Monday, December 08, 2008

The nakedness of thy mother (1Sam 20)

Chapter 20 is sort of weird because it largely involves David trying to convince Jonathan that Saul hates his guts. The fact that Jonathan is unaware of this is more than a little strange, seeing the events of the chapters leading up to this. Jonathan doesn't think he could possibly be unaware of anything going on with his father, and tells David that he'll prove it.

So David and Jonathan come up with a plan in which David will go away, and Jonathan will see how Saul reacts to David's absence. Jonathan and David both promise that whatever the outcome of this test, they will always be kind to each other, and to each others' families.

Saul ends up shouting at Jonathan: "Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?" I think this is a very suggestive verse, but not in the way that the SAB is suggesting. Take the Bible as a whole and ask yourself: What does the phrase "thy mother's nakedness" really mean? If you look to some other verses, you'll find that the Bible forbade, for instance, a man to have sexual relations with his father's wife:
Lev 18:8 The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
Now, I may be reading too much into it, but it seems that if "thy father's nakedness" is your father's wife, one could easily make the claim that "thy mother's nakedness" is your mother's husband. Saul seems to me to be saying that Jonathan has, in his allegiance to David, forgotten that his true allegiance should be to Saul, who after all is his father. I'm having a hard time putting this into words properly (and delicately), but I think Saul is being very poetically vulgar here and insulting Jonathan on many levels suggesting:

1) "I'm your father, and your allegiance should be to me."
2) "I'm the king, and if you hope to be king someday, you'd better not be supporting David."
3) "If you're going to be unable to get these facts straight, you might as well just have David #$%@ your mother, you little ingrate!"

In any case, this is a harsh rebuke indeed, and Jonathan finally realizes how incredibly hostile Saul's feelings towards David truly are. So he goes to David and tells him that he ought to leave, and they say farewell with a kiss, which once again, is totally acceptable between two straight men in many cultures.

6 comments:

michael feyisola farmers said...

Thanks for this unbiased explanation. I do not accept the other explanation that says that David and Jonathan were homosexuals. I think the people that go about attributing this to them are they themselves homosexuals seeking comfort in equating brotherly love with pervert desires.

Thanks
Michael

Brucker said...

I don't think it's necessarily so that all who suggest D & J were lovers are homosexuals, but it's probably the case that they are (if my liberal readers will excuse the often ugly phrase) promoting a "homosexual agenda". That is to say, they want to see the Bible giving approval where it simply doesn't exist.

There are many people, including good friends of mine whom I believe to be good Christians, that think that God is perfectly fine with homosexuality. Whether this is so, such a sentiment is not to be found in this story.

I tend to dislike the use of the word "pervert" in this context, though. I don't think sexuality can be so simplified.

Drake Iverson said...

So, you good Christians think homosexuality is "perverted"? Yet you clutch to your bosoms a book PACKED with the most vile, disgusting and PERVERTED acts of violence, murder, rape, genocide and baby killing! Two men in love equals SIN! Yet slaughtering thousands of innocent people, including women, children and "sucklings" is perfectly fine with you because "GOD" told his "chosen people" to do it. Perversion?! Anyone who believes a "god of love" could command and approve this type of sickness IS THE REAL "PERVERT"! Religion is the root of all evil!

Brucker said...

First of all, as I said above, not all Christians think that homosexuality is "perverted". My own opinion on the matter is that while I think the Bible speaks out against it, it's a very minor issue, and may possibly only be forbidden in ancient Israel; without the Bible saying more in a more definitive fashion, I'd hate to judge on the matter.

Secondly, just because the Bible has quite a bit of nasty stuff in it doesn't mean that it's condoning that stuff. Yes, there may be specific instances of God ordering the Israelites to commit certain acts of war, but I think these are few and far between. (Yet they do need to be addressed, which is why blogs like this exist.)

Thirdly, if you think that religion is the root of all evil, I would strongly object, and point you to this post on my other blog in which I admit that religion has been at the root of some very bad things but point out that it can hardly be said to be the be-all and end-all of evil by far.

You come across as very angry, and I don't see the need for such anger, but welcome the free exchange of ideas here nonetheless.

Drake Iverson said...

God commands DEATH for homosexuals. This is unequivocal. They are to be KILLED. How can you call that a "minor issue"???

As for the "nasty stuff" in the Bible (the god-ordered GENOCIDE and slaughtering of babies)this is not a matter of "specific instances" or "certain acts". And they are not "few and far between" as you claim. Nearly every book in the OT is one bloody jihad after another! If you had actually read the Bible you would know this. The reason so many people continue to hold the Bible as "sacred" is because they have never read it.For example: See what Moses tells his soldiers to do to the "virgin girl children" they have captured.

There is another book I would recommend you read: "Drunk with Blood" by Steve Wells. It lists, book by book the THOUSANDS of atrocities committed by "God" or ordered by "God".

The real "root of all evil" is willful ignorance and blind obedience. READ THE BIBLE!

Brucker said...

For something unequivocal, there sure do seem to be a lot of people equivocating about it. I call it a "minor issue" because the Bible talks about homosexuality less than a half-dozen times, while it talks about other things like caring for the poor over and over again.

You say "Nearly every book in the OT is one bloody jihad after another!" Aside from the obvious fact that the OT is only part of the Bible, I'm not seeing what you're talking about. I admittedly haven't read the whole Bible, but I've read over 60 out of the 66 books that comprise it, and I'd say that your description would only fit two: Joshua and Judges. Even if the small handful of books I have yet to read were in that class, that wouldn't be "nearly every book" by far. Maybe you could enlighten me on which books I have missed and why you feel they should be classified in such a manner?

While I haven't read "Drunk with Blood", I am of course quite familiar with Wells and his writing, and know what the book is about. It is, after all, based on excerpts from the Bible, which I have read and am pretty familiar with.

I have to ask, since your assessment of it is so foreign from my own, have YOU read the Bible?