Jonathan Loved David - God Makes That Clear In The Bible

David and his deadly sling.

The Bible tells us, Jonathan Loved David.

The same Hebrew Words used to describe opposite sex love are used to describe Jonathan and David’s same sex love.

Jonathan loved David with an unquenchable, everlasting love, which caused them to form a lifelong covenant and partnership.

This much we know from the witness of the Holy Spirit in the text of scripture. The Hebrew words God uses to describe the Jonathan and David relationship indicate romantic, life-long, covenant, committed love.

The Hebrew word "ahab" or "ahabah"

The Hebrew word ahab, used to describe how Jonathan loved David, occurs 208 times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament.

It is translated love in the KJV 169 times and occurs in our story in 1 Samuel 16:21, 18:1, 3, 16, 20, 20:17 and II Samuel 1:26.

The Holy Spirit used ahab in Genesis 29:20 to describe Jacob's love for his wife Rachel and in Song of Solomon 3:1-4, to describe the love of the Shunamite girl for Solomon.

The love of the Shulamite girl for Solomon is described as coming from her nephesh-soul, just as Jonathan’s love for David sprang from his nephesh-soul. Scripture uses ahabah to describe sexual love in the context of opposite sex marriage in Proverbs 5:19.

Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon defines ahab as:

  1. “Human love for a human object, including:

    love of man toward man,

  2. love of man toward himself,

  3. love between man and woman,

  4. love as sexual desire.”

How can we determine if ahab, when describing how Jonathan loved David, refers to romantic love and love as sexual desire between two men?

Context gives us insight because the way ahab is translated depends on context. In I Samuel 16:21, ahab is used of Saul’s love for David. Nothing in the context indicates romantic, sexual attraction between Saul and David. Therefore we conclude ahab refers to non-romantic love between David and King Saul.

David when a young man, killed a lion that attacked his flock.

In I Samuel 18:16, ahab is used of the love of all Israel and Judah for David.

Nothing in the context indicates romantic, sexual attraction between Israel, Judah and David. Therefore we conclude ahab refers to non-romantic love in this usage.

In I Samuel 18:20, where Michal is said to love David, it is universally believed that ahab refers to the romantic, sexual love of Princess Michal for David. The Hebrew word for love-ahab, has not changed.

What has changed is the context. The Hebrew word ahab in I Samuel 18:20 refers to the love of a woman for a man, both of whom eventually form a marriage partnership.

God Did Not Use These Hebrew Words By Accident.

How then are we to understand the use of ahab in I Samuel 18:1-3, 20:17 and II Samuel 1:26, where it describes how Jonathan loved David, in the context of a fifteen year, intimate partnership? Jonathan loved David as fully, as intimately as any man ever loved a woman.

In this context, does ahab signify romantic or nonromantic love? The mutual love of Jonathan and David is described more fully than any other human love story in the Bible.

God contrasts Jonathan and David’s love story with the story of Michal and David. Although David eventually marries Michal, making him, in Saul’s words, his "son in law in the two" [Jonathan and Michal] I Samuel 18:21, scripture is careful never to tell us that David loved Princess Michal. David and Michal’s barren marriage is presented more as political alliance than love match.

Scripture notes that David was pleased to become the King’s son in law instead of telling us David was pleased to marry Michal. David’s wholehearted love was reserved for Jonathan. God makes it clear in scripture how much Jonathan loved David.

The fact that God used Hebrew words like ahab and qashar to describe Jonathan and David’s relationship is a subtle clue indicating that homosexual relationships are affirmed, blessed and sanctified by God.

Jonathan loved David and God emphasized that fact in the Bible so that everyone for all eternity would know that God affirmed their relationship.

Since God does nothing by accident, Hebrew word usage by the Holy Spirit is not accidental. Many Christians understand the Jonathan and David story as God’s message of inclusion, planted in scripture almost three thousand years ago.

In telling the true story of how much David loved Jonathan, God has a strong, affirming message for gays and lesbians and for the church about the sanctity of committed gay relationships which are within the Biblical moral framework - committed, faithful and noncultic.

The Hebrew Word "qashar"

David playing his harp. Some believe the reclining figure is King Saul while others believe the reclining figure is David's partner, Jonathan.

The Hebrew word qashar, is translated in English as knit. So, scripture tells us, “the soul of Jonathan was (qashar) knit with the (nephesh) soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own (nephesh) soul.” I Samuel 18:1.

Qashar-knit, when linked with nephesh-soul, as here, refers to romantic love. Nephesh conveys the idea of soul, self, life, desire, emotion, passion.

In this context, nephesh-soul refers to the seat of emotions and passions while qashar-knit describes an activity which involves the mind and the will. Jonathan and David made a conscious decision to act on their mutual love and become a couple.

Psalm 114, Played On An Ancient, Jewish Temple Lyre Harp

Perhaps King David himself wrote this music. The sound is probably similar to how David's harp playing sounded.

This video is 2 minutes long.

When the nephesh-soul of Jonathan is qashar-knit, bound, tied to the nephesh-soul of David, we have a strong statement from the Holy Spirit, the ultimate Author of scripture, about the intense romantic, emotional attachment which bound these men together. Truly Jonathan loved David.

When used of physical objects, the word qashar means to tie physically. When used of incorporeal souls, as here, qashar-knit indicates emotional and romantic attachment.

Thus we see how God used the Hebrew language to demonstrate that the way Jonathan loved David is as pure, holy and Godly as opposite sex relationships.

Helpful Links to additional information.

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 so we would know that God blesses and sanctifies gay relationships which are within the Biblical moral framework - committed, faithful, noncultic.

God sometimes uses Analogy to teach us His will. Here are four Excellent Analogies in Scripture, for Affirming Gay Partnerships.

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

You’ve read about Jonathan and David. Click Here To Return To Gay Christian Home Page.

The subject of Jonathan loved David is covered in much greater detail in our New Book, Gay Christian 101 - Spiritual Self-Defense For Gay Christians. Click Here for more information.

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