The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jonathan and David: A Love Story

It's just weird when you look out your front door early in the morning and a police car is parked there sideways in the road with lights "a flashing."

This was on the morning of the recent fire, however, and the car was blocking the street.

I promised in a comment a few days ago that I would provide an example of where homosexuality is treated in a positive way in the Bible. One such instance is the story of the love between David and Jonathan.

"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." 1Samuel 18:1-4.

This was pretty much love at first sight. Brotherly love does not lead a man to get naked and offer his most personal possessions, the symbols of his manhood, to another man, but that is what Jonathan did here.

Jonathan's father, King Saul, was not happy about the relationship:

"You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen David, 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."
1 Samuel 20:30

In other words, Saul is furious that his son has chosen David as his lover, he says it is shameful, something many gay men have heard when they reveal themselves to their fathers. Saul tells Jonathan that he cannot produce an heir to the throne (while in a same sex relationship) so he can not claim the kingship.

"...they kissed each other and wept with one another; until David exceeded. 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 my descendants and your descendants, forever"' He got up and left; and Jonathan went into the city." 1 Samuel 20: 41-42.

Again, clearly the association between Jonathan and David goes beyond what is expected from heterosexual males. They knew they would not see one another again, and this is the parting of doomed lovers, so to speak. Yet they made a bond that would last through all generations.

The Hebrew word used here, gadal, translated above as "exceeded," can have various meanings. It means to grow, to become great. Some scholars when translating this passage have completely changed the meaning, saying David "recovered himself, " or "got control of himself" or even deleted the ending completely, being uncomfortable with the obvious meaning, that David became erected.

After Jonathan's death, David wrote a song while mourning, in which he says:

"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: 26

I have not known a heterosexual man to proclaim that his love for another man was greater than his love for a woman.

This is an example, in the Bible, of two men in a loving, sexual relationship, and the Bible celebrates that love in this song.

Picture Credit: Wikimedia commons. Gottfried Bernhard Goez: Jonathan Greeting David after David Killed Goliath


Javi said...


Thanks for sharing these passages. I had heard them a few months ago at the sermon at my church (MCC). I had never heard it before then, but now it's one of my favorite readings in the Bible.

Joe said...

Thanks Uncle Javi.

It is surely a beautiful story, even though their relationship ends, their love lives on.

Rebeca said...

Two months ago, the Indian High Court issued a landmark ruling that rolled back British colonial-era laws against homosexuality. Today the Indian government said they will let the ruling stand.

kayakaccessories said...

good story for jonnathan david very much to each other but their father did not accept his love but they will prove that the love to each one

Trey said...

I disagree with your perspective here, Joe. I don't know about you, but I am unaware of any gay men who would look upon the the wife of another with lust, then send her husband to the front lines to be killed so that they may claim the woman as their own.