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.


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.


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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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?

Lebon Michael said...

Hello people. I stumbled on this post today. Nearly 2 years after posting it! And just like the Bible, it is still relevant.
Here we go with more about what God says about sexual perversion.
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).
Paul includes lesbianism in the condemnation: "For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature" (Romans 1:26).

Read the full excerpt.
1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

In I Corinthians 6:9, in other to make our understanding absolutely clear, he writes that neither "homosexuals, nor sodomites" will inherit the Kingdom of God (cf. Jude 7).

In each of the three instances in the Old Testament where homosexuality is shown in society, destruction immediately follows. The city of Sodom gave its name to this vile practice and has served as the preeminent example of God's displeasure (Genesis 18:20-21; 19:1-29). Two lesser-known cases also show that a rise in homosexuality signals a quick decline and fall
In (Judges 19-21). The tribe of Benjamin was nearly wiped out due to their sin of homosexuality. The male population was reduced to just 600.

Now, under sustained relentless barrages of attacks from the propaganda and lobbying machine of gay right activists the world over, the abnormal is unfortunately the new norm. Countries are now vying to be forefront in serenading all that is vile, including homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. THIS was acceptable in many cultures. There are other verses that suggest this, as well. The so-called "Christians" who claim homosexuality is a sin, etc. are nothing more than SELF-RIGHTEOUS MORONS. Sin is OK as long as it's THEM committing the sin... and often claiming GOD gave them permission to SIN... How convenient THEY don't have to obey anything GOD said in the Bible NOT to do.

Brucker said...

There is a lot that needs to be said here. Let me preface my comments by saying that I believe that it is possible to interpret the Bible as being against homosexuality, but it's not an issue that is crystal clear. The Leviticus passages you are quoting have some problems. One of the problems is that whatever they are addressing, it's may be specific to the Israelites. The other thing is that the Hebrew wording is ambiguous; it doesn't say that a man ("אִישׁ") should not lie with a man, but rather with a "זָכָר", which is a word that is often translated "male", but sometimes refers to a "male child". Some have suggested these verses are actually a banning of pedophilia, which most people agree to be morally wrong, but the Bible doesn't address, unless that's what Leviticus is actually saying. The section in Romans 1 needs context, both within the text and within the culture. As for the text, if you go back to the beginning of this section, it's clear that what Paul is addressing is idolatry, and is suggesting that the practice of idolatry leads to sexual perversion. "And likewise the men, leaving the natural use of the women" suggests that these are not homosexuals, but heterosexual men who become perverted to act in a manner that was not their natural inclination. As for the culture, the phrase "what is against nature" culturally refers to non-procreative sex; there's nothing to indicate that this was lesbianism, it could have been anal or oral sex. 1Corinthians 6:9 contains the Greek word "αρσενοκοιται", which is a word that apparently Paul made up, since it appeared nowhere in literature before Paul, and nowhere in the 1st century besides 1Corinthians and 1Timothy. The early church fathers apparently didn't know what it meant as many of them interpreted the meaning differently, one church father even wrote about men in his congregation committing "αρσενοκοιτια" with their wives. Genesis 19 and Judges 19 are about gang rape, which is wrong regardless of the gender of the victim (which in Judges 19 is, in fact, a woman). This is not about sex, but about domination and humiliation.

Brucker said...

Regardless of whether one believes homosexuality is a sin, it's a misunderstanding of culture that leads some Americans to believe that David and Jonathan were in a sexual relationship. In most cultures throughout the world and history, same-sex affection is normal between platonic friends. The Bible has no mention of actual sexual acts between the two men, only actions such a kisses, hugs, and sharing of clothing, which are completely within the norm for two heterosexual men who are good friends pretty much everywhere except modern American culture. Yes, it is possible that there was a sexual relationship, but the Bible simply doesn't give any evidence of it, if so. That said, yes, you are correct that many Christians are hypocritical about morality and the Bible. I'd be happy to discuss it further if you really want to.