Did David and Jonathan have a homosexual relationship?

My men’s group is studying the life of David. Good stuff! I have a
question regarding David and Jonathan’s friendship. Specifically, 2 Samuel
1:26 where David speaks “your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful
than that of women.” Some gay communities argue or use the David/Jonathan
friendship to mean more… Would you comment on the this…?

I would say that only a desperate person would attempt to claim that
either David or Jonathan were homosexual. There is not a shred of evidence
to support the claim and a lot of evidence to oppose it. David was a man’s
man. David clearly had a love for women, as evidenced by his multiple
wives. Jonathan also was married and the father of several children.
Anyone who would turn this beautiful poem about the deep loyalty,
friendship and godly love between David and Jonathan–companions in heart
and in battle against God’s enemies–into evidence that they had a
homosexual affair would be looking for something which is simply not there.

Perhaps the motivation for such an attempt to twist the scriptures might
arise from frustration. Those who would attempt to justify a homosexual
lifestyle using Bible passages are in a difficult position to say the
least. It does not take a Bible scholar with a degree in Greek to
interpret Romans 1:26; “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful
lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In
the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were
inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other
men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” It
is beyond common sense to believe that God would, in essence, condone
“unnatural relations” and “perversion” through the poem recorded in 2
Samuel chapter one.

In case there was any doubt, the Old Testament is equally strong on the
sin of homosexuality. Consider Leviticus 20:13. “If a man lies with a man
as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They
must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” To proceed
from this passage to implying that David openly proclaimed a homosexual
relationship with Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1 seems impossible to believe.

Having said these things, it is worth remembering what Jesus’ attitude
would be toward those who are entangled in homosexuality. Jesus treated
prostitutes with gentleness, humility and love. He also demanded that they
stop their sinful lifestyle. Jesus saw both the religious and the “blatant
sinners” as sheep without a shepherd. Disciples of Jesus are not called to
attack, slander, abuse or mistreat those who are caught up in the sin of
homosexuality. In fact, quite the opposite is the case. Our response
should be one of love and compassion. Our job is to bring as many as
possible to Christ through respectfully revealing to them the nature of
sin and of the solution to the problem of sin: the blood of Jesus Christ.

John Oakes, PhD

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