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The Story of Jonathan and David(Friends or Lovers?)

Alam nating lahat na hindi nirereject ni God ang mga Homosexuals,instead God want all of us to be saved,whatever may your gender identity.John 3:16"Gayun na lamang ang pag-ibig ng Diyos sa sanlibutan kaya binigay niya ang kanyang bugtong na anak upang SINUMANG(regardless of your gender identity) sumampalataya ay hindi mapahamak bagkus ay magkaroon ng buhay na walang hanggan.

This day pag usapan natin ang kwento ni Jonathan at David.You judge kung magkaibigan nga lang ba sila o higit pa rito?

(Jonathan and David)

The story of Jonathan and David is very intriguing.  Could it be they were just close friends as is the view of the Traditionalists or were Jonathan and David involved romantically?  In my and many others view, the text suggests the two were a couple.  I don’t believe we are reading something into the text that is really not there just because we want to justify homosexuality.  We are going to examine the text and quotes from scholars to answer the question whether Jonathan and David were romantically involved.

“Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.  Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house.  Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.  Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.”  1 Samuel 18:1-4 NASB

I have to admit this is odd behavior for Jonathan who is next in line for the throne to hand over (without a second thought) his royal robe, armor, sword, bow and belt to David.  Here we have Jonathan handing over to David his right to the throne.

There are those who say Jonathan made a covenant with David for a political advantage.  Given that Jonathan was already next in line for the throne, he didn’t necessarily need the help of David; he could call on his army at any time.  David could protect himself but it could have been to David’s advantage to make a covenant with Jonathan.  Yet, it is Jonathan making a covenant with David.  So, the question remains, if the covenant was not for political gain, what was its purpose?

Below is a quote from the book Gay Christian 101 concerning the context of the above verses in 1 Samuel 18:1-4.

“Matthew Henry, AD 1662-1714, tells us:  Jonathan “fell perfectly in love with him… the soul of Jonathan was immediately knit unto the soul of David…  David is seen in Jonathan’s clothes, that all may take notice he is Jonathan’s second self…  So entirely satisfied were they in each other, even at the first interview, that they made a covenant with each other, 1 Samuel 18:3.  True love desires to be constant.”

Below is the commentary on the above quote from the author of Gay Christian 101.

“Perhaps Matthew Henry based his description on the meaning of qashar, the Hebrew word translated in English as knit:  “the soul of Jonathan was (qashar) knit with the (nephesh) soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own (nephesh) soul.”  Qashar (knit), when linked with nephesh, (soul) as here, refers to being romantically in love with someone.  Nephesh conveys the idea of soul, self, life, desire, emotion, passion.  In this context, nephesh refers to the seat of emotions and passions while knit describes an activity which involves the mind, the will and the character.”

So, just from what we have examined so far, it is reasonable to conclude there was more to the relationship between Jonathan and David than just friendship.  To further solidify their relationship involved romance we must dissect some additional verses in 1 & 2 Samuel.

As we know Saul wanted to kill David even though David had done nothing wrong.  When the new moon came, Saul expected David to be present at the king’s table for the new moon meal.  However, David told Jonathan to tell Saul he needed to go to Bethlehem to take part in a yearly sacrifice.  Here is Saul’s reaction to this news.

“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.”  1 Samuel 20:30-31 NRSV

You have to wonder why Saul was so angry.  If Jonathan and David were only friends, there would be no reason for Saul to exhibit that kind of rage.  Something else was going on in which Saul did not approve.  Could it be Saul did not approve of Jonathan and David’s relationship?  Below is one of the quotes I found in Saul’s Sexual Insult and David’s Losing It Homosexuality and the Bible, Supplement by Bruce L. Gerig concerning the line “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman.”

“John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407), bishop of Constantinople, paraphrased this line by describing Jonathan as “You son of common whores, who are men-crazy and run after every man who comes into sight; you weak, effeminate wretch; you nothing of a man [!], who lives only to shame yourself and the mother who bore you.”

Now, let’s look at the next verse.  “Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame…?”  The main word here is the Hebrew word for chosen bacher which means “to choose.”  This word has an amorous component to it as described in the quote below also in the same work cited above by Bruce L.  Gerig.

“C.F. Keil and F. Delitszch (1950) hold that bacher means “to choose a person out of love, to take pleasure in a person.”  Tom Horner (1978) translates the second phrase of Saul’s outburst (from the Greek) as “For, do I not know that you are an intimate companion to the son of Jesse…?”  (20:30) Warren Johannson (1990) translates the same phrase as “do I not know that you are the darling of the son of Jesse…?”  Jonathan Kirsch (2000) agrees that the Greek version, probably the more accurate, does seem to suggest that Jonathan is sleeping with David.  Certainly, this is as valid an interpretation as any other; and, perhaps in the end, it is the most accurate one, since one must connect the clues here with other homoerotic, semi-buried clues found elsewhere in the text.  Although Nissenen (1998) states that he does not see a homosexual relationship here, he then writes, contradictorily, that Saul’s mention of the mother’s nakedness “gives the impression that Saul saw something indecent in Jonathan’s and David’s relationship.”

Now, let’s turn some attention to the phrase “to the shame of your mother’s nakedness.”  The Hebrew word for nakedness is erwa, a word which most often in the Old Testament refers to genitalia.  In the incest laws of Leviticus 18:6-18, to uncover someone’s nakedness meant to expose that person’s genitals, for sexual purposes.  Certainly Saul would have understood this and it was probably the context in which Saul was using it.

We also know Jonathan and David had a prearranged plan in place in order to notify David of Saul’s plan if he wanted to kill him.  We also know Jonathan was distressed concerning his father’s desire to kill David.  Below is a verse outlining what happened after Jonathan warned David regarding his father’s plan.

“… David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times:  and they kissed one another, and wept with one another, until David exceeded.”  1 Samuel 20:41 KJV

To this point we have been told of Jonathan’s love toward David, but know we see David showing his feelings toward Jonathan.  There is much debate regarding the meaning of the word “exceeded.”  Modern Bible translations usually have the word translated “wept the more’’ but there is probably more to the meaning of the word than some are willing to admit.  Below is another quote from Bruce L.  Gerig.

“Many objections may be raised to most of the English translations.  As William McKane (1963) notes, the idea of “excessively” is dubious Hebrew; and also the Hebrew cannot be translated as “until David recovered himself.”  David Jobling writes that the textual evidence for “wept the more” or “the longer” is flimsy.  Also, both the Hebrew and Greek texts make it clear that it is only David who “exceeded,” not both Jonathan and David.  Further, in view of the larger story, it can hardly be imagined that “David’s grief was even greater than Jonathan’s.”  The idea “until David recovered himself” hardly represents a great “consummation” as the Septuagint suggests, only a winding down.  Peter Ackroyd points out that very likely something is missing here in the text, as it now stands.  Hans Hertzberg notes that the Hebrew (ad higdil) is “incomprehensible”; and based on the older Septuagint text, the original Hebrew probably read ‘ad taklit gedola, which may be translated as “until [David] grew large [to] completion.”  Peter Ackroyd translates the ending as “to a great climax,” and Warren Johannson even more bluntly as “until the ejaculation.”

The Bible shows Jonathan and David met one final time (that we know of) and the verse below contains the content of that meeting.

“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.”  1 Samuel 23:17 NRSV

What Jonathan said to David regarding his father not being able to find David is true.  Saul could never find David but Jonathan always knew where David was at any given point.  This probably means the armies of both Jonathan and David were working together to keep David’s location a secret from Saul.

Secondly, Jonathan makes the comment that he will reign along side David.  This is odd behavior for someone who was the rightful heir of the throne, to give that right away, yet plans to rule anyway.  The two planned to rule Israel together, this is even more evidence that Jonathan and David were romantically involved.

Finally, there is one last verse that requires attention and that verse is 2 Samuel 1:26.

“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.”

In the above verse, David is making a contrast between the love of Jonathan and the love of women.  Before the death of Jonathan, David already had three wives and it is very unlikely David was speaking about the friendship of women as some suppose because men in David and Jonathan’s time did not have intimate, non-sexual friendships with women unless they were a member of the immediate family.

It is much more likely David was stating Jonathan’s love for him was greater and deeper than the love he has ever received or experienced from any of his wives.  Oddly enough, scripture never says that David loved any of his three wives.

Jonathan and David enjoyed a fifteen year relationship.  I believe there is enough evidence between the scriptures and the study of scholars to safely conclude Jonathan and David were much more than friends.

Sana nainitindihan niyo.Kung titingnan nating mabuti,hindi lang basta magkaibigan sina Jonathan at David kundi higit pa dito.


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