Reading 81/341, 1 Samuel 18-20

A lot of people try to read into the readings today a homosexual relationship between Jonathan and David. This is mostly because we do not value friendship very highly in our culture. In those times, a friend was a closer relationship than a spouse, without any sexual component to the relationship.
...1 Samuel...

It happened, when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would no longer let him go home to his father's house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he had on and gave it to David, and his armor, even his sword, his bow, his belt. David went out wherever Saul sent him, and acted wisely, and Saul set him over the men of war, and it was good in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. It happened as they came back, when David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. The women sang one to another as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands; David his ten thousands.” Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him, and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul eyed David from that day and forward. It happened on the next day, that an evil spirit from God came mightily on Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house, and David played with his hand, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand, and Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will strike David to the wall.” David ducked out of his presence twice. Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and had departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him a captain over a thousand. He went out and came in before the people. David acted wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. When Saul saw that he acted very wisely, he stood in awe of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.”

Saul said to David, “Behold, my elder daughter Merab, I will give her to you as a wife, only be valiant for me, and fight the Lord's battles.” For Saul said, “Do not let my hand be on him, but let the hand of the Philistines be on him.” David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?” But it happened at the time when Merab, Saul's daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as wife. Michal, Saul's daughter, loved David, and they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. Saul said, “I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David, “You shall this day be my son-in-law a second time.” Saul commanded his servants, saying, “Commune with David secretly, and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you, now therefore be the king's son-in-law.’” Saul's servants spoke those words in the ears of David. David said, “Does it seem to you a light thing to be the king's son-in-law, seeing that I am a poor man, and lightly esteemed?” The servants of Saul told him, saying in what manner David spoke. Saul said, “Thus shall you tell David, ‘The king desires no dowry except one hundred foreskins of the Philistines, to be avenged of the king's enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. When his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king's son-in-law. The days had not expired, and David arose and went, he and his men, and killed of the Philistines two hundred men, and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might be the king's son-in-law. Saul gave him Michal his daughter as wife. Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him. Saul was yet the more afraid of David, and Saul was David's enemy continually. Then the princes of the Philistines went forth, and it happened, as often as they went forth, that David acted more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was highly esteemed.

Saul spoke to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted greatly in David. Jonathan told David, saying, “Saul, my father, seeks to kill you. Now therefore, please take care of yourself in the morning, and stay in a secret place, and hide yourself, and I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will commune with my father about you, and if I see anything, I will tell you.” Jonathan spoke good of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Do not let the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you, for he put his life in his hand, and struck the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced; why then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?” Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, as before. There was war again, and David went out, and fought with the Philistines, and killed them with a great slaughter, and they fled before him. An evil spirit from the Lord was on Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing with his hand. Saul sought to strike David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he struck the spear into the wall, and David fled, and escaped that night.

Saul sent messengers to David's house, to watch him, and to kill him in the morning, and Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be slain.” So Michal let David down through the window, and he went, and fled, and escaped. Michal took a statue, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats' hair at the head of it, and covered it with clothes. When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” When the messengers came in, behold, the statue was in the bed, with the pillow of goats' hair at the head of it. Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus, and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go; why should I kill you?’” Now David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. He and Samuel went and lived in Naioth. It was told to Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came on the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. Then he himself went to Ramah, and came to the great well that is in Secu, and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” One said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” He went to Naioth in Ramah, and the Spirit of God came on him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. He also stripped off his clothes, and he also prophesied before Samuel, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity?” and “What is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” He said to him, “Far from it; you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small, unless he discloses it to me, and why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so.” David swore moreover, and said, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he says, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved,’ but truly as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever your soul desires, I will do it for you.” David said to Jonathan, "Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to dine with the king, but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field to the third day at evening. If your father miss me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city, for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’ If he says, ‘That is okay.’ your servant shall have peace, but if he is angry, then know that evil is planned by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you, but if there be in me iniquity, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” Jonathan said, “Far be it from you, for if I should at all know that evil were determined by my father to come on you, then would I not tell you that?”

Then David said to Jonathan, “Who shall tell me if perchance your father answers you roughly?” Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” They both went out into the field. Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness, when I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or on the third day, behold, if there be good toward David, shall I not then send for you, and disclose it to you? The Lord do so to Jonathan, and more also, should it please my father to do you evil, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, that you may go in peace, and the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. But you shall show me the loving kindness of the Lord, that I will not die, not merely while I yet live, but also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever. No, not when the Lord has cut off the enemies of David, each one from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “The Lord will require it at the hand of David's enemies.” Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the love that he had for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul. Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. When you have stayed three days, you shall go down quickly, and come to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was last in hand, and shall remain by the stone heap. I will shoot three arrows on the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. Behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I tell the boy, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you; take them, and come’: there is peace to you and no hurt, as the Lord lives. But if I say thus to the boy, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you’: go your way; for the Lord has sent you away. As touching the matter which you and I have spoken of, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.

So David hid himself in the field, and when the new moon had come, the king sat down to eat food. The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall, and Jonathan stood up, and Abner sat by Saul's side, but David's place was empty. Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean. Surely he is not clean.” It happened on the next day after the new moon, which was the second day, that David's place was empty, and Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why does not the son of Jesse come to eat, neither yesterday nor today?” Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, and he said, ‘Please let me go, for our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother, he has commanded me to be there, and now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away, I pray you, and see my brothers.’ Therefore he has not come to the king's table.” Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother's nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established nor your kingdom. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Saul cast his spear at him to strike him. By this Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame. It happened in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little boy with him. He said to his boy, “Run, find now the arrows which I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy had come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the boy, and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” Jonathan cried after the boy, “Go fast! Hurry! Do not delay!” Jonathan's boy gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. But the boy did not know anything, only Jonathan and David knew the matter. Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy, and said to him, “Go, carry them to the city.” As soon as the boy was gone, David arose from the south side, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times, and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, David weeping the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my seed and your seed, forever.’” He arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

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