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Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 47 (Did David Heart Jonathan?)

[Reaction to One Year Bible's May 22-24 readings]

I am a strong advocate for gay rights. I think Christianity's lessons of love and acceptance trump rules from Leviticus & the Epistles--most of which we don't follow anyway--in deciding whether to accept the love between two people.

I was thus interested to read about Jonathan and David's relationship. There are those that speculate that Jonathan and David had a romantic relationship. There is some language in First and Second Samuel to support this. For example, "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 Sam. 18:3-4; Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.'" 1 Sam. 20:42. And after Jonathan is killed in battle, David's mournful cry includes this line, "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." 2 Sam. 1:26. Here is more context.

So, here's the thing. I don't know. The way I read these stories is that they were very close, like brothers--beyond friends. What do others think?

3 comments:

Matt Dick said...

I think calling it out as a romantic relationship is an enormous stretch. First of all, we'd have to study what words were translated as "love". Second, phrases such as "he loved him as himself." makes it clear it's hearkening back to loving your neighbor as yourself--definitely not a romantic-type love.

I think it smacks of modern sensibilities laid over some pretty unambiguous writing.

sabor

JimII said...

As I said, I agree. Although, I suppose it is worth noting how unique it is to have a friendship between two men described in this way.

I compare it to the speculation that Paul was gay based on his talk of an affliction of his body that challenged his faith and vicious passages condemning homosexuality in a manner than some suggest is self loathing. For what ever reason, I actually find these arguments pretty compelling. Perhaps that will change once I start reading the letters in full context, but I doubt it.

I am not sure how, and I'm sure it makes little sense, but I do indeed have vague intuitions that inform both of these questions.

Matt Dick said...

That's interesting, I had never heard of this line of speculation at all. I will go read a bit about it.

I am also more compelled by the argument of self-loathing, perhaps because it's so common today in the States to see an obviously self-loathing homosexual politician or pastor condemn homosexuality. It's a common archetype to us now.

pingrap