Same Sex Couples in the Bible?

David & Jonathan
There is no real need to bring out a passage showing approval of homosexuality. After all, the Bible condemns only those actions it actually condemns, and homosexuality is not one of those things.
However, even though they are not strictly necessary, there *are* several passages that show approval of gay relationships.
To mention just one, there is the love affair between David and Jonathan.
1 Samuel 18:1,3
“And it came to pass, when he [David] 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 . . . And Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”
And immediately afterward, Jonathan disrobed before David:
1 Samuel 18:4
“Jonathan divested himself of the mantle he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military dress, and his sword, his bow and his belt.
Jonathan was not only disrobing, but was turning the symbols of his manhood over to David. This draws a very clear picture of what is happening here.
1 Samuel 20:30
“Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse [David] to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?”
Reference to the nakedness of one’s parents is one of the methods used in the Bible to refer to a sexual relationship. Jonathan had chosen David as his lover. And in the same conversations Saul says:
1 Samuel 20:31
Why, as long as the son of Jesse lives upon the earth you cannot make good your claim to the kingship!
This clarifies Saul’s problem. One of the most important duties of being a king was producing an heir. Obviously, Jonathan had no intention of producing an heir, and therefore could not provide the final step needed to make good his claim to the kingship. He loved David and *only* David.


1 Samuel 20:41
” . . . they [David and Jonathan] kissed one another, and wept one with another . . . ”

Here they are displaying a deep affection for one another, and showing an emotional attachment well beyond what would be shown by two heterosexuals in a similar situation.  They actually weep together because of their upcoming forced separation.

2 Samuel 1:26
[After Jonathan’s death, David said,] “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.”

As you can see, they were very much in love.  The Bible shows them kissing one another — not a normal activity for heterosexual men.To make sure you don’t miss the sexual aspect, the love is compared (favorably, by the way) with the love of a woman.  Their souls were knit together in love, and they made a covenant because of their love. Just think about how many covenants are made because of love.  The covenant of marriage sort of sticks out.  The actions immediately following that declaration of love are also unmistakable.  Not many covenants made because of love result in the participants disrobing in each other’s presence, but one such covenant — the covenant of marriage — does.

The comment about the nakedness of Jonathan’s mother in the discussion of his relationship with David strongly implies a  sexual element to the relationship.  This just reiterates what is already obvious.

To emphasize the point, Saul offers his oldest daughter Meroh to David, but David turns down the offer.  He then offers his younger daughter Michel to David, who loves David, but David also turns this down. Something very interesting here is that, even though the Bible says that Michel loved David, there is no reciprocal “David loved Michel” statement.  David finally agrees to marry Michel, but not for love, but rather for the benefit of having the king as his father-in-law.

1 Samuel 18:26
“When the servants reported this offer to David, he was pleased with the prospect of becoming the king’s son-in-law.”

Note that there is no mention of being pleased at the prospect of marrying Michel, bit only with becoming the king’s son-in-law.

David was obviously bisexual.  But with a preference for men, since he found his love for Jonathan to be wonderful, passing the love of women.  As a King he *had* to have a harem and produce heirs, no matter his sexual orientation, but his one true love was Jonathan.

You know, I have thought about how *I* would have phrased things to clearly show a homosexual relationship in the Bible.  Other than describing the physical act itself, which I would not do, I would have done it by saying that they loved each other.  To make absolutely clear that this was a gay relationship that was the equivalent of marriage, I would have said that they made a
covenant between each other because of their love.  I doubt that I should have gone as far as to show them disrobing as the Bible does, but I might add in the symbolism of giving up the sword.  Just in case that got missed, though I would have found it hard to believe that this could be misconstrued, I would have shown an example of physical affection, perhaps going as far as to say they kissed.  Surely that would be enough for *anyone* to know that this was a gay relationship.  But just in case anyone managed to deny that, I would have added something like having one of the characters compare their relationship to a relationship with a woman, and
find this one better.  No one could possibly misinterpret *that* one.  But just to make *absolutely* sure that it could not be mistaken for anything but a homosexual relationship that included
a sexual element, I would use one of the code phrases used to point out a sexual relationship, such as a reference to “the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness”.

Actually, I probably would never have gone that far, because I would not have believed that anyone could *possibly* miss the obvious.  But I cannot think of *anything* that I could have written that
would have made the point beyond what is actually shown here.

© 2000, by JRichards.  All rights reserved, except that free distribution via any medium is permitted as long as author’s credit is given and no profit is involved.

Author: GLBTQ Jamaica Moderator

Activist and concerned gay man in Jamaica with over 19 years experience in advocacy and HIV/AIDS prevention work, LGBT DJ since 1996.

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