our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your sight, let me get away, and see my brothers.' For this reason he has not come to the king's table."
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 the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? 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." Then Jonathan answered his father Saul, "Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" But Saul threw his spear at him to strike him; so Jonathan knew that it was the decision of his father to put David to death.
Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, and because his father had disgraced him. In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him was a little boy. He said to the boy, "Run and find the arrows that I shoot." As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy came to the place where Jonathan's arrow had fallen, Jonathan called after the boy and said, "Is the arrow not beyond you?" Jonathan called after the boy, "Hurry, be quick, do not linger." So Jonathan's boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. But the boy knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said to him, "Go and carry them to the city."
As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. He bowed three times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, forever.'" He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city.

Part 4: 1 Sam 23:14-18 Jonathan and David Meet for the Last Time - and Renew Their Vows.
The pursuit of David has began] David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but the LORD did not give him into his hand. David was in the Wilderness of Ziph at Horesh when he learned that Saul had come out to seek his life. Saul's son Jonathan set out and came to David at Horesh; there he strengthened his hand through the LORD. He said to him, "Do not be afraid; for the hand of my father Saul shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be second to you; my father Saul also knows that this is so." Then the two of them made a covenant before the LORD; David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.

Part 5: 2 Sam 1:1-27 David's Lament for Jonathan
[David wins the struggle with Saul, but both Saul and Jonathan are killed] After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. On the third day, a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground and did obeisance. David said to him, "Where have you come from?" He said to him, "I have escaped from the camp of Israel." David said to him, "How did things go? Tell me!" He answered, "The army fled from the battle, but also many of the army fell and died; and Saul and his son Jonathan also died."
Then David asked the young man who was reporting to him, "How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan died?" The young man reporting to him said, "I happened to be on Mount Gilboa; and there was Saul leaning on his spear, while the chariots and the horsemen drew close to him. When he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. I answered, 'Here sir.' And he said to me, 'Who are you?' I answered him, 'I am an Amalekite.' He said to me, 'Come, stand over me and kill me; for convulsions have seized me, and yet my life still lingers.' So I stood over him, and killed him, for I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord."
Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them; and all the men who were with him did the same. They mourned and wept, and fasted until evening for Saul and for his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
David said to the young man who had reported to him, "Where do you come from?" He answered, "I am the son of a resident alien, an Amalekite." David said to him, "Were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?" Then David called one of the young men and said, "Come here and strike him down." So he struck him down and he died. David said to him, "Your blood be on your head; for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the Lord's anointed.'"
NOTE: This is also a great point of where “Don’t Kill The Messenger” comes to mind…
2 Samuel 1:26: "I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” In the society of ancient Israel, it was not considered proper for a man and woman to have a platonic relationship. Men and women rarely spoke to each other in public. Since David's only relationships with women would have been sexual in nature, then he must be referring to sexual love here. It would not make sense in this verse to compare platonic love for a man with sexual love for a woman; they are two completely different phenomena. It would appear that David is referring to his sexual love for Jonathan.

David intoned this lamentation over Saul and his son Jonathan
(He ordered that The Song of the Bow be taught to the people of Judah; it is written in the Book of Jashar.)
Your glory, O Israel, lies slain upon your high places! How the mighty have fallen!
Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon; or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, the daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.
You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor bounteous fields! For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, anointed with oil no more.
From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, nor the sword of Saul return empty.
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.
O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you with crimson, in luxury, 
who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.
How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the 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.
How the mighty have fallen, and the weapons of war perished!

Part 6: 2 Sam 9:1-13 David Keeps his Vows to Jonathan
[Although they loved each other, both David and Jonathan also were married and had children. David made certain to support Jonathan' child, who was disabled and in need of protection.]
David asked, "Is there still anyone left of the house of Saul to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and he was summoned to David. The king said to him, "Are you Ziba?" And he said, "At your service!"
The king said, "Is there anyone remaining of the house of Saul to whom I may show the kindness of God?" Ziba said to the king, "There remains a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet." The king said to him, "Where is he?" Ziba said to the king, "He is in the house of Machir son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar." Then King David sent and brought him from the house of Machir son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar. Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul came to David, and fell on his face and did obeisance. David said, "Mephibosheth!" He answered, "I am your servant." David said to him, "Do not be afraid, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan; I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you yourself shall eat at my table always." He did obeisance and said, "What is your servant, that you should look upon a dead dog such as I?" Then the king summoned Saul's servant Ziba, and said to him, "All that belonged to Saul and to all his house I have given to your master's grandson. You and your sons and your servants shall till the land for him, and shall bring in the produce, so that your master's grandson may have food to eat; but your master's grandson Mephibosheth shall always eat at my table." Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then Ziba said to the king, "According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so your servant will do." Mephibosheth ate at David's table, like one of the king's sons. Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba's house became Mephibosheth's servants. Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he always ate at the king's table. Now he was lame in both his feet.
These texts describe the relationship between David and Jonathan. You may not interpret them as homosexual, but I do, and I think I have valid reasons to do so. Note especially: the "friendship" between David and Jonathan. The relevant passages: 1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:3-4, and especially, 20:41 and 2 Samuel 1:25-26, quoted here: "And as soon as the lad had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times; and *they* (David and Jonathan) KISSED ONE ANOTHER, and wept with another, until David recovered himself" (1 Sam. 20:41 New International Version).  It's really amusing to see the Fundamentalists try to dismiss the obvious passion in this episode!
"(David speaks:) 'Jonathan lies slain... I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; YOUR LOVE TO ME WAS WONDERFUL, PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMEN'" (2 Sam 1:25-26, New International Version)

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