David and Jonathan
Passages in 1 Samuel & 2 Samuel describe, among other events, a extremely close bond between David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of King Saul, and next in line for the throne. But Samuel anointed David to be the next king. This produced a strong conflict in the mind of Saul.
Interpretation: Religious conservatives generally view the friendship of David and Jonathan as totally non-sexual. They find it inconceivable that God would allow a famous king of Israel to be a homosexual.
Some religious liberals believe that David and Jonathan had a consensual homosexual relationship - in many ways, a prototype of many of today's gay partnerships. 7 Some important verses which describe their relationship are: 1 Samuel 18:1
", Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself." (NIV)
", the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (KJV)
Most translations use the term "soul" rather than "spirit" to describe the bond. They speak of an "immediate bond of love", their souls being "in unison," their souls being "knit", etc. Genesis 2:7, as written in the original Hebrew, describes how God blew the spirit into the body of Adam that God had formed from earth, so that Adam became a living soul. This means that "soul", in the ancient Israelite times, represents a combination of body and spirit. Thus the two men appear to have loved each other both physically and emotionally.
1 Samuel 18:2
"From that day, Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father's house." (NIV)
David left his parent's home and moved to Saul's where he would be with Jonathan. This is a strong indication that the relationship was extremely close. It echoes the passage marriage passage in Genesis 2:24: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
1 Samuel 18:3-4
"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." (NIV)
Since people in those days did not wear underwear, Jonathan stripped himself Unclad in front of David. That would be considered extremely unusual behavior (then and now) unless their relationship was physical.
1 Samuel 18:20-21
"Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 'I will give her to him', he thought, 'so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him'. Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law" (NIV)
In the King James Version, the end of Verse 21 reads:
"Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the one of the twain." (KJV)
Saul's belief was that David would be so distracted by a wife that he would not be an effective fighter and would be killed by the Philistines. He offered first his daughter Merab, but that was rejected, presumably by her. Then he offered Michal. There is an interesting phrase used at the end of verse 21. In both the NIV and KJV, it would seem that David's first opportunity to be a son-in-law was with the older daughter Merab, and his second was with the younger daughter Michal. The KJV preserves the original text in its clearest form; it implies that David would become Saul's son-in-law through "one of the twain." "Twain" means "two", so the verse seems to refer to one of Saul's two daughters. Unfortunately, this is a mistranslation. The underlined phrase "the one of" does not exist in the Hebrew original. The words are shown in italics in the King James Version; this is an admission by the translators that they made the words up. Thus, if the KJV translators had been truly honest, they would have written:
"Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the twain."
In modern English, this might be written: "Today, you are son-in-law with two of my children" That would refer to both his son Jonathan and his daughter Michal. The Hebrew original would appear to recognize David and Jonathan's homosexual relationship as equivalent to David and Michal's heterosexual marriage. Saul may have approved or disapproved of the same-sex relationship; but at least he appears to have recognized it. The KJV highlight their re-writing of the Hebrew original by placing the three words in italics; the NIV translation is clearly deceptive.
1 Samuel 20:41
"After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with is face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together - but David wept the most." (NIV)
Other translations have a different ending to the verse: ", and they kissed one another and wept with one another, until David exceeded." (KJV)
", and they kissed one another and wept with one another until David got control of himself." (Amplified Bible)
"and they sadly shook hands, tears running down their cheeks until David could weep no more." (Living Bible)
"They kissed each other and wept together until David got control of himself." (Modern Language)
"They kissed each other and wept aloud together." (New American Bible)
"Then David and Jonathan kissed each other. They cried together, but David cried the most." (New Century Version)
"Then they kissed one another and shed tears together, until David's grief was even greater than Jonathan's." (Revised English Bible)
", and they kissed one another and wept with one another until David recovered himself." (Revised Standard Version)
The translators of the Living Bible apparently could not handle the thought of two adult men kissing, so they mistranslated the passage by saying that the two men shook hands! This is somewhat less than honest. The original Hebrew text says that they kissed each other and wept together until David became great. The word which means "great" in this passage is "gadal" in the original Hebrew. The same word is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures to refer to King Solomon being greater than all other kings. Some theologians interpret "gadal" in this verse as indicating that David had an Attention. However, the thoughts of David becoming sexually excited after kissing Jonathan may have been too threatening for Bible translators. They either deleted the ending entirely or created one of their own.
2 Samuel 1:26
"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."
In the society of ancient Israel, it was not considered proper for a man and woman to have a platonic relationship. Men and women rarely spoke to each other in public. Since David's only relationships with women would have been sexual in nature, then he must be referring to sexual love here. It would not make sense in this verse to compare platonic love for a man with sexual love for a woman; they are two completely different phenomena. It would appear that David is referring to his sexual love for Jonathan.
Culled from http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bmar.htm