Extended from a comment I made.
An article at GayChristian101, Marriage in the Bible, attempts to provide several examples of unusual types of marriage found in the Bible.
The main purpose of providing these examples, as you probably could guess from the site name, is to argue for the legitimacy of homosexual marriage in the Bible.
(Why homosexual marriage, and not just relationship ? As I explain under the Jesus and God sections of Bible Passages That Oppose Homosexuality, Christianity rejects all sexual contact outside of marriage. And if a man cannot marry a man, then any sexual contact between them will always be immoral.)
The alternative types of marriage cited are:
1) Polygamy (Lamech, Esau, Jacob etc.)
2) Kinsman redeemer marriage (if a man dies with no offspring, the brother must marry the widow to provide offspring – e.g. Onan, story of Ruth)
3) ‘Marriage’ to servants (Abraham with Hagar, not included by site: Jacob’s children by Rachel and Leah’s servants who gave rise to the Twelve Tribes of Israel)
4) Prisoner of war marriage (Israelites took Midianite virgins, Numbers 31:1-18)
5) Slave marriage (Master can sell slave’s family, Exodus 21:1-6)
6) Homosexual ‘marriage’ (David and Jonathan)
Having read through the list, I found plenty of flaws in the arguments presented. But all of them pale in comparison to the VERY DECEPTIVE ARGUMENT I found in Example 6, as I detail in POINT ONE.
POINT ONE – David and Jonathan were never married
Most importantly, Example 6 – that of purported homosexual ‘marriage’ – is skewed totally out of context.
This is what the GayChristian101 article presents:
6. Same sex marriage. The partnership of Jonathan and David is an example of same sex marriage in the Bible. Jonathan’s father referred to David as his son in law in I Samuel 18:21.
With screen-captured evidence in context here:
I was dumbfounded by the murderous ripping of the verse out of all recognizable context. You will be too after you compare the above argument with the actual Bible passage:
17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”
18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my father’s clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19 So [e] when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.
20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. 21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”
22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king is pleased with you, and his attendants all like you; now become his son-in-law.’” – 1 Samuel 18:17-22
Immediately, anyone can see that David was considered to have the potential to be Saul’s son-in-law because Saul intended David to marry his daughter, Michal! (They do get married later in the chapter.)
And as a later commentor prompted me to take another look at ‘potential’, look at verse 18. David considers himself unworthy to become the king’s son-in-law. Now if David were already ‘married’ to Jonathan – or any other member of Saul’s family – why would David still consider himself unworthy to be part of the king’s family?
Instead of showing the actual verse which would immediately debunk the argument all on its own, the GayChristian101 article gives its own summary of the ‘David is Saul’s son-in-law’ passage along with some description of how David and Jonathan shared a homosexual love.
In fact, this misuse of Scripture is so blatant (you don’t even have to dig around to find that Saul meant David to marry his daughter, it’s right before the cited verse), it almost seems intentional – as if the writer’s whole strategy is to rely on the hope that no one would bother to open up their Bibles and check the verses.
But the site attempts to make Example 6 weightier through a link, where it argues that the Bible only says that David was pleased to become Saul’s son-in-law, and then explains that this was because David wanted to be near Jonathan. But does this at all equate to ‘homosexual marriage’?
A comment by Rick Brentlinger further argues that David has a ‘second opportunity’ to be Saul’s son-in-law, thus meaning that David actually ‘marries’ Jonathan after marrying Michal.
But I quickly pointed out that the keyword is ‘opportunity’, meaning that the first chance (by marrying Merab) was not taken.
Quite simply put, David was given the chance to marry Merab and become Saul’s son-in-law, but he refused. Then David was given the chance to marry Michal, that is, the second chance.
Rick Brentlinger and GayChristian101 simply and blatantly ignore the context of the verse to draw a conclusion that suits the homosexual agenda.
POINT TWO – Whatever the other examples legitimize, it is not homosexual marriage
Once this sixth example has been shown to be terribly misguided, none of the other five examples serve to support the idea of God and Bible legitimized homosexual marriage.
None of the cited examples except the refuted sixth example show homosexual relationships, but relationships between men and women. Whether they are multiple wives, servants or slaves, they are still WOMEN.
Even of all the first five examples were legitimate marriage contracts today (see fourth point), they would all be the basis for HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS.
Of course, the article’s focus is to argue that since mainstream Christians judge these unusual marriages from our cultural points of view, we are also judging homosexuality from a cultural (not Scriptural) point of view.
To quote Rick Brentlinger again:
I’m not arguing that all other types of marriage are necessarily legitimate today. I’m making the case that God blessed marriages different than the Adam and Eve marriage paradigm, therefore Complementarianism (the belief that God will only bless marriages like the Adam and Eve model) was not a belief of our pre-Christian spiritual ancestors, neither is it God’s truth for today.
But once more, even if modern Christians were to accept these odd marriages simply because they are recorded in the Bible, we would have no similar reason to accept homosexual affairs outside of marriage – as there are NO EXAMPLES of homosexual marriage in the Bible.
Now see POINT THREE.
POINT THREE – Not everything recorded in the Bible is condoned
The Bible does not automatically condone something, just because it records the event.
I don’t know how many times I have to explain this simple-as-rock concept to polemicists! Just because history books accurately record the Nazi Holocaust, does this mean that the history books condone genocide and racism?
The same standard applies to the Bible. The Bible records things like disobeying God, cheating God, lying to God, warring against God… Do you really think that this therefore means that God approves of these sins against Him?
So apply this principle to the six examples given. While some of the examples have a clear God-given directive (Midianite virgins), most do not (multiple wives, Abraham’s child by Hagar, the alleged David-Jonathan homosexual relationship).
They are merely faithful records of what transpired, with no say from God or the author as to whether the act was given approval or permission.
That is to say, these examples cannot and should not be taken as authoritative Biblical basis for unusual, non-heterosexual or non-monogamous marriage.
Remember that David also had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, something no one sanely argues that the Bible condones.
POINT FOUR – Whatever th Bible says of David and Jonathan, it does not record marriage
The site’s links cite that the Hebrew words used to describe David and Jonathan’s love as romantic, like the kind of love between a man and a woman. (But see the CLOSING POINT of my post.)
But even if David’s and Jonathan’s love had been of a romantic or sexual nature, it still would provide no basis for a Biblical homosexual MARRIAGE – the aim of the ‘Marriage in the Bible’ article.
Even if David and Jonathan had been romantically attracted, even if they had been sexually attracted, the Bible does not even record that they ever consumated these feelings – nore does it condone such feelings (the acting upon which would be punishable by death under Mosaic law).
And even if they had carried out such a forbidden and illegal physical act, it still does not equate to a MARRIAGE.
Not also that POINTTHREE applies again, in that even if they did do the dirty deed, the Bible in no way condones it.
POINT FIVE – Does anyone really trust Saul as a good reference?
The article’s citation of Saul using a word inferring sexual intimacy when speaking of David and Jonathan’s relationship is questionable.
Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?” – 1 Samuel 20:30
The link they provide gives no explanation for their claim that the Hebrew term used in the verse refers to sexual intimacy. None seems to be even remotely inferred in the NIV translation.
It can also be easily refuted using the argument of POINT THREE – not everything recorded by the Bible is condoned (in this case, Saul could have been mistaken or lying).
POINT SIX – Old Testament, old school
All of the examples given are Old Testament ones. None occur after Jesus uttered His words as follows:
- Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Matthew 19:5-6
- “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Mark 10:6-9
From these passages, it can be inferred that Jesus was reaffirming the God-instated ideal of one man marrying one woman.
If not, why would He create just one man and one woman – instead of two men, or one man and two women?
- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
- For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh – Genesis 2:24
And why can’t two men reproduce, if they are meant to fill the Earth in a perfect God-given plan?
- As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” – Genesis 9:7
Thus, the Christian concept of the New Testament completing and superceding the Old Testament means that the examples provided by the site can be dismissed on a Scriptural, not just cultural basis.
POINT SEVEN – Old Testament, School of Very Very Hard Knocks
Most tellingly, the whole article focuses on Old Testament examples of ‘alternative marriages’ and criticizes mainstream Christians for deciding their doctrine on ‘cultural basis’.
But if the Old Testament is taken as an authoritative source, what about all the hardline warnings against homosexuality?
Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. – 1st Kings 14:22,24
The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD – to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah. – 2 Kings 23:3, 7
Rick Brentlinger uses the same old argument that every single reference to ‘homosexuality’ in not just the New Testament, but also the Old Testament actually mean ‘shrine prostitution’.
But how does this explain away all the various terms used to describe homosexual acts, such as a ‘man lying with a man’? And note that shrine prostitution is itself directly addressed in 1st Kings in different terms from ‘ordinary’ homosexuality.
See also the CLOSING POINT below.
In conclusion, I have a burden to share on something the faux-pas of POINT ONE made me think about. Whether this was a mistake out of ignorance or if it was an intentional attempt at deception, I will not conjecture.
But it makes you wonder: If the pro-homosexual apologists can make a totally invalid argument like this, what does it say of the validity of their other arguments, such as ‘The act condemned in the Bible doesn’t mean homosexuals, but male prostitutes‘, or the article’s claim that ‘The Hebrew words used to describe Jonathan and David’s love indicate romantic, emotional attachment’ ?