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.

          • are there male and female angels?

          • Angels disguised as men.

            The home owner had no idea they were angels, only that they were male guests and the story reflects how treating those better than your own female family members was righteous/good/virtuous/etc. in the culture of the bible at that time.

            To use Sodom and Gomorrah as anti-gay propaganda is literally saying that raping a woman is better than consensual gay sex, which can’t possibly be right.

            If you just read, the cities had become awful places with numerous sinful acts and destruction was coming, period. The angels were sent as observers. One way or another they were going to find out how awful a place it was.

            This instance is only one form of the undeniable truth of how awful the cities had become. God wouldn’t have been pleased if they had just settled on raping the women, murdering the home-owner, or selling him stolen VCRs.

            Giving up the valuable virginity of his daughters was the sacrifice that had proven (as an aside) Lott was a good person living in this awful city.

            The fact a man was willing to make a sacrifice to protect guests in his home, was proof he was a good person. This storyline wasn’t needed to show the city was bad because of butt-stuff. That could have been shown any number of ways. This particular scene was needed to show Lott was undeniably good. They could have burned the house down but you need Lott for the next scene, where his wife turns around.

            There were almost certainly other good people who died that day, besides Lott’s wife. Which makes it a morality story about inevitable collateral damage in a just war.

            The salt represents complete destruction and inability to regrow. Which is why the future of his family now fell to his daughers. Which genetically, incest for one generation is not likely to result in the birth defects that make incest taboo.

            It is frequent in the bible, especially woth Adam and Eve, if interpreted literally.

            Also, thr idea God needs angels to see inside a city, is exactly like how God couldn’t find Adam and Eve to know if they had eaten fruit without walking into the garden and seeing them himself, in his corporal form. People are unwilling to trust their own thinking. They believe God is omnipotent simply because they were told to think that. Despite the bible showing clearly, God is not omnipotent. I am not saying believe everything in the bible; the take away is, think for yourself. Just because someone said Soddom and Gomorrah is about gay sex being so awful everyone in your city dies because of it, doesn’t make it so.

          • God made each of us as we are. If David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship it was as god made it to be. It was not the “fault” of either David or Jonathan.

            Nowhere does it say in the Bible that homosexuality is an “abomination”. No where.

        • You are sadly mistaken God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis for them being sexually immoral you need to read it it plainly states why God destroyed it the men of the town seen who entered lots house and they wanted lot to send them out so they could sleep with them that is plainly men wanting to have sex with med you are mistaken and do not know scripture

        • Jacob I.

          You’re in a conversation about the Bible and homosexuality and someone says to you, “God didn’t punish Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality. He punished them for inhospitality, promiscuity, and sexual violence.” What would you say?

          In the book of Genesis, God sent angels in the form of men to visit the town of Sodom and the home of a man named Lot. When the men in the town learned about the visitors, they descended on Lot’s house and attempted to rape the visitors. Soon after, Sodom was destroyed. For millennia, this story has been understood as a story about God’s punishment of sin. Including the sin of homosexuality. In fact, the word sodomy comes from the town of Sodom. But some now argue that this story has been misunderstood. They claim that God’s punishment of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality, but was instead punishment for inhospitality or promiscuity. If you hear this argument, here are a couple of things to remember.

          First, the context of Genesis makes the meaning of the Sodom story clear. In Genesis 19:5, we read that the men of Sodom said, “Bring them out to us, that we may KNOW them.” Here, the Hebrew word YADA is translated “to know” which is understood to mean to have sex. But some now claim that this is a mistake. They suggest that “to know” has a platonic meaning. Now here’s the problem with this argument. Just a few verses later, Lot uses the same word “YADA” in Genesis 19:8, “I have two daughters who have not KNOWN a man.” Now, this can’t possibly mean that Lot’s daughters hadn’t MET a man before because the same chapter tells us that Lot’s daughters were engaged. It’s clear that the phrase “to know” (YADA) is being used in a sexual sense to say that they were virgins. Now in light of how the word YADA is used elsewhere in Genesis 19, it’s not reasonable to suggest that the men of Sodom were just “looking to chat” with the visitors. Their intentions were clear and God didn’t like it.

          Second, other scripture confirms the connection between Sodom and homosexuality. Some claim that references to the story of Sodom in other parts of the Bible don’t mention homosexuality. Suggesting that it isn’t really part of the story. For evidence, they cite the prophet Ezekiel who said the following when talking to Israel, “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49).” There’s no mention of homosexuality in this quote. Does this mean that God was ONLY angered by their lack of generosity? No! And here’s how we know. One verse later, Ezekiel says about Sodom that quote, “They were haughty and DID AN ABOMINATION before me (Ezekiel 16:50).” The phrase “did an abomination”, is a direct reference to Leviticus 20:13 where this exact phrase originated as part of a direct condemnation of homosexual behavior. It says, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” Rather than distance the story of Sodom from homosexuality, Ezekiel actually makes a direct connection. Whether someone cares what the Bible says about anything is a separate issue. But on the issue of homosexuality, the biblical position is clear and consistent.

          So next time someone tells you that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has nothing to do with homosexuality, remember these 2 things…

          1. The context of Genesis makes the meaning of the Sodom story clear.
          2. Other scripture confirms the connection between Sodom and homosexuality.

      • Martie565

        Mary, David was an adulterer, and a murderer as well. Yet god still chose him. Is being gay (well, bi-sexual in Davids case) less evil than murdering someone because he wanted the guys’ wife?

      • David was GAY im sorry to tell you that but he was clearly a homosexual back then there was no tv,radio games to play these ppl in the bible were some of the first ppl to start communication between ppl and to keep record PROTECT large groups of ppl in wat we would consider to be hell on earth at that time “Religion” and the belief in there’re God was all thru had and hopes for a better day Government’s have been cashing in off “Religion” because it does one major thing they could not do without it MOTIVATES the troops to fight

        • “..surpassing the love of women.”, is pointing to agape love. And yes, agape love surpasses eros/romantic love. David shared a love like Jesus with Jonathan. People are really missing the mark on this one. This verse is pointing to Jesus not pointing to acceptance of homosexuality!! End of debate.

        • You don’t understand brotherly love ! Jesus demonstrated brotherly love to the disciples! Humility and gentleness and sacrificial love ! He showed them especially Peter who was arrogant and prideful he had many struggles with his ego ! David at the the time had King Saul pursing him he was arrogant prideful and jealous! He also abused his son Johathan by yelling at him You son of a perverse rebellious women 1 Samuel 20 :30 Johnathan was being told your Mom is a whore and a traitor and he was saying the same insult to his own son Johnathan ! ! All King Saul cared about was his throne and in his wicked paranoia he thought David was stealing his throne ! He even threw a javelin to kill David in a rage of jealousy! Johnathan saw and secretly helped David to escape he gave David his robe and armor ! He gave it all ! David was overwhelmed by his kindness They made a covenant of friendship he honored David. Johnathan knew in his heart that David will be the king and not him . David was touched by his kindness and loyalty! David was a man after Gods own heart I Samuel 13:14 David was apart of Gods he was an ancestor of Jesus ! Jesus also declares the Throne of David Luke 1:32 David was talking about Christs love ! God is love 1 John 4:7 Homosexuality is lust an abomination in Gods eyes ! God would not have chosen David to be king .That is perverting Jesus’s legacy !

      • Onyx Woodard

        Honey God can use anybody rather good or bad. The fact you say God wouldn’t have choosen is like putting a limit on who he deals with despite what he say in the good book. Might be a test for those who think like you. I’m not gay but i know for a fact Gods love is endless i seen it myself and by the way, the way we sin is measured by scale “well since you did this sin you’re in bigger trouble then me – i only lied” but the way God might see it is a sin is a sin including judgement especially when its not your place when you’re suppose to just love. Remember why you were created…

      • Charles

        This comment is to Mary….Yes this comment is 3 years late and I don’t care! LOL Mary first of all spiritual ignorance is what will get people like you into trouble!

        FIRST OF ALL: You sound REALLY DUMB saying that God would not have chosen David as the apple of his eye if he were gay????? REALLY? God CHOSE David, because he saw something special in him despite his shortcomings. Have you forgotten that David put Uriah on the front line to have him killed in order to be with Bathsheba…..and yet the commandment says that “That thou shall not kill” Homosexuality has basically gotten footnote mentions in the bible vs. an actual commandment.

        Also note that the real reason Sodom and Gamorrah got destroyed was due to their wickedness and NOT homosexuality. The city was of one of greed, black magic sorcery, they were sacrificing children and participating in sexual rituals. It is also a sin to OFFEND a host. It is known that David and Jonathan souls were tied, if his Spirit became ONE with David that of course it meant that they were physical and had a sexual and intimate relationship with one another…what happens when you have sex with someone???You become ONE with them.

        YOU also need to educate yourself regarding bible translations and the history of how the bible started (council of nicea) and perhaps that will proclive you if you so choose to seek God for yourself vs. Man’s interpretation and “self proclaimed” Men of God.

        • Brotherly love mate? dnt u get it. I would die for u man,i wil sacrafice the warmth and love of my wife to fight alongside u in any tribulation against the adversary! The love we have between eachother is GODLY! U are my brother not my wife!

          • If you forsake the love of your wife for that of only a man, than you commit a great sin, absolve yourself not with your desperate efforts.

        • Sorry, but the bible never holds back when it comes to mention ones sins and short-comings.
          You just interpret that David and Jonathan were gay, because you want them to be, but the bible never says it. Where does it say that being one in spirit means to have sex with each other?
          Love is more than sex, Jesus never had sex, but loved all people, and our society today perverts real love for living out lusts, no matter how, when and with whom.

          With what is written in the Holy Scripture, there is no basis to think David and Jonathan were gay. More so, because their souls were pure before God, they could love each other, but not in the perverted way everyone wants it to be, but close to how Jesus loves us. And that’s the real love. As Jesus said, the one who would die for his friends, has real love.

        • Sorry, but the bible never holds back when it comes to mention ones sins and short-comings.
          You just interpret that David and Jonathan were gay, because you want them to be, but the bible never says it. Where does it say that being one in spirit means to have sex with each other?
          Love is more than sex, Jesus never had sex, but loved all people, and our society today perverts real love for living out lusts, no matter how, when and with whom.

          With what is written in the Holy Scripture, there is no basis to think David and Jonathan were gay. More so, because their souls were pure before God, they could love each other, but not in the perverted way everyone wants it to be, but close to how Jesus loves us. And that’s the real love. As Jesus said, the one who would die for his friends, has real love.

        • Spencer

          Look while technically I agree with Mary I do agree her argument was not good it was based on emotion and overly simplified ideas. However your argument is also terrible and overly simplified you use way to much emotion to quote the bible “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
          Matthew 7:3
          It definitely describes the love as brotherly.

      • Abomination as is used in the Leviticus text does not mean what it means today. Back then, the word abomination referred to the mixing of cultures. In the pagan world, people would go to temples of false gods and have homosexual sex in devotion to those gods. Since God wanted to separate the Israelites from the pagans, He referred to it as an “abomination.” We know that abomination means a mixing of cultures because if you read your Bible, we see that in the sorry when Joseph was sold into slavery and finally rises to the top of the Egyptian government and he reveals himself to his brothers, the Bible says that he went to eat with his brothers. However, the Bible notes, the other Egyptians would not eat with them because it was an “abomination” (that’s the exact word used in the KJV translation). Surely that doesn’t mean it’s sinful to eat with Joseph and his brothers. Deuteronomy 14:3 also lists certain foods as an “abomination,” even though we know from the New Testament that no food is sinful. The Biblical meaning of abomination is not the same as it is today, so the whole “abomination” argument is not a good one in terms of homosexuality.

      • First of all, who are you to tell people how they should believe??? Second of all, you’re misinterpreting the scripture because what happened to James 4:12 “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?”.

      • How do you know,where you there,

      • So I’m an abomination to my God then

      • Couldn’t agree more. They were best buddies. Plain and simple. Those not abiding in Christ cannot understand this and look for worldly explanations when the Godly one doesn’t fit the narrative.

      • No person is free of sin, if we were to condemn people for having sinned, we all would be guilty, despite our sin we are made pure through Jesus Christ. The word homosexual was not actually quite invented until way after the Bible was written. And if a man loves a man, the relationship is pure, if the Bible condemns homosexuality, than having a loving relationship with a man without sexual action is therefore not a sin, a sin does not make the person.

      • No person is free of sin, if we were to condemn people for having sinned, we all would be guilty, despite our sin we are made pure through Jesus Christ. The word homosexual was not actually quite invented until way after the Bible was written. And if a man loves a man, the relationship is pure, if the Bible condemns homosexuality, than having a loving relationship with a man without sexual action is therefore not a sin, a sin does not make the person.

      • Lol ok Mary

      • Buster they are gay, also news flash bucko being gay ain’t a sin. God says to “love thy neighbor” or some shit like that, so don’t be a homophobic bitch ok :) also god says something like how he loves all his children which 1 is pretty gay 😉 and 2 means that if god is real it means he loves his children who are gay or trans as well. Once again please stop being a piece of shit. :)

      • If being gay is so bad then why are so many gay people. Also it isn’t something someone chooses to be they just are, so if it wasn’t voluntary. Then god makes people that way. To add you can’t compare that to people who are mentally ill (homicidal). Being gay doesn’t harm anyone and as far as I know all the sins in the Bible are sins. Because they have something to do with harming others, being homosexual does not harm anyone. So just mind your business.

      • Naomi H Carter

        I totally agree. People that use that kind of logic are the same people that say Jesus had sex with Mary M. He did not.

      • Keep telling yourself that!

      • kill yourself and cope homophobe

      • Your a joke and good job passing judgement. Isn’t that God’s job.ignorant idiot

      • Eddie Otworth

        Amen brother

      • I agree

      • Not what it says, or the scripture is flawed. Can’t make assumptions to fix what has been written

      • But it was okay that he was a murderer?

      • Wow. Never before is it so obvious why the Bible says not to allow women to teach spiritual matters. It’s krap like that which has destroyed the academic reputation of the church. David & Jonathan were involved in a pederastic relationship which was common in Greek culture & many others. It WAS sexual and contrary to what people who are to lazy to learn to read Hebrew say – it was NOT forbidden by the Torah. The specific ACT forbidden between men is AnalSex (every Rabbi knows this). This also explains why the Torah has no prohibition against women laying with woman. Some people say that Romans 1 forbids it. It doesn’t. Paul’s writing uses the Torah as it’s foundation. Romans 1 forbids women having anal sex with MEN (putting aside the natural use) & parallels it with men having Analsex – the specific prohibition of Lev 18:22.

      • But why was it written like this then?

      • It’s crazy how you stand for someone and something you don’t even know

      • God made each of us as we are. If David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship it was as god made it to be. It was not the “fault” of either David or Jonathan.

        Nowhere does it say in the Bible that homosexuality is an “abomination”. No where.

    • King David was not gay and neither was Jonathan. What they had between them was a deep friendship and nothing more.

      • Charles

        I’m sorry but people always want to claim like they know. Were you there to know that they weren’t gay. You have to be able to discern the truth by what you read, and when reading the bible you have to understand that nothing is possible and EVERYTHING is left open to interpretation! To me it’s common sense!

        If the story of David and Jonathan is documented the way it is IT IS because people of that time Im sure thought it to be peculiar that two men LOVED each other so much. They LOVED each other and it shows, but do we know what happens when they are alone or behind closed doors…NO we don’t.

        • Then why starting to interpret things, if we haven’t all the facts, as you say.
          Taken everything that is written in the bible, and nothing more, David and Jonathan weren’t gay. The bible doesn’t say so, and therefore we shouldn’t interpret the words according to our todays logic.

          Btw if you don’t believe the bible is God’s word but only man’s thoughts, then we shouldn’t discuss about such things.

          • By saying that one has prepared a delicious meal indicates that the commentator has taken the food.If Jonathan’s love for David was much more than that of women and what a women does to a man in love with her is known, then, David can be rightly said to be gay.

        • CalvinismKills

          It’s obvious they had a “gay” relationship. But but but… leviticus! A tiny verse likely ripped out of context. The word “gay” or homosexual didn’t exist back then. For God’s sake Jonathan got naked in front of David!
          Hello? I mean a greeting kiss between males wouldn’t necessarily be uncustomary between men but they kissed and wept profusely. That is different. But King Saul under an evil spirit used gay slurs on Jonathan over choosing David. It’s obvious they had a “gay” relationship! The ridiculous mental and verbal gymnastics used to explain the relationship between them as mere strong close but not quite gay friendship is ludicrous. David thought Jonathan’s love was better than woman? Come on! But but but Paul in Romans 1! Paul who is head of most of the church he’s clearly describing a pagan orgies at temples probably to dionysus drunken feasts and group sex which is lascivious.

      • True. It’s simple!

    • Yes, he would or even suspected. Now David was a murder, and an adulterer, and liar. And yet God still used him. David suffered because of his decision and behavior. His children turned against him, his son rapes his daughter, ect… I live the word of the lord, however I seek after truth even if it’s ugly. I’m going to do some research on this matter because I want and need to know.

    • I ain’t know shit about religion but yes 100% gay :) being gay ain’t a sin, never has been never will be. I may be an atheist but I was forced to go to church for years. God says to love thy neighbor and god also say that he “loves each and everyone of his children” or something similar to that. Why would that only apply to the cishet people. It isn’t anyone’s choice to be gay but holy shit are we proud of it.

    • Jeffrey Redfern

      Iam truely impressed and interested o this inquiry it to my beliefs the purposedguestion I came to except that the two where very much in love love that accuse in two only because the views each person’s have are too much the same they as much as said those as the same being finishing ones sentences are one of the same the bond can’t be expressed the truth of those to King David and Jonathan kings Saul’s son could only be said ofits dept by either of the two yes we as fleashful people I say fleshful people we who pounder the act are living to our desires becoming one would mean for us is to emenceour bodies together to exchange physical emotions between the two to experience exchanged cli.ax release in intense pulsating erotic discharges from there bodies

  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.

      • Exactly

      • Amen, Sister!

      • You have said it all. What you forgot to say is the aspect that led David to compare Jonathan’s love with him with that of women. There must have been a reason for that comparison especially when one reads what Jonathan’s father harshly said to him concerning his relationship with David.

    • Charles

      and to “KNOW” IS to be ONE in spirit!

  4. Kevin King

    Hi, Lee. I certainly concur with your view that David and Jonathan were not gay. But my take on the issue is that the real problem is not that there was no clear distinction in David’s day: but there has been a widespread confusion between sex and love in our own. The result is that nowadays we suggest that people are ‘gay’ or effeminate simply for having deep affectionate relationships with someone of the same sex or for having no desire to climb into bed with the opposite sex.

    But your argument that ‘there simply was no clear distinction at the time he lived; no designation of gays or straights,’ is ill-founded.

    In your response to one of my comments on your series on Homosexuality and the Bible you say that ‘critical Bible scholars recognize that the “Mosaic Law” was actually written hundreds of years after D&J lived, probably in the time of exile, and then attributed back to Moses as an authority figure.’ The definition of ‘critical’ is critical here.

    It is perfectly true that the books of Moses were edited into their present form after the time of Moses. The editors made no attempt to disguise this; with a whole chapter describing Moses’ death (Deut 34:1-12) and numerous references to Moses in the third person.

    But with regard to the Levitical prohibition of homosexuality they explicitly state:
    ‘And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,..

    If a man also lies with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be on them.’
    (Lev 18:1,13)

    But the Bible also provides us with far more concrete historical evidence to confirm that the Levitical laws were not the invention of later scribes.

    Deuteronomy 31:24-26 tells us:
    ‘So it was, when Moses had completed writing the words of this law in a book, when they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying: “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you;”’

    Now it is not clear exactly what form the ‘Book of the Law’ was in at this time, but we are at the very least talking about some of Deuteronomy, which, according to its prologue, was a re-statement of the law and the people’s covenant with God presented by Moses shortly before his death; whereas the laws of Leviticus are attributed to a period early on in the wilderness wanderings. So did this book really exist?

    Following the death of David the Israelites fell into rapid moral decline, with Judah not far behind. There were only brief periods of national renewal, during which some efforts were made to renew the people’s covenant with God. There was certainly no period during which it could be considered likely that any efforts would have been made to write a newer, stricter version of the law. Yet, at the beginning the last of these revivals, prior to which the temple had been desecrated by idols and fallen into disrepair, King Josiah gave orders for its restoration.

    And during this work we read that:
    Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.’ (2 Kings 22:8. A similar account appears in 2 Chronicles 34:15.)

    At this point ‘critical’ scholars jump in and say, ‘Hah! This must be the point at which the Law was written!’ They further conclude that, somehow, the traditions concerning the Exodus, the wilderness wanderings, the importance of worshipping Yahweh alone, etc., actually had their origins in the northern kingdom. This is amazing, considering the fact that the northern kingdom of Israel had been the first to fall into idolatry and been destroyed about 90 years previously; whilst the focus of temple worship had been Jerusalem, in the southern kingdom of Judah, ever since the time of David. So how is this conclusion justified? ‘Well,’ they say, ‘Isaiah, in the southern kingdom, doesn’t mention these things whereas Hosea, his northern contemporary, does.’ But for most of Isaiah’s time Judah was till nominally monotheistic: the big issues there were nominalism, hypocrisy and social injustice: whereas betrayal of God’s covenant was about to bring the northern kingdom to an end.. So what else would they talk about? (Note that this view is also authenticated by the prophecies of Jeremiah, a contemporary of Josiah – e.g. Jer 3:6-17).

    We cannot be sure that this was the original ‘Book of the Law’ that had been deposited next to the ark. It would by this time have been about 900 years old: so it is perhaps more likely that this was a copy, possibly incorporating, or stored alongside, the additional materials that formed the Torah we know today.

    But the fact remains that the textual record is fully in harmony with the known history of the period: whereas the ‘critical’ theory is not. So, on these grounds, the most reasonable conclusion is that the available evidence points to Leviticus 18:13 being an authentic early rendering of the Law as given to Moses. This has been the opinion of both secular and religious scholars for over 2,000 years: and the only grounds I can see for ‘criticising’ that conclusion is that some people today don’t like what it says.

    • Lee Harmon

      Very nice post, Kevin. Before I reply, could you give me an idea of where you stand on the Documentary Hypothesis? Do you see it as valid in any form? We might be missing each other in the dark, here, so far apart are our presumptions.

  5. Kevin King

    Hi, Lee! I take it you mean the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis and variants thereof. We were taught the rudiments of the theory in RE at school. It was a few years before I became a Christian and, looking only at the first few chapters of Genesis, it seemed to make sense. Subsequent study of the Bible, and reading more into the assumptions and methods employed has made me very sceptical of most of its claims.
    It is not difficult to see that some of the earliest chapters of Genesis have been collated from more than one source: but the further one progresses into the Pentateuch, the more speculative the divisions become; being based on assumptions about style, vocabulary and theological leanings of the supposed authors. And the more intimately the text is dissected, the more suspect these divisions become; often being based upon portions of text so small that meaningful analysis is impracticable.
    Wellhausen begins with the assumption that the Deuteronomic passages were not found, so much as written, in the time of Josiah. In effect, they were forgeries. A dating at least this late was necessary for his hypothesis. He then proceeded to date the other presumed sources relative to this; not based upon solid historical evidence, but rather upon the prevailing sociological theories about the development of religious ideas and practices.
    There are now numerous alternative theories; all of them essentially speculative in nature. But actual archaeological research has repeatedly demonstrated that passages relating to life, history and culture, even as far back as the patriarchal period, have the ring of authenticity. Very strange, if these were indeed later fabrications.
    I would contend that the simplest and most plausible theory is the one in plain view. The bulk of the text comes from earlier documents or oral traditions compiled at or near the time, and these have subsequently been collated, and sometimes commented on, by editors who made no attempt to disguise their work.
    As to whether or not Moses is the primary author of these books (or editor, in the case of Genesis), Jesus himself indicates that he was. In Luke 24:44: he speaks of ‘the Law of Moses‘, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ In John 7:19 he challenges the Pharisees, ‘Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law?’ In Mark 7:10 he attributes the 10 Commandments to Moses; in Matt. 8:4, he cites him as the author of Leviticus 14. And in the discussion on divorce in Mark 10:3-8 he first explicitly acknowledges the Pharisees citation of Deut. 24:1 (D) as being from Moses. but then cites Gen. 2:24 as having even more weight.
    Was he suggesting that Moses even wrote Genesis? In John 7:22 he says, ‘Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers)’ There is only one passing reference to the ritual of circumcision in the Pentateuch, except in Genesis 17:10-14. But this is a description of God’s command to Abraham: so Jesus does not say Moses was the originator of this command: but rather that he passed it on to the people.
    So do we have enough in common to debate the matter further? I think it depends where you are really coming from and what you are trying to achieve. If your view of the Bible is that it is essentially a religion that evolved over time as man saw fit and that Jesus was likewise just a child of his time – albeit a great one – then, no. I would wonder why you bothered with it at all, except as a historical curiosity. But if you take seriously the claim that the Bible is about God revealing himself to man, and coming to earth as the man Jesus, then I would suggest that you rethink your thinking about the message it contains. Because Jesus’ message of acceptance, repentance and transformation – addressed to everyone, not just gays or other supposed ‘big sinners’ – has far more power to bring true freedom than you seem to think.

    • Lee Harmon

      I agree with you that early oral tradition is well-represented in the Torah. And I agree that by the time of Jesus, the “law” tradition was ascribed to Moses, perhaps even assuming that Moses was its sole author. I also agree that the deeper you read in the Torah, the more difficult it is to date and separate authorship; it’s no longer a simple matter of splicing apart the Yahwist from the Elohist.

      But we have a problem. In my mind, the Bible simply CANNOT be what you say it is. A mass exodus from Egypt simply didn’t happen–not in the magnitude described by the Bible–so if it was written about at the time, it was greatly exaggerated. We know for a fact that a couple million people didn’t go traipsing through the desert. Likewise for the conquest of Canaan. It’s terribly difficult to piece together anything before the time of David into Chronological sense, and reasonable archaeologists and historians have given up trying to fit the Bible story of the exodus and the conquest neatly into history.

      Moreover, the earlier stories are clearly myths, not meant to be read literally. I think anyone but a predisposed believer would agree; the flood did not happen (or if there was a regional flood, it was mythologized into a worldwide event where all life on earth dies and must be preserved in an ark). But did it come from prior written documents? Yep; the Epic of Gilgamesh provides evidence of this, as it predates even the Hebrew language.

      Does all this mean Jesus (or rather the New Testament writers) believed that the Torah was literally authored by God, or dictated by God to Moses? I don’t know, it’s possible, and actually harder to tell than one would think. Of course, Jesus probably also believed in a flat earth. We can’t hold that against him too, can we?

      Re: a “ring of authenticity” regarding stories clear back to the Patriarchs, I definitely disagree. Reading many of these stories in Hebrew betrays their mythical nature; surely no early storyteller of these stories would have imagined that he was retelling history.

      Given, then, that we know what the Pentateuch is NOT … it is not a historical record of actual events … we must choose the most logical explanation. The Documentary Hypothesis, in some form, is what fits all the facts.

      So there you have my opinion, lol. We’re probably too far apart for meaningful discussion. But I do enjoy the discussions anyway! I’d be happy to share my latest book with you (The River of Life) if you’d like a personal peek into Liberal Christianity and why the Bible and Jesus mean so much to me even though I don’t share your beliefs. It’s short ans simple … just drop me an address sometime if interested.

  6. Kevin King

    Lee, your comments on the Exodus are understandable, given that the generally-accepted Egyptian chronology is extremely difficult to reconcile with the biblical account. However, many specialists on ancient Egypt are prepared to admit that there are serious weaknesses in that chronology: and several alternatives have been proposed which potentially offer a very high degree of correspondence with the biblical narratives: not only of the Exodus, but even dating as far back as Abraham. Take, for example, the New Chronology proposed by David Rohl. You can read a very interesting Wikipedia article on this here.

    Perhaps I should confess at this point that I have been a closet ‘intelligent design’ evolutionist for most of my Christian life (having previously been an agnostic evolutionist). I came to an understanding of Genesis and a literal Adam and Eve – as confirmed by Jesus – that seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable both scientifically and scripturally. Unfortunately, a few years ago, God told me, “I don’t agree with your theories.” Annoyingly, He didn’t tell me which ones… I’m still seeking further elucidation: but in the meantime I’m taking a fresh look at more literal interpretations that I would once have been inclined to discard without serious thought.

    But my point here is that I found God extremely tolerant of my views. I continued to grow in my relationship with Him as long as I was prepared to place the things He said in his word above my own opinions; and modify my thinking and behaviour accordingly. Having unresolved questions is not a problem as far as God is concerned: but attempting to alter what he says about himself to fit one’s own preconceptions is a big mistake.

    So, if you have a problem with the number of people in the desert – ok. Others have explained this to their satisfaction in terms of fairly simple scribal misunderstandings. If you think the flood wasn’t worldwide in the sense we think of it today, fair do’s. It’s pretty certain the writer hadn’t the faintest idea how big the world was. And Gilgamesh and the other flood stories from all around the world do provide some interesting food for thought, don’t they? Likewise, there are a number of less conventional theories as to the precise meaning of the opening chapters of Genesis: and there are passages in there that can lead to some very interesting speculations.

    But, none of this necessitates a rewriting of the history of the Jewish people. whereas, as I have previously pointed out, the Documentary Hypothesis does not fit all the facts. It rewrites the facts to fit its own presuppositions.

    Re. your book, I could be interested to read it sometime, as I would like to understand you better. But, realistically, I’m unlikely to be able to find time in the foreseeable future.

  7. The same word used for love when referring to the love David had for Jonathon, is the same one use in the phrase “Do justice and love mercy”. It refers to a deep connection between two people that has nothing to do with sex. when you read about the relationship between David and Jonathon, you soon realise that their faith in God was more than significant in their relationship. Jonathon was willing to give up the crown and give it to David because he knew David was God’s anointed, to replace his father.
    Besides, while sex is a very intimate thing potentially, the relationships that last between men and women need that deeper connection that this passage talks about. Lets not bring sex into everything. Most of our meaningful relationships (parents,siblings,cousins,friends) are sex free.

  8. the bond of warriors between one another is tremendous. If you have relied on another, helped another, and survived a common life-threatening ordeal with another, you become inextricably linked at the soul level. To think they had a “Brokeback Mountain” encounter is profane.

  9. David and Johnathan were not homosexuals. They had a very close friendship.True friendship is very hard to find these days and people use the scriptures to justify their wrongdoings to often. If you read the scripture and ask God for understanding, He will give you understanding. But, remember you first must want an understanding in order to receive. If you already have your mind made up about the matter you won’t here clearly what God is saying. The bottom line is that God love us all but, He hates sin. No matter who commits it. Read Galatians 5:16-21. Its very clear of the things that would cause you and I to miss entering into the kingdom of God. So why take the risk. If you’re in sin, Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.

  10. I was archiving some old postings, and came across this again. At the time, I had been too busy to comment: but as no-one else appears to have picked up on what looks to me like a major flaw in your interpretation, here goes…

    Your article is about Jude 1:7, a NT reference where Jude (not Paul) comments on the ‘sexual immorality and perversion’ of Sodom and Gomorrah as being deserving of God’s judgement. You then comment that ‘it really doesn’t say anything about homosexuality, does it?’ Well then, what is the ‘sexual immorality and perversion’ to which Jude is referring? He must have had something clearly in mind.

    The obvious answer is the famous and graphic Genesis 18:16-19:29 account of the visit of the angels to Lot in the form of 2 men, and the wish of the men of the city to rape them. As others have observed elsewhere, the homosexual overtones of this demand are clear insofar as Lot tries to protect his guests by offering to surrender his daughters instead. This assault was followed by the city’s destruction the very next morning.

    A much less obvious passage – yet the one you seize upon – is a single verse in Ezekiel 16:49 that makes it clear that the fundamental root of Sodom’s sin was their arrogant, selfish and uncaring nature. That’s an important point: but was this the passage that Jude had in mind when he spoke of their ‘sexual immorality and perversion’ (literally, ‘committing fornication, and going after other flesh’)? Pretty obviously not, since the only word in that passage which has any possible direct connection with Jude’s phrase is ‘detestable.’

    You then claim that, ‘While conservative Christians sometimes reference other verses, responsible scholarship points out that they are not really about homosexuality at all. Today’s verse is often referenced in such a manner, but it really doesn’t say anything about homosexuality, does it?’ That looks more like a theological smokescreen than responsible scholarship to me.

    The plain fact is that Jude is referring to the ‘sexual immorality and perversion,’ that was committed by the people of Sodom. The context to which he refers specifically includes an act of attempted homosexual rape and the language Jude himself uses indicates strong disapproval of ‘fornication, and going after other flesh.’ So this is another example of NT teaching against homosexuality.

    Having said that, however, it should be made clear that Jude’s concerns in this letter are by no means confined to the issue of sex. Just as the Ezekiel verse makes it clear that there were much deeper roots underlying this particular manifestation of Sodom’s sin, so the rest of the letter is spent dealing with the corrupt motives and attitudes underlying the actions of those who were leading others astray. Those warnings apply to us all; irrespective of sexual orientation.

    • Oops! I’ve managed to post the above comment in the wrong place! It should be on the page “Jude 1:7, Homosexuality and the Bible, Part II of VIII.” Please delete it from here, and I’ll repost on the correct place. Sorry for the hassle.

  11. my thoughts

    I don’t buy the brotherly love argument. It sounds very weird to say that your soul is knit to the soul of your relative. 2 Samuel 20:41 also says that they kissed and cried together until David became large. If anyone knows what that means, please tell me.

    Here’s an interesting article I found:


    Judaism and Homosexuality:A Brief History

    • Confused

      “My Thoughts” – This is a misinterpretation of the scripture. In what translation did you find this? In every Bible translation I have read, its basically says that David’s grief was greater than Jonathan’s.

  12. are there male and female angels?

  13. Do any of you remember when you made your ‘sexual-preference’ choice? I’m straight. But I never made that choice. Likewise, in my mother’s womb, did I choose my gender? No. Both choices were made for me.

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