January 4, 2012

Hard Sayings XL: Were David and Jonathan Homosexual?

Jonathan Warns by Eikonik

In a word: No

I will now explain why and the explanation is rather simple.
“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 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.” 1 Samuel 18:1-4
David and Jonathan really loved one another, this much is clear. The question is: Does the relationship as described in Scripture warrant seeing them as homosexuals? The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the love between David and Jonathan was deep. The word love in Hebrew this and other passages in 1 Samuel is “בְּאַהֲבָת֥וֹ /ahab” which means to have affection for, sexual or otherwise. Like most do in our society, many see what they want to in words. When people with agendas latch on to narrowly defined aspects of Scripture and refuse to see the full scope and refuse to see passages in context we often see things like David and Jonathan’s love for one another labeled as homosexual. What is sad is that this is done even when these assertion fly in the face of the preponderant pattern of Scripture and is totally counter intuitive in terms of sexual immorality.
When doing hermeneutics and words studies whether they are Hebrew or Greek, context of the passage and context of Scripture at large need to be taken into consideration. This is not being done with this passage if people believe this relationship speaks of homosexuality. One needs only look at Genesis 22:2 to see the exact same word being used between two other males in the Old Testament…and they are clearly not homosexual. It is God speaking to Abraham about his son whom he loved: Isaac. We also see it in Leviticus 19:18 when we read that God said, ". . . you shall love/ahab/ בְּאַהֲבָת֥וֹ your neighbor as yourself." If this is homosexual love, this means God is telling the Israelites to love everyone homosexually. Wrong. This totally violates the premise of God’s natural order and God’s premise for sexual relationships or any relationships for that matter. We even see it in the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 where believers are called to, “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Trust me folks…God is not calling us to love Him homosexually. An intense pure love? Yes. Homosexual love? No.
He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” ~Genesis 22:2
A further elaboration assumed from the original passage is in verse 4 when we read that Jonathan stripped in David's presence 1 Samuel 18:4, “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.” In 1 Samuel 20:41 we also see, “After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.” When viewed from a presupposition that assumes homosexuality is a fact in this situation, it is easy to see how these passages can be misinterpreted.
Jonathan took off his armor and outer garments here, he didn’t “strip” to his birthday suit. How anyone that understands culture/historical context here could misconstrue this passage… probably did so willfully. In the time of David, which was approx. 1000 B.C., for a person of position and power to relinquish their weapon, armor and royal robe was to essentially divest themselves of power and hand it to the person they hand these items to. It was the same as handing someone your royal scepter. In this case it is David. Jonathan knew David was truly God’s chosen, not his father-nor him. By doing this he was throwing his potential crown he would gain from his father at David’s feet acknowledging him as true king. God's King. This is not imagery of a homosexual "tryst". It is the passing of a mantle or rightful transfer of power. How Jonathan's obedience to God and acknowledgement of David as true king can be interpreted as homosexual encounter is shameful. This is especially true when the dominate pattern of the Bible that this passage resides in clearly condemns immoral sexual behavior that includes same sex intercourse.
The truth is there is no suggestion in the Bible that David and Jonathan were homosexual...ever. This is willful misinterpretation of the Hebrew or Greek and fanciful revisionism. The issue for David does not appear to be homosexuality according to Scripture, it appears to be an overabundance of heterosexuality. You see…David, like his son Solomon and people like Brigham Young, was a heterosexual polygamist based on the enduring evidences of Scripture.  David indeed had a problem with sexual immorality but it had to do with quantities...not types.
Finally, the so-called passionate homosexual "kiss" was nothing of the sort. Men greeting other men ancient middle eastern culture is much the same as it is now. It was and is a common cultural greeting for men in that day to greet one another with a kiss. Furthermore, it did not occur until two and a half chapters after Jonathan gave David his clothes (1 Samuel 18 thru 1 Samuel 20). This hardly happens in a single romantic evening rendezvous regardless of what people want to read into the text.

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