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Were David and Jonathan gay?

Submitted: 3/12/2008
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Question: Recently I heard that modern supporters of homosexuality use the friendship of David and Jonathan as an example. The scripture I assume they use is 2 samuel 1:26 which says, '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.' I know that homosexuality is against God's Word and law, but what I would like to know is what answer would I give to someone who used this scripture to try and prove their point?

Answer: We suggest that you begin by making the point that this Scripture does not define in an explicit way what David meant by Jonathan's love 'passing the love of women.' He may have simply meant that David's affection for his friend was stronger than it had ever been for a woman. Or perhaps he meant that he felt more loved by Jonathan than he had ever felt loved by a woman. There is nothing in the text indicating that David engaged in sexual contact with Jonathan. The point is, there are several alternative interpretations of this passage that have nothing to do with homosexuality. This may have been an example of what Solomon meant when he wrote, 'But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother' (Proverbs 18:24).

Next we would ask him how he would interpret the straightforward, unambigous statements condemning sex between members of the same sex. A few examples would be:
'You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination' (Leviticus 18:22). 'Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due' (Romans 1:27). 'Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).