Were King David gay?

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QUESTION: Was King David GAY (a homosexual)? Was he and King Saul's son Jonathan LOVERS or were they just the best of friends?

ANSWER: It is unfortunate that many people equate sex with love. It is these people who promote the false teaching that David and Jonathan were gay (e.g. they were lovers).

Now comes a problem. These same people think they have an ally in the Hebrew language in regard to their conclusion that these two men were gay. Let us take a brief look at the few verses used to try and show that David and Jonathan were far more than close friends.

1. And it came to pass when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was joined with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as he did his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him go home to his father's house any more. 3. And Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved (Hebrew: ahab) him as his own soul (1Samuel 18:1 - 3, HBFV throughout)

16. So Jonathan covenanted with the house of David, saying, "Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies." 17. And Jonathan caused David to swear again because he loved (Hebrew: ahabah) him, for he loved (Hebrew: ahab) him as he loved (Hebrew: ahabah) his own soul (1Samuel 20:16 - 17)

The Hebrew word ahabah (Strong's Concordance #H160) is the feminine form of ahab (Strong's #H157). Strong's defines ahab as having affection for someone (either sexually or otherwise) and loving them like a friend. Sadly, those who want to believe David was gay conveniently overlook the OTHERWISE part of the definition. They overlook the fact that ahab is commonly used elsewhere in the Old Testament for non-sexual love. For example, in Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice.

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2. And He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love (ahab), and go into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you" (Genesis 22:2)

With Abraham more than a hundred years of age, and Isaac being a young adult, this was not some gay sexual love. When Isaac was old and blind he called for his son, Esau, to shoot a deer for him for the following reason.

2. And he said, "Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death. 3. And now please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. 4. And make savory meat for me, such as I love (ahab) . . . " (Genesis 27:2 - 4)

Clearly, there was certainly nothing sexual or "gay" about Isaac's request of his firstborn son.

Possibly the most important example of defining what this word usually means can be found in its relationship to the Ten Commandments. After the Eternal gave his laws to the ancient Israelites, he summed up how humans were to treat each other with the following admonition.

18. You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love (ahab) your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:18)

If the above admonition sounds familiar it is because Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 5:43 and other New Testament scriptures. When Christ discussed love, especially when he taught about it during the Sermon on the Mount, he used the Greek word Agape (Strong's #G25). This word refers to love in a social sense or having benevolence toward a person.

Even though King David's and Jonathan's relationship was not sexual (gay) in nature, their connection was close and their ultimate separation (due to Saul) brought on deep sadness. They could not pick up a telephone and contact each other, as we can, or even send an Email. Only through death might our parting be as distressful as David's was. They had a deep friendship that was indeed rare.

Additional Study Materials
What does Scripture say about incest?
What are the different types of love?
Did David have to fight Goliath and his brothers?

Was King David GAY?

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