King David, Son of Solomon Was Gay According Most Gays in the U.S.

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The relationship between David and Jonathan is mainly covered in the Old Testament First Book of Samuel, although elements are to be found also in the Second Book. The episodes belong to the story of David's ascent to power, which is commonly regarded as one of the sources of the Deuteronomistic history, and to its later additions.[3]

David, the youngest son of Jesse, slays Goliath at the Valley of Elah where the Philistine army is in a standoff with the army of King Saul (Jonathan's father).

[4] David's victory begins a rout of the Philistines who are driven back to Gath and the gates of Ekron.

Abner brings David to Saul while David is still holding Goliath's severed head. Jonathan, the eldest son of Saul, has also been fighting the Philistines.[5] Jonathan takes an immediate liking to David and the two form a covenant:

Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.

Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father's house.

Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. (NASB)[6]

[edit] David in the wildernessSaul makes David a commander over his armies and offers Michal, his daughter, in marriage.[7] David enjoys success in battle, and his growing popularity makes Saul afraid "What more can he have but the kingdom?" Saul makes several failed attempts to kill David.

Learning of one of these attempts, Jonathan warns David to hide.[8]

David flees into the wilderness.

David agrees to hide until Jonathan can confront his father and ascertain whether it is safe for David to stay. Jonathan approaches Saul to plead David's cause: "Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan.

He said to him, 'You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness?"[9]

Jonathan is so grieved that he does not eat for days.[10] He goes to David at his hiding place to tell him that it is unsafe for him and he must leave, and the episode ends with them parting ways.

"...David rose from beside the stone heap and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

He bowed three times, and they kissed each other, and wept with each other; David wept the more. Then Jonathan said to David, 'Go in peace, since both of us have sworn in the name of the LORD, saying, "The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, for ever."' He got up and left and Jonathan went into the city."[11]

[edit] The death of JonathanAs Saul continues to pursue David, the pair renew their covenant, after which they do not meet again.

Eventually Saul and David reconcile.

Jonathan, however, is slain on Mt. Gilboa along with his two brothers Abinadab and Malchi-shua, and there Saul commits suicide.[12] David learns of Saul and Jonathan's death and chants a lament,[13] which in part says:

Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions...

"How have the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan is slain on your high places.

"I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful Than the love of women.

"How have the mighty fallen, And the weapons of war perished!" [14]

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(November 2010)
[edit] Jewish Interpretation"The sages characterized the relationship between Jonathan and David in the following Mishnah:

"Whenever love depends on some selfish end, when the end passes away, the love passes away; but if it does not depend on some selfish end, it will never pass away. Which love depended on a selfish end?

This was the love of Amnon and Tamar.

And which did not depend on a selfish end?

This was the love of David and Jonathan.

(Avot 5:15)"[15]

Rabbi Shimon ben Tzemach Duran (Spain, North Africa 14th-15th century) delineated the significance of this mishnah:

"Anyone who establishes a friendship for access to power, money, or sexual relations; when these ends are not attainable, the friendship that is not dependent on selfish ends is true love of the other person since there is no intended end." (Magen Avot - abridged and adapted translation)[16]

[edit] Traditional interpretationA platonic interpretation for the relationship between David and Jonathan has been the mainstream view found in biblical exegesis, as led by Jewish and Christian writers.

This argues that the relationship between the two, although strong and close, is ultimately a platonic friendship.

The covenant that is made is political, and not erotic; while any intimacy is a case of male bonding and homosociality.

"Saul Tries to Kill David" by Julius Schnorr von KarolsfeldDavid and Jonathan's love is understood as the intimate camaraderie between two young soldiers with no sexual involvement.[17][18] The books of Samuel do not actually document physical intimacy between the two characters aside from "kissing,"[19] while missing are euphemisms the Bible uses for sexual relations, and nothing indicates that David and Jonathan slept together.

Neither of the men are described as having problems in their heterosexual married life. David had an abundance of wives and concubines as well as an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, and apparently suffered impotence only as an old man, while Jonathan had a five year-old son at his death.[20]

In response to the argument that homoeroticism was edited out, some traditionalists who subscribe to the Documentary Hypothesis note the significance of the lack of censoring of the descriptions at issue, in spite of the Levitical injunctions against homoerotic contact.

Gagnon notes, "The narrator's willingness to speak of David's vigorous heterosexual life (compare the relationship with Bathsheba) puts in stark relief his (their) complete silence about any sexual activity between David and Jonathan."[21]

Presuming such editing would have taken place, Martti Nissinen comments, "Their mutual love was certainly regarded by the editors as faithful and passionate, but without unseemly allusions to forbidden practices ...

Emotional and even physical closeness of two males did not seem to concern the editors of the story, nor was such a relationship prohibited by Leviticus." Homosociality is not seen as being part of the sexual taboo in the biblical world.[22]

[edit] Medieval and Renaissance allusions
"Jonathan Lovingly Taketh His Leave of David" by Julius Schnorr von KarolsfeldMedieval literature occasionally drew upon the Biblical relationship between David and Jonathan to underline strong personal and intimate friendships between men. The story has also frequently been used as a coded reference to homoerotic relations when the mention was socially discouraged or even punished.

The anonymous Life of Edward II, ca. 1326 AD, wrote: "Indeed I do remember to have heard that one man so loved another.

Jonathan cherished David, Achilles loved Patroclus." We are also told that King Edward II wept for his dead lover Piers Gaveston as: "...

David had mourned for Jonathan." Similarly, Roger of Hoveden, a twelfth century chronicler, deliberately drew comparisons in his description of "The King of France (Philip II Augustus) [who] loved him (Richard the Lionheart) as his own soul."

Both the Renaissance artists Donatello and Michelangelo brought out strong homoerotic elements in their respective sculptures depicting the youthful David.[23]

Abraham Cowley's Davideis (1656) as an epic poem deals abundantly with the friendship motif.

George Frederic Handel's oratorio Saul (1739) contains a setting of David's lament upon the death of Jonathan.

[edit] Modern interpretations[edit] Homoeroticism
David and Jonathan
The Biblical account of David and Jonathan has been read by some as the story of two lovers.

"La Somme le Roy", 1290 AD; French illuminated ms (detail); British MuseumSome modern scholars and writers have interpreted the love between David and Jonathan as more intimate than platonic friendship.

This was first pioneered by Horner, then rehearsed by Boswell and Halperin.[24][25] This interpretation views the bonds the men shared as romantic love, regardless of whether or not the relationship was physically consummated.

Jonathan and David cared deeply about each other in a way that was arguably more tender and intimate than a platonic friendship.

David's praise in 2 Samuel 1:26 for Jonathan's 'love' (for him) over the 'love' of women is considered evidence for same-sex attraction, along with Saul's exclamation to his son at the dinner table, "I know you have chosen the son of Jesse - which is a disgrace to yourself and the nakedness of your mother!" The "choosing" (bahar) may indicate a permanent choice and firm relationship, and the mention of "nakedness" (erwa) could be interpreted to convey a negative sexual nuance, giving the impression that Saul saw something indecent in Jonathan's and David's relationship.[26]

Some also point out that the relationship between the two men is addressed with the same words and emphasis as other love relationships in the Hebrew Testament, whether heterosexual or between God and people: e.g. 'ahava' or &#1488;&#1492;&#1489;&#1492;.[27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

When they are alone together, David confides that he has "found grace in Jonathan's eyes", a phrase proponents say normally refers to romantic or physical attraction.

Throughout the passages, David and Jonathan consistently affirm and reaffirm their love and devotion to each other, and Jonathan is willing to betray his father, family, wealth, and traditions for David.

That there is more than mere homosociality in the dealings of David and Jonathan is asserted by two recent studies: the Biblical scholar Susan Ackerman,[35] and the Orientalist Jean-Fabrice Nardelli.[36] Ackerman and Nardelli argue that the narrators of the books of Samuel encrypted same-sex allusions in the texts where David and Jonathan interact so as to insinuate that the two heroes were lovers.

Ackerman explains this as a case of liminal, viz. transitory, homosexuality, deployed by the redactors as a textual means to assert David's rights against Jonathan's: the latter willingly alienated his princely status by bowing down, sexually speaking, to the former.

Nardelli disagrees and argues that the various covenants Jonathan engaged David into as the superior partner gradually elevated David's status and may be seen as marriage-like.

Susan Ackerman also believes that there is highly eroticized language present in six different sections in the Hebrew Bible in regards to the relationship of David and Jonathan.[37] The six sections she mentions are 1) David and Jonathan's first meeting in 1 Sam. 18:1-18:4 2) the most important description of David and Jonathan's first few meetings in 1 Sam 19:1-19:7. 3) the incident of Saul berating Jonathan for his friendship with David in 1 Sam 20:30-20:34 4) David fleeing from the court of King Saul in 1 Sam. 20:1-20:42 5) the description of David and Jonathan's final meeting in 1 Sam. 23:15-23:18 and 6) David's lament (the Song of the Bow) for Saul and Jonathan.

Of these six examples, Ackerman identifies the most important example being the last one (the Song of the Bow) due to David's assertion that Jonathan's love to David "was more wonderful than the love of women".[38]

Although David was married, David himself articulates a distinction between his relationship with Jonathan and the bonds he shares with women.

David is married to many women, one of whom is Jonathan's sister Michal, but the Bible does not mention David loving Michal (though it is stated that Michal loves David).

[edit] Counter-argumentsTraditional religious apologists point out that neither the books of Samuel nor Jewish tradition documents sanctioned romantic or erotic physical intimacy between the two characters, which the Bible elsewhere makes evident when between heterosexuals, most supremely in the Song of Solomon.

It is also known that covenants were common, and that the word is never used to denote marriage between man and women,[39] and that marriage was a public event and included customs not seen in this story.[40][41]

The platonic interpretation of David and Jonathan's relationship is seen as being advocated by some Christian writers particularly for theological and methodological reasons.

Two modern advocates named are Robert A. J. Gagnon,[42] and the Assyriologist Markus Zehnder,[43] and as such is consistent with commonly held theological views condemning same sex relations.[44]

Those who hold to this position on David and Jonathan may work from the theological foundation of Biblical infallibility and a more literalistic approach to exegesis, so that while interpretations are understood within the context of their particular literary genres, a wide range of metaphorical meanings of the historical narratives, in particular, are disallowed.[45][46][47][48] The disrobing aspect is seen as partial (especially in the Hebrew), that of his robe and outer garments, his sword, bow and "girdle," which denotes part of a soldiers armor in 2Samuel 20:8 and 2Kings 3:21. In addition, this action is evidenced as having a clear ceremonial precedent under Moses, in which God commanded, "And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son",[49] in transference of the office of the former upon the latter.

In like manner, Jonathan would be symbolically and prophetically transferring the kingship of himself (as the normal heir) to David, which would come to pass.[50][51][52]

Even if the mention of "nakedness" in 1 Samuel 20:30 could be interpreted to convey a negative sexual nuance, this could be referring to Ahinoam rather than Jonathan.

Jon Levenson and Baruch Halpern suggest that the phrase suggests "David's theft of Saul's wife", and that the verse supports the construction that Ahinoam, the wife of Saul is the same Ahinoam who became David's wife.[53]

In platonic respects, such as in sacrificial loyalty and zeal for the kingdom, Jonathan's love is seen as surpassing that of romantic or erotic affection,[54] especially that of the women David had known up until that time. The grammatical and social difficulties are pointed out in respect to 1 Samuel 18:21,[55] as well as the marked difference in the Bible between sensual kissing (as in Song of Songs) and the cultural kiss of Near Eastern culture whether in greeting or as expression of deep affection between friends and family (as found throughout the Old and New Testaments).

[56] The strong emotive language expressed by David towards Jonathan is also argued to be akin to that of platonic expressions in more expressive or pre-urban cultures.[57]

Frantz, February 15 2011, 11:46 PM

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