LGBTQ* Images and Stories in Religious Texts

"Friends and Family" in the Old Testament

*Disclaimer: This post does not belittle any religious text, nor does it intend to offend anyone. This post reviews reading the Bible as a scholarly text and not a book of faith.*

David and Jonathan

Some scholars believe that there was a romantic relationship between David and Jonathan. The book of Samuel discusses the two’s deep friendship which often hints at a love much more than that of two friends.

1 Samuel 18:1

"…Jonathan became one in spirit with David and he loved him as himself." (NIV)

"…the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (KJV)

1 Samuel 20:41

"After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with is face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together - but David wept the most." (NIV)

Ruth and Naomi

The bond between Ruth and Naomi is often credited as being a love affair between two women. The bound of undying love is often used in modern marriage ceremonies and is take from the Book of Ruth.

Ruth 1:16-17

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (NIV)

*the world “clave” in Hebrew is recognized as marriage. It is used as a term for heterosexual marriage in Genesis 2:24

Ruth 1:14

“Ruth clave unto her.”

 Daniel and Ashpenaz

The relationship between Daniel and the chief of courts Ashpenaz may be viewed as a relationship of two men within the Bible’s text.

The Hebrew words used to describe Daniel and Ashpenaz are “chesed” and  “v’rachamim”. “Chesed” means mercy. “V’rachamim” translantes to “physical mercy and love.” While many translations now read that Ashpenaz “showed mercy and mercy” to Daniel, it would be reasonable to believe that the original text reads that Ashpenaz showed “mercy and physical love” with Daniel.

Daniel 1:9

“Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.”