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Old 07-16-2001, 07:02 AM   #1
frostymama
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Post Did David and Jonathan have a sexual relationship or were they just good friends??

Just curious if anyone out there is more knowlegable of this than I am. I don't speak Hebrew so I have to rely on Strongs This came up in a discussion elswhere recently and the person who thought they had a sexual relationship was labeled a "blasphemer".

1 Sam 18:1-4
Quote:
18:1
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
The word love in this verse (both times) is the hebrew 'ahabah (Strongs 0160) which can mean (according to Strongs)
1) love
1a) human love for human object
1a1) of man toward man
1a2) of man toward himself
1a3) between man and woman
1a4) sexual desire
2) God's love to His people
Quote:
18:2
And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house.
18:3
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
The word love here is also 'ahabah. The word covenant is b@riyth (Strongs 01262) which can mean anything from an agreement between 2 men, or even marriage.
Quote:
18:4
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
Jonathan gave him his clothes. Did this have any cultural significance? Was this part of the covenant?
Quote:
19:2
But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:
In this verse "delight" is Strongs 02654. According to Strongs it has the meanings
1) to delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with
1a) (Qal)
1a1) of men
1a1a) to take pleasure in, delight in
1a1b) to delight, desire, be pleased to do
1a2) of God
1a2a) to delight in, have pleasure in
1a2b) to be pleased to do
2) to move, bend down
2a) (Qal) to bend down

The word is used in Gen 34:19, Due 21:14 to mean sexual desire.

Quote:
20:30
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?
20:31
For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
I'm completely stumped by the meaning of these verses and the verses immediately after them. The "confusion" is bosheth (Strongs 01322) which generally means "shame")

Quote:
1Sa 20:41 [And] as soon as the lad was gone, 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 one with another, until David exceeded.
This could be interpreted as a kiss of friendship or as the kiss of a lover.

Quote:
2Sa 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
The love in this verse is also 'ahabah (Strongs 0160). Does David mean that his love (friendship) is more wonderful than his love for women? Or does he mean that his love (sexual) is more wonderful than the love of women?
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Old 07-16-2001, 01:50 PM   #2
Throbert McGee
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Quote:
Originally posted by frostymama:
[QB The love in this verse is also 'ahabah (Strongs 0160). Does David mean that his love (friendship) is more wonderful than his love for women? Or does he mean that his love (sexual) is more wonderful than the love of women?[/QB]
I dunno, but I'll say this much: even if Jonathan and David were "just friends," the degree to which their friendship is exalted makes the passage a solid rebuke to rightwingers who denigrate same-sex partnerships and waste our precious supply of Irony Quotes[tm] with shit like:

Hundreds of homosexual and lesbian "couples" converged on the state capital to proclaim their "love" and demand special legal status for "gay" "relationships."

I mean, clearly J & D had something very special going, even if they weren't fucking.
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Old 07-16-2001, 02:55 PM   #3
offa
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In The Works of Josephus, p. 454 a story is told
about king Herod the Great having a catamite named Carus.

On p. 440 a story is told about his eunuchs putting him
to bed.

The message I am getting is that same-sex relations were not
uncommon amongst the Jews (Romans and Greeks as well). I
guess they preferred boys over women.

offa
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Old 07-16-2001, 05:07 PM   #4
karlydee
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20:30
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?
20:31
For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground,

thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom.


Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.


could mean that he could not establish his kingdom by taking a queen[female] and establishing a royal lineage [kingdom]

kind of supports the idea that he had chosen DAVID as a gay lover, else why would Saul be pissed
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Old 07-17-2001, 06:41 AM   #5
frostymama
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Quote:
could mean that he could not establish his kingdom by taking a queen[female] and establishing a royal lineage [kingdom]

kind of supports the idea that he had chosen DAVID as a gay lover, else why would Saul be pissed
(Assuming that the story actually occured)That was what was really confusing me. That scenario does fit perfectly, but I was trying to reconcile that with the fundamentalist interpretation so I could see both sides. It is a much tougher fit.

The only thing that I can come up with (for the just friends scenario) is that since Saul knew that David had been annointed King... Jonathan would never be King as long as David was alive. (???) That could have pissed Saul off if he knew that Jonathan and David were friends. That doesn't really explain the nakedness and shame part though

I'm thinking it is more likely that they were lovers. Does anyone know how prolific homosexuality during this time period? I saw the mention of Herod, but his reign was not during the time of Jewish sovereignty, right? (Unless someone hit me on the head, I'm pretty sure he lived during the Roman occupation) How was it reconciled with the Law? (or were there only certain powerful people who could get away with it?)
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Old 07-17-2001, 04:42 PM   #6
E_muse
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Question

It interests me that so much interested is generated over a few questionable verses.

The Hebrew words so carefully outlined above suggest more than a degree of ambiguity with regard to interpretation as the words are used to describe so many different types of relationship. On top of this, there doesn't appear to be anything in the context which says that any relationship between David and Jonathan must be sexual. Anyone trying to force a particular interpretation on these passages must be doing so with an agenda, whether 'fundamentalist' or otherwise. When a passage is ambiguous one must always attempt to resist the tendency to force the particular passage in any one direction to suit ones private agenda I feel. Isn't better to keep an open mind?

However, I am still left with some questions.

In the book of Deuteronomy 17:14 we read the following:

Quote:
"When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, 'I will set a King over me like all the nations that are around me.' you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren..... reading on to verse 17, where certain guidelines are laid down for Kings ......"Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest he heart turn away..."
It is verse 17 that I am particularly interested in here. It seems that in this verse Kings are forbidden from gathering many wives.

Yet clearly the Bible admits that David did this. It also accounts others of David's failures such as his punishment for carrying out the census on Israel and his punishment for the adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite.

Why is the Bible so open about David's failure's and punishments and yet fails to mention any homosexual relationship he may have had? Whilst the law forbade homosexual relationships it also forbade David from having many wives. I would think that anyone reading the account of David's life, who had a knowledege of the law, would have realised this.

On top of all of this David is described as a man after God's own heart! This seems a much more obvious problem and not reliant on twisting ambiguous texts to achieve it!

David's adultery with Bathsheba, despite having many wives already, would seem to suggest that, if anything, he had an eye for the ladies!

So what is the evidence?

David has a friendship with Jonathan which is described using strong language, even intense language, used to describe a variety of strong binding relationships both sexual and platonic. Nothing else in the context suggests a homosexual relationship although the language used doesn't rule it out. However, it must be said that the language used doesn't rule anything out! Only an outside agenda could push these verses, held in isolation to the rest of David's life, in any one direction.

There is a more obvious problem. David is described as having a heart after God's and yet he blatantly disobeys the law of God by gathering many wives, commits adultery, commits murder and disobeys God by carrying out a census for which he is punished.

If the writers are so blatant about David's behaviour and failures and disobedience to the law why isn't any sexual encounter between Jonathan and David mentioned?

[ July 17, 2001: Message edited by: E_muse ]
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Old 07-18-2001, 01:46 PM   #7
lpetrich
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I'm not aware of any part of the Bible that explicitly forbids polygamy. And nobody in it ever objected to the kings of Israel having lots of wives -- it was David's way of getting Bathsheba that was objected to.

In fact, from a Biblical (or at least Old-Testament) point of view, the natural thing for Bill Clinton to have done would have been to marry Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky in addition to Hillary Rodham.
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Old 07-18-2001, 04:44 PM   #8
E_muse
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Quote:
I'm not aware of any part of the Bible that explicitly forbids polygamy. And nobody in it ever objected to the kings of Israel having lots of wives -- it was David's way of getting Bathsheba that was objected to.
In fact, from a Biblical (or at least Old-Testament) point of view, the natural thing for Bill Clinton to have done would have been to marry Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky in addition to Hillary Rodham.
Indeed. I feel that the issue of polygamy should be for a different thread as the issue here is homosexuality and King David.

However, the Bible still makes no effort to hide the failures of King David or the subsequent punishments. It still does not answer the question - why would it then be so elusive over any alleged homosexual affair between David and Jonathan?

The Bible writers seem to make no attempt to hide failure or erase it from their history - the 40 year wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness being a good example.

As I've stated above, the texts in question do not exclude the possibility of a homosexual affiliation but then they do not exclude any possiblility at all - so what is the purpose in pushing the text in any one direction in terms of interpretation?
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