Were David and Jonathan Homosexuals?

Image result for david and jonathanSome have read a homoerotic relationship between David and Jonathan. Key verses that seem to support this interpretation:

“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” ‭‭1 Sam ‭18:1‬ ‭

“Then they kissed each other and wept together…” ‭‭1 Sam ‭20:41‬b

“Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.” ‭‭2 Sam‬ ‭1:26‬b

While it is true that David and Jonathan had a close friendship, it does not mean it was a homosexual one. There must be possibility for non-sexual friendship. Anton Marco writes that those who “virtually deny the possibility that true non-sexual intimacy can exist between persons of the same gender…would almost deny the possibility of the existence of true friendship.” Why must same gender friendship lead to homosexual love?

The terms “of being fond of” or “soul knitted together” has been used in other instances of the Old Testament without any sexual connotations. For example, Gen 44:30 says the soul of Jacob was bound with his son Benjamin. It does not imply a homosexual relationship but a close one. Timothy J. Dailey notes: “The Hebrew  word חָפֵץ (chaphets)  used  means “joy of the heart”;  it is never used  in the Hebrew Bible  to denote sexuality.” David and Jonathan simply enjoyed a genuine deep friendship where their emotions were closely intertwined. Robert Gagnon also notes that the language of love had a political slant; Jonathan was passing the kingship to David. It reflected the love between a suzerain and vassal as seen in treaties. 

Finally, revisionists neglect the culture of the Middle East which has customs of kissing as a form of greeting and friendship. David and Jonathan did not share a romantic or erotic kiss but a customary act of affection. Other examples of kissing with no sexual connotation include Jacob kissing Isaac (Gen 27:26) or Esau kissing Jacob (Gen 33:4).


Timothy J. Dailey, The Bible, the Church & Homosexuality, 6.

Anton N. Marco, “‘Gay Theology’ and ‘Gay Rights:’ ‘Biblical Bedfellows’ or Unholy Alliance?” Social Justice Review, March–April 1996, 39.

Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 148.

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