The Ruth&Naomi/David&Jonathan Controversy


#1

First Things First:
I DO NOT believe that Ruth & Naomi and David & Jonathan were homosexual lovers, however
that notion seems to appeal to certain groups of people (straight and gay alike) who use that
false interpretation of Scripture to support at least the :heart:relationship​:heart: aspect of homosexuality.

Here is what I said in another forum which attempted to tackle with the homosexuality issue:

I am pretty sure that everything I said was correct, though in all honesty I don’t have anything
to back up the things I said. So with that, does anybody perhaps have any knowledge on this
(for lack of better words) “controversy” regarding the relationship statuses between both Ruth
& Naomi and David & Jonathan?


#2

I never heard of an implied a homosexual relationship between Ruth and Naomi. sounds like someone fishing for straws. Naomi arranged for Ruth to marry Boaz, so that doesn't sound like a homosexual relationship. That whole thing is a bit of a stretch. Concerning David and Jonathan, there is a quote in the Bible that David considered the love of his friend better than a women. But again and when you look at David's life, he obviously had more interest in women than pursueing a sexual relationship with another man. Again there are different words for our one english word love. I think CS Lewis wrote a book about the 4 loves and I would look into the original Hebrew for love that David used to describe his friendship with Jonathan and I would wager that it isn't the erotic kind of love.


#3

If someone tells you that Naomi/Ruth and David/Jonathan were "lovers", you might remind them that such practices were punished by death in the Israelite laws!


#4

One of the arguments that folks use, in an attempt to downplay the Biblical teaching against homosexual activity, is that in the times of the OT and NT, people didn't have any notion of 'homosexual inclination'; rather, they only knew about 'homosexual activity'. Therefore, they claim, there's nothing in the Bible that condemns 'homosexuality' per se.

Taking that argument on its face, then, it's ludicrous for them to turn around and suggest that certain individuals lived homosexual lifestyles; after all, 'no such thing', right? And, if they want to suggest that they indulged in homosexual activity, it would be necessary for them to substantiate their claims (which they won't be able to do, since the Bible doesn't make these assertions). judynurse's comment is especially insightful: if the Bible were to claim that these folks were engaging in homosexual activity, it would condemn them, since the activity runs counter to God's law!


#5

In the David/Jonathan case, the two of them were clearly emotionally intimate, something that largely wasn't acceptable at the time in relationships between men and women.

The fact that our culture assumes that they would also be sexually intimate just shows how emotionally stunted our culture is.


#6

I am gay and recently returned to the church after a long abstinence. I spent many hours reading and re-reading the arguments of highly respected biblical scholars on both sides of the debate and finally came to the conclusion that one could say that there is circumstantial evidence but we will never know for certain if David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi were sexually intimate. In the final analysis I asked myself what does it matter in my personal journey with Jesus or in me personally being a good catholic? Not much at in all. If David did have sex with Jonathan it would be just one more grave sin along side of adultery and murder.


#7

[quote="frobert, post:6, topic:346271"]
I am gay and recently returned to the church after a long abstinence. I spent many hours reading and re-reading the arguments of highly respected biblical scholars on both sides of the debate and finally came to the conclusion that one could say that there is circumstantial evidence but we will never know for certain if David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi were sexually intimate. In the final analysis I asked myself what does it matter in my personal journey with Jesus or in me personally being a good catholic? Not much at in all. If David did have sex with Jonathan it would be just one more grave sin along side of adultery and murder.

[/quote]

Interesting perspective. And, even if David did have sex with Jonathan, this would not negate the true depth of their friendship. It would just be a significant challenge to that friendship.


#8

They said the same thing about Abraham Lincoln, that he was gay because he expressed heartfelt love for a friend in a way which makes us uncomfortable today.

The fact is that men were much more expressive of love and much more intimate with other men in times past than we are today. The same is true of women - people were not as reserved as they are today in expressing friendship as a form of love. Men often shared beds together out of economic necessity and that is seen today as a sign of homosexuality.

Anyone who reads books more than 150 years old knows of this expressive form of love/friendship in times past which we have lost today. Daniel Defoe's character Robinson Crusoe expressed this type of love for his companion whom he named "Friday". Doris Goodwin-Kearns addresses the subject in her book Team of Rivals about Abraham Lincoln.

Only those who don't read should really be surprised at passionate expressions of friendship.

-Tim-


#9

I wouldn’t worry about it to much, those who think God should be like them or at the least be like what they think He ought to be are going to go there with such subject matter. Creating there own interpretations according to their views of what ought to be. Get used to it, its going to get worse.

By all accounts King David was one who found favor in the sight of God and men, except for King Saul of corse. Men followed David in battle even when the King of Israel was in pursuit of David, and they had no place to call home. There are men that are like that, that warriors will go to the death with, without question. And Jonathan like his father, was a warrior.

And there are those who can’t imagine love being anything else but a attraction in the flesh because that is what they love. Things like up-rightness, or honor, or righteousness or good judgement, isn't something they love.


#10

It is important to remember that it is possible, and also was much more commonly acknowledged in earlier times, for two men to be like brothers, almost twins, to love each other and have NO sexual feelings for each other at all! Nowadays, men are more shy of expressing such feelings to each other or anyone else!

As for Naomi and Ruth, remember, please, that Ruth had been married to Naomi’s SON, who died, and then went with Naomi back to Israel. Naomi was much older than Ruth, who was probably in her early to mid teens (usual age for a girl to marry back then), Naomi had lost her husband and both adult sons, and was likely in her late 30’s, (for that time, she was basically a Senior Citizen) which was well past middle age in those times. Naomi was Ruth’s Mother-in-law, and was as a Mother to her – NOT a lover!

Not to mention that such a relationship in either case was likely in those times, since it was considered not only a sin, but one which carried the death penalty if found out! And Naomi was concerned for Ruth’s future, since she was a foreigner, not an Israelite, and Naomi being old, was worried about what would happen to Ruth when she died. So, she helped Ruth find a husband among Naomi’s kin.

As for David committing adultery, this could also be a death penalty crime, but being the King, he got away with it. (Until the Prophet pointed out to him that God knew!!) - he paid with the life of the son resulting from that & also had the husband of the woman he committed adultery with left to die at the forefront of a battle. David was definitely in danger of being stoned to death for either one of these sins. As for David being homosexual, HOW MANY WIVES DID HE HAVE??? (A lot!!!) David confessed his sin, and begged forgiveness from God, and because he was truly penitent, he was later blessed by God.


#11

[quote="judynurse, post:10, topic:346271"]
It is important to remember that it is possible, and also much more common in earlier times, for two men to be like brothers, almost twins, to love each other and have NO sexual feelings for each other at all! Nowadays, men are more shy of expressing such feelings to each other or anyone else!

As for Naomi and Ruth, remember, please, that Ruth had been married to Naomi's SON, who died, and then went with Naomi back to Israel. Naomi was much older than Ruth, who was probably in her early to mid teens (usual age for a girl to marry back then), Naomi had lost her husband and both adult sons, and was likely in her late 30's, (for that time, she was basically a Senior Citizen) which was well past middle age in those times. Naomi was Ruth's Mother-in-law, and was as a Mother to her -- NOT a lover!

Not to mention that such a relationship in either case was likely in those times, since it was considered not only a sin, but one which carried the death penalty if found out! And Naomi was concerned for Ruth's future, since she was a foreigner, not an Israelite, and Naomi being old, was worried about what would happen to Ruth when she died. So, she helped Ruth find a husband among Naomi's kin. As for David committing adultery, this could also be a death penalty crime, but being the King, he got away with it. (Until the Prophet pointed out to him that God knew!!) - he paid with the life of the son resulting from that & also had the husband of the woman he committed adultery with left to die at the forefront of a battle. David was definitely in danger of being stoned to death for either one of these sins. ** As for David being homosexual, HOW MANY WIVES DID HE HAVE??? ** (A lot!!!) David confessed his sin, and begged forgiveness from God, and because he was truly penitent, he was later blessed by God.

[/quote]

Judy is exactly right. This is an excellent post.

-Tim-


#12

I'm not an academic person, nobody should be fooled by that. But, in my reading, I sense that a lot of prohibitions in Leviticus, or elsewhere in the Torah, are based on condemnation of practices by their pagan neighbors. And, those condemnations, as we see, have been distilled down to almost oversimplified prohibitions, about men not laying with men like they would with women.

That is a sub-part of this overall "controversy."

If some (hint hint) want to sexualize everything in the Bible, then the burden is on them to prove it, I'd say. We read about the "disciple that Jesus loved" -- I've never understood that phrase, at any level, but I least suspect that there was any carnal aspect in that relationship.


#13

[quote="judynurse, post:10, topic:346271"]
As for David being homosexual, HOW MANY WIVES DID HE HAVE??? (A lot!!!)

[/quote]

Judy, I mostly agree with your post, but this comment doesn't make sense to me at all. Throughout history, many men who have sex with women have also had sex with men. This was extremely common in the ancient world (though not as common among the Hebrews).

The idea that there are fixed sexual orientations that have no exceptions is a modern myth.


#14

The love between these pairs was a love that was allowed to manifest itself to the greatest potential precisely because it was unfettered by sexual impulses. Later the philosopher Plato would also speak about this type of love, which is where we get our term Platonic relationship. It is also the same reason that the Catholic Church has always stood ardently against pre-marital sex.

Unrestricted by the passions that accompany sexuality, true bonding and a heightened sense of love is able to develop. Sexuality can present issues such as selfishness, usury, addictions, degraded outlooks of human dignity, etc. By foregoing the act of sexuality, a relationship has greater freedom to develop without restraint. After the relationship is developed and the covenant of marriage is committed to, the gift of sexuality is a greater giving to one another.

Today, we use the term Platonic relationship to mean "not attracted" and "just" friends. It has been watered down and in no way represents the same giving of self in a non-sexual relationship as it once did. Of course David loved Jonathan more than any woman. The nature of the relationships with his wives was different than the one with Jonathan. These verses prove exactly the opposite of the use they are being put to.


#15

The idea that Naomi and Ruth were homosexual "lovers" is offensive. Their story tells of the goodness and joy that are possible in relationships created through marriages. All in-law relationships are blessed by the lives of Ruth and Naomi. (Furthermore, all friendships are blessed by the friendship of David and Jonathan.) Ruth and Naomi set the bar for excellence in in-law relationships. Relationships between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, between sisters-in-law, and other extended relationships by marriage, should take Ruth and Naomi as their model and pray for the grace to attain such a sublime friendship.
Personally, I am blessed to have a MIL whom I frequently call "my Naomi" and I also often encourage others to use these Old Testament Saints as their standard. It is a shame that intimacy in friendships has been lost so greatly that whenever we see intimacy we automatically assume sexual intimacy and we ascribe impure motives to those who enjoy the emotional intimacy of chaste same-sex friendship.:(


#16

[quote="Judas_Thaddeus, post:1, topic:346271"]
First Things First:
I DO NOT believe that Ruth & Naomi and David & Jonathan were homosexual lovers, however
that notion seems to appeal to certain groups of people (straight and gay alike) who use that
false interpretation of Scripture to support at least the ♥relationship♥ aspect of homosexuality.

[/quote]

First things first. Why not focus on being a better Christian than on something that may or may not have happened 3000 years ago.


#17

[quote="frobert, post:16, topic:346271"]
First things first. Why not focus on being a better Christian than on something that may or may not have happened 3000 years ago.

[/quote]

I would be a bad Christian if I (though aware) were to ignore the bad usage of Scripture by
gay activists to promote gay marriage and so forth. God does not approve of homosexual
conduct and he likes it even less when people try to use his own words (the Bible) against
him.

Am I to ignore these issues? Let's see what God's Good Book says:They that forsake the law, praise
the wicked man: they that keep
it, are incensed against him.
- (Proverbs 28:4)

Dearly beloved, taking all care to
write unto you concerning your
common salvation, I was under
a necessity to write unto you:
To beseech you to contend
earnestly for the faith once
delivered to the saints.
- (Jude 1:3)
Any particular purpose to your proposal?


#18

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