2 Samuel 1:26, Was King David Gay?

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.

//This is a long-standing debate, and while I don’t pretend to have the answer, I will weigh in with my guess after presenting some of the verses Bible readers point to.

1 Samuel 18:1, After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. (NIV)

1 Samuel 19:1, And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. (RSV)

1 Samuel 20:30, Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and 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? (RSV)

The ambiguity of these passages is evident. The problem, of course, is that homosexuality is a sin in the Bible. Leviticus 20:13 states this plainly: If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death. This new law was recorded hundreds of years after David lived, and as such, the law could not have impacted its past, but it could have impacted the time in which the scriptures were written down! At the time the stories of David were collated into scripture, a definite anti-gay bias existed, and this may have affected how the stories were presented. The language may have been purposefully toned down.

I promised my own guess, and it’s this: David should not be called gay. As best I can tell, there simply was no clear distinction at the time he lived; no designation of gays or straights, simply a sliding scale of preference, and everybody fell somewhere on that scale. How gay sex grew into such an abomination in the eyes of Israel’s later lawmakers, I don’t know.



  1. mike hernandez

    It today’s world, David would have been called Gay. Yes or No?

    • David was not gay. He was a Holy King, and would not have been chosen as the apple of God’s eye if he were gay. Homosexuality always was and always will be an abomination to God. Homosexualtiy was first mentioned in the book of Genesis, when the men of the city of Sodom preferred to have sex with the male angels than over Lots daughters. It was a sin then, a sin in David and Jonathan’s time, and a sin now. God has never chosen abominable leaders, and never will. David was NOT gay. Jonathan and David were best friends. They shared a deep brotherly love for one another. Nobody on earth had David’s back the way Jonathan did. Jonathan betrayed his own father to help protect David. David appreciated and cherished this in Jonathan. This friendship had no jealousy, no fight for the throne, no selfish love. It was genuine, and for people to use this to say Homosexuality is okay because David was gay is beyond a misinterpretation of scripture. It is ridiculous.

      • Lee Harmon

        Mary, thanks for contributing! While there are two places in scripture that teach against homosexuality, Genesis is not one of them. That is a fallacy that we all need to discard. Here is the Biblical reason Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed:


        • If you mean because they didn’t help the poor or whatever you are only a little right. Not helping the poor isn’t considered a sin that God calls “very grave” in Genesis 18:20. To say those two cities didn’t have homosexuals in it is blind. That wanted to know the men (angles) carnally. Something similar is mentioned in judges too. It is condemned plain and simple in the bible.

          • Lee Harmon

            Of course the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had homosexuals in them. What city doesn’t? I’m merely pointing out that that wasn’t why God destroyed them in the Bible. BTW, helping the poor was a major focus of Jesus’ ministry, whereas correcting sexual preferences held no interest for him, so let’s get our priorities right…ignoring the needy is a much graver sin than loving someone.

  2. Lee Harmon

    Your opinion is a good as mine, Mike! The text is pretty ambiguous, at least for me.

  3. The biblical word wor sexual union is “knowing” , why misconstrue. It never says David knew jonathon, people in this modern era are sick.you confuse your readers with trash.

    • Know refers to sex between a man and a woman. It doesn’t doesn’t use that term for other sexual activities.

    • Your right. People think intimacy equals sexuality. They had a deep friendship, brotherly love. This sex crazed society sees even the most innocent thing as sexually. Their minds are the problem.

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