What if David were gay? [on the function of Old Testament heroes.]

I took an Old Testament class in my senior year of college, and it was taught by a rabbi, who practiced his Judaism. His knowledge of the Old Testament was solid, and he provided a lot of interesting insights I’d never heard before.

one of them was this idea that David and Jonathan weren’t just really close friends, but lovers. The language, he told us, suggested a marital or erotic relationship, which I immediately dismissed.

“David couldn’t be gay. He was a man after God’s own heart!” I thought.

I heard him, but I blocked it out.

A year later, I was thinking about this, but my perspective is different. Here’s what I think now:

So what?

So what if he had a homosexual relationship? Of course I’m not advocating it, but I don’t advocate adultery, and that’s what he had with Bathsheba, and it’s in the Bible!

Two things to keep in mind:

1. The Bible doesn’t advocate everything it records.

Moses killed a man. Abraham pimped out his wife. Solomon had a ton of wives. David slept with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed. Peter cut off the ear of one of the men who came to arrest Jesus. Peter rebuked Jesus. [sheesh, Peter.] Job complained. Jonah ran from God. Joseph scared the crap out of his brothers. Keep in mind that the Bible (mostly the Old Testament) records the histories of sinful men and women. Sure, they may have done heroic things, but they were still just sinful men and women. We have to remember that. Because…

2. The Old Testament heroes weren’t the real Hero.

Jesus is clear that scripture is about Him [Luke 24:27.] We are remiss to read the Old Testament and think, “I should be like David [or Moses, or Abraham, or any other “hero.” But they’re not the real Hero – they only point to Him. If I read the story of, say, Moses, and decide that I want to be like him, I’m missing the whole scope of the Bible. The Bible is all about Jesus – and He was the ultimate deliverer. Grace and truth comes through Him [John 1:17,} I can boldly approach the throne of grace through Him [Hebrews 4:16,] I’m saved through faith in Him [Ephesians 2:8,] I’m hidden in Him [Colossians 3:3,] I’m the fragrance of Him [2 Corinthians 2:15] – not anyone else!

One thought on “What if David were gay? [on the function of Old Testament heroes.]

  1. Yes, that’s a very good point. People also trip up over the fact that slavery and polygamy are in the Bible. The question we have to ask is, “Just because it’s in the Bible, does it mean it’s God’s design?” or another way to say it is, “Polygamy might be IN the text, but does any good come of it? Or are the results (of polygamy, slavery, homosexuality, etc.) shown to be negative?” You’re right, the only Hero is Jesus!

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