Gay Couples In The Bible -
Now There's An Interesting Thought!

Gay couples in the Bible is a subject about which there is much dispute. When many gay people read the Bible they see gay couples that heterosexuals miss.

Michelangelo's David

Here are four of the most famous couples in scripture, whom many people believe were gay. And just for your edification, we include another gay guy - the FIRST individual in the New Testament recorded as getting saved by grace through faith - the Ethiopian eunuch.

My personal opinion is that there is probably not enough factual information about Naomi and Ruth or Daniel and Ashpenaz, to thoughtfully conclude that they were gay couples. I list them here because some people believe they were gay. The Link for Ruth and Naomi does present some interesting material which thinking Christians should consider.

  1. David and Jonathan in I Samuel 18.

  2. Ruth and Naomi in Ruth 1. This Link will open in a new page.

  3. Daniel and Ashpenaz in Daniel 1.

  4. The Centurion and his beloved servant in Matthew 8.

  5. And here's a very likely gay man in the New Testament, the Ethiopian Eunuch.

Nongay Christians dispute that any of these Bible celebrities were gay. However, it seems unlikely that in a book like the Bible, which covers four thousand years of human history, that there would be absolutely no gay people. Even the most vocal anti-gay Christians cannot prove that assertion. In any case, let’s look at what some view as the most famous gay couple in scripture and see if the Bible gives additional insight.

Gay Couples In The Bible - David’s Intense Sorrow At Jonathan’s Death Indicates They Were More Than Platonic Friends

“And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul’s sons.” I Samuel 31:2.

“Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.” II Samuel 1:11-12.

It is impossible for every love story to have a happy ending.

Many nongay Christians insist there are no gay couples in the Bible. They read the story of David and Jonathan and conclude they were just platonic friends. Given the fervent pathos with which the Bible describes their relationship, the nongay Christian conclusion seems strangely lacking in spiritual discernment.

The Hermitage titles this painting, “David’s Farewell From Jonathan.”

Rembrandt painted this around 1660. The painting is in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Hermitage Museum.

Some art historians believe this painting depicts King David and his son Absalom being reconciled, not Jonathan and David.

When Jonathan and David parted company for the last recorded time in II Samuel 23:16-18, they undoubtedly believed they would be together again. It is possible they had numerous meetings between their last recorded meeting and Jonathan’s untimely death in battle against the Philistines, II Samuel 31:2. Yet scripture records no further meetings. Jonathan disappears from the narrative until his death in battle.

David has just returned from a military campaign against the Amalekites when he learns, from an Amalekite, of Jonathan’s death, II Samuel 1:1-5, 1:13. By this time, the bodies of Saul and his three sons, have been defiled and hung from the city wall of Bethshan, I Samuel 31:8-13.

Did the Philistines behead Saul as payback because David beheaded Goliath in I Samuel 17:51-54? David’s grief over the death of Saul and Jonathan is voiced in lamentation as David writes and sings his first Psalm recorded in scripture, II Samuel 1:19-27.

Is It Really Possible There Are Gay Couples In The Bible? Here Is David’s Emotional Public Eulogy - You Be The Judge

“Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places.

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.

How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!”

God Knew That Homosexuality Would Be Controversial

God has a wise purpose for everything He allows. Knowing the controversy homosexuality would cause in the modern church, God inspired Samuel to record David’s unambiguous statement about his loving partnership with Jonathan.
Jonathan Greeting David,
after David killed Goliath,
Gottfried Bernhard Goz, 1708-1774.

Do David’s unambiguous words about Jonathan support or deny the view that there are no gay couples in the Bible?

David’s words are so startlingly clear that many nongay Christians say to themselves,

"Gay couples in the Bible? He couldn’t possibly mean that, could he?"

To which gay Christians reply,

"Well, since David said it, he must have meant it. And since God quoted David in scripture it is definitely true!"

David’s character shines in his eulogy for Saul and Jonathan

Although Samuel anointed David King in I Samuel 16:13, some fifteen years earlier, David was content to wait for many years as God orchestrated circumstances to actually put him on the throne. Twice David could have killed Saul and seized the Kingdom. Both times David refused to harm the LORD’s anointed.

Now, with King Saul dead, David sorrows because for all his faults, Saul was Israel’s first King, anointed by God. David also sorrows because Israel has been defeated by enemies who should have been driven from the land hundreds of years earlier, in the original conquest, Joshua 13:2-3. And most of all, David sorrows because the greatest love of his life is gone. There will never be another love like Jonathan.

Gay couples in the Bible? David’s public mourning for Jonathan indicates his soldiers and all Israel knew the intensity of their intimate relationship

David and Jonathan’s loving, intimate relationship was public from beginning to end. If someone was objectively looking for gay couples in the Bible, it seems like David and Jonathan would leap off the page. Think about it. Jonathan could not have maintained a fifteen year, intimate relationship or visited David in his wilderness stronghold without willing cooperation from his and Saul’s soldiers, who covered for him, and from David’s soldiers, who insured Jonathan’s access to David.

David’s acknowledgment of his enormous loss is as public as their relationship.

Jonathan and David were the celebrity superstars of their day. Every action in battle, every word uttered in public, was subject matter for discussion. At the time David writes and sings this Psalm for Jonathan, he is married to at least three wives.

Yet scripture does not tell us David’s wives felt bitter jealousy when David publicly proclaimed Jonathan’s love more important, more fulfilling, surpassing the love of his wives. They felt David’s loss and grieved with him for Jonathan. David’s loving polygamous family shared his loss and his broken heart.

Gay Couples In The Bible? David’s Startling Comparison Only Makes Sense If Jonathan And David Were Intimate Partners

“my brother [‘ach] Jonathan [given by Jehovah]: very [meod] pleasant [na’em] hast thou been unto me: thy love [ahabah] to me was wonderful [pala’], passing the love [ahabah] of women [ishshah].” II Samuel 1:26.

We gain fascinating insight into David’s love for Jonathan from the words used in the Hebrew text.

David och Saul, by Julius Kronberg, 1850-1921.

Some gays believe Kronberg intended this painting to represent David and Jonathan, rather than David and Saul, as the title suggests. David’s public eulogy, in front of his soldiers, pays loving tribute to Jonathan, the partner given to him by Jehovah.

In the context of David’s statement, that Jonathan’s love surpassed the love of women, the Hebrew word ach emphasizes the reciprocal love Jonathan and David shared. If it looks like gay couples in the Bible, walks like gay couples in the Bible, talks like gay couples in the Bible, acts like gay couples in the Bible, then it probably is gay couples in the Bible!

That Hebrew word ach meaning "brother" reminded David’s army of the fifteen year partnership they facilitated between two men who planned to rule Israel together, I Samuel 23:17. Because there was nothing shameful or dishonorable about Jonathan and David’s love, David feels free to memorialize it in front of his army. When David remembers Jonathan, he is still entranced by their timeless love.

David emphasizes the pleasantness of their mutual love

by using the Hebrew word meod, meaning, exceeding abundantly. The Holy Spirit described Jonathan’s delight in David as hapes meod. David describes his love for Jonathan with the word meod. The Hebrew word translated pleasant is na’em, meaning pleasant, beautiful, sweet, delightful, lovely.

The Hebrew word for love is ahabah. It conveys the idea of romantic, sexual desire. The Hebrew word for wonderful is pala’ which conveys a sense of wondrous, surpassing, beyond one’s power to express, extraordinary. The love Jonathan demonstrated for David was so powerful, David the artistic poet-warrior of Israel has difficulty adequately describing it.

No Gay Couples In The Bible? Are You Absolutely Sure Of That?

If Jonathan and David were not a gay couple, why did David use the same word to describe Jonathan's love as he used to describe the love of his wives?

David preparing to fight Goliath.

Ahabah occurs twice in this passage, both times translated love.

David uses the same Hebrew word to describe Jonathan’s love as he uses to describe the love of his wives.

That is important because it goes to the whole point of the Jonathan and David relationship. David was an eyewitness, a participant. He was personally involved in this intimate, romantic, 15 year, sexual relationship.

The same word that describes Jonathan’s love for David also describes the love of David’s wives for David.

How could God and David and the human authors of scripture make it any more clear? David and Jonathan were committed, romantic, intimate, long-term sexual partners.

David speaks of Jonathan’s ahabah for him and compares it with the ahabah of his wives. The Hebrew word for women is ishshah, meaning wife, married to a man, translated wife 425 times in the KJV or meaning woman, in contrast to a man, translated woman 324 times in the KJV.

Gay Couples In The Bible? David is memorializing far more than nonsexual friendship when he sings of Jonathan’s incredible love for him.

Are you gay or lesbian? Do you have a friend or family member who is gay or lesbian? Did it ever occur to you that God placed this story in the Bible to affirm His blessing on committed, faithful, noncultic gay and lesbian relationships? Pray about that for a while.

God loves His gay and lesbian children and He did NOT leave us without affirmation of our relationships. David, the greatest hero of the Old Testament and a wonderful type of Christ is presented in scripture as a same sex attracted man who intimately loved another man.

And David sings his eulogy in public, accompanying himself on his harp, in front of his hard-charging, testerone-laden, Philistine-fighting, army of mighty men!

He is comparing the romantic, emotional, sexual love he experienced with Jonathan to the romantic, emotional, sexual love he experienced with his wives.

And his army does not desert him. No one trots out Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, divorces them from their context of shrine prostitution and insists to the grieving King that gay relationships are wrong.

In the ancient near Eastern cultural context, men did not enjoy intimate, nonsexual friendships with women to whom they were not related by consaguinity [blood relationship] or affinity [marriage relationship].

David’s analogy, comparing Jonathan’s love for him to the love of his wives, is a strong public statement of the intimate, romantic, emotional, sexual nature of David and Jonathan’s relationship.

After reading the Jonathan and David story as God the Holy Spirit presents it in scripture, it is difficult for any honest Christian to conclude that there are no gay couples in the Bible.

Nongay Christians, Complementarians and most traditionalists utterly reject the possibility that David’s eulogy for Jonathan has any sexual implications. When we consider David’s words, there are seven possible meanings.

These Links Contain Additional Helpful Information

Click here to explore the seven meanings and their implications for your personal beliefs about David and Jonathan.

The amazing love story of Jonathan and David is the greatest human love story in the Bible.

Jesus identified the sin of Sodom and it was not homosexuality.

The Babylonian Talmud has a lot to say about Sodom but never mentions homosexuality.

What was a sodomite in the Bible? Was it a homosexual, as many conservative preachers insist or was a sodomite in the Bible always a shrine prostitute who worshipped the Canaanite fertility goddess?

Speaking of Analogies, Here are Five More, Strong Analogies in Scripture, for Affirming Gay Partnerships.

You’ve read about Gay Couples In The Bible. Click Here To Return To Gay Christian Home Page.

In Gay Christian 101: Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay Christians, I list 18 possible ways to interpret the Levitical Holiness Code, where it is alleged to deal with homosexuality.

Family Values in the Bible are so different from Traditional family values as taught by Focus On The Family that modern Christians would totally reject the "family values" practiced by Abraham and Sarah, Ruth and Boaz and many of the heroes of faith in the Old Testament.

Did you know that Christians are not required to keep the Old Testament Law to be right with God?

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