Same Sex Relationships and Homosexual Relationships - A Distinction

The Bible and Same Sex Relationships

The Parable of Heterosexual Marriage

Questions and Answers

Other Bible Topics



Note, before reading this page, we recommend that you firstly read "Same Sex Relationships and Homosexual relationships – a Distinction" in order to see that the two are not the same thing. In that article, we show that the Bible does not condemn all same-sex relationships – Father/Son, Mother/Daughter; brother/brother, sister/sister relationships are same-sex, yet the Bible actively encourages and promotes such relationships. What the Bible does speak against is Homosexual relationships, as we show here.

On his website advocating Homosexual relationships amongst Christadelphians, "Gareth Chambers" (a pseudonym), in his Questions and Answers section, answers the following question thus:

“Are there really affirmations of same sex relationships in the Bible?
I believe there are, yes. I'm working on a page about them.”

Once it is recognized that "GC" uses the term “same sex relationships” in a disingenuous way, it will also be recognized that of course the Bible affirms same-sex relationships. It is full of Mothers, Fathers, sisters and brothers; it affirms many same-sex relationships. However, it does not affirm Homosexual relationships.

Whilst we would not wish to preempt anything that "GC" might have to say on the page he says he is currently preparing, there are three examples in Scripture of same-sex relationships that are often used by Homosexuals in order to justify their behaviour. These are: Ruth & Naomi, David & Jonathan, Daniel & Ashpenaz. We propose to look at each of these in turn:


The relationship that the Bible describes between Ruth and Naomi is a very beautiful one. Naomi was an Israelitish woman, who went to the land of Moab when there was famine in Israel, with her husband, and their two sons. In Moab, the husband, and both of the sons died, leaving only Naomi, and her sons’ wives, whom they had married there: Orpah, and Ruth. Naomi expressed her purpose to return back to her own land, and Ruth, being loyal to her mother in law, desired to go back with her. These are her wonderful words of trust and allegiance:

“do not urge me to leave you, or to go back from following after you. For wherever you go, I go; and wherever you stop over, I stop over. Your people is my people, and your Elohim is my Elohim” (Ruth 1:16).

A few verses earlier, we read of how Ruth held fast to Naomi:

“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her” (v 14 – AV).

Here, the Hebrew word for “clave” translates the same Hebrew word which is used to describe the Heterosexual relationship of marriage between Adam and Eve’s children:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Because the same word is used, it is suggested that Ruth and Naomi’s close relationship was a sexual one.

However, the same word is used many times in Scripture, with many different connotations, each of which depend on the context. The word itself simply means “to cling, or adhere to”, and is used of Israel’s relationship with their God:

“Thou shalt fear the Yahweh thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave and swear by his name” (Deuteronomy 10:20).

Here, the context plainly precludes sexual relations – it is simply saying that men must “cling to” or “adhere to” Yahweh, swearing by his name. Again, Deuteronomy 28, verses 21 and 60 reads:

“Yahweh shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it ... Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee”

Once again, the context is not of sexual relations, but of a pestilence clinging to Yahweh’s rebellious people for their sins. Again, Psalm 22:15, a Messianic Psalm reads:

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death”.

Obviously, there is nothing sexual about this – it is speaking of the sufferings of Messiah.

From the way in which this word is used (and a simple use of a concordance will reveal many other passages), it is quite plain that although it can have sexual connotations, referring to the manner in which a man becomes joined to his wife, it can also be used in entirely different contexts, to describe a variety of different things. So the case is hardly proved. Given the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual relationships elsewhere, it is hardly likely that such characters of faith would engage in it.


David’s expression of love for Jonathan is a classic passage, often used to justify homosexual relationships. Speaking of his grief at Jonathan’s death, David said:

“I am very distressed for you, my brother Jonathan. You have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was wondrous, surpassing the love of women …” (2 Samuel 1:26).

Here, it is said, David is expressing his homosexual love for Jonathan – and indeed, the website we are countering gives this as one example of such a relationship.
However, it is important to note that nothing of a sexual nature is stated in the verse. Rather than being a sexual relationship, David states that his relationship was such that Jonathan was his “brother”. Jonathan loved David as a brother – and that love was so great, it surpassed the natural love which one would have for women. That does not state that it was sexual love, but that it was love on a higher spiritual plane than natural love.

One point which must be brought to bear on this matter is the fact that both Jonathan and David lived under the Law of Moses. And as even "GC" acknowledges, the Law of Moses did prohibit homosexual relationships:

“if a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Lev 20:13).

"GC" argues that as we are no longer under the Law of Moses, this verse does not apply to us. But David and Jonathan were under that law – it did apply to them, and if they were having homosexual relations, then the law would condemn them to death.

There are some further points which are sometimes advanced to support the claim that David and Jonathan were homosexuals. We comment on these briefly as follows:

“...the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” (KJV)

The argument has been expressed as follows:

“Most translations use the term "soul" rather than "spirit" to describe the bond. They speak of an "immediate bond of love", their souls being "in unison," their souls being "knit", etc. Genesis 2:7, as written in the original Hebrew, describes how God blew the spirit into the body of Adam that God had formed from earth, so that Adam became a living soul. This means that "soul", in the ancient Israelite times, represents a combination of body and spirit. Thus the two men appear to have loved each other both physically and emotionally.”

However this is reading into the text something which is not stated: the text does not state that Jonathan and David experienced sexual relations; it rather states that they were knit together in love. This expression is picked up in the New Testament to describe the relationship which should exist between believers in Christ: “that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love …” (Colossians 2:2). As the context in Colossians plainly shows, the union being referred to is a love of brethren, not sexual union.

"Now Saul's daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased. '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'. Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law" (1 Samuel 18:20-21 - NIV)

In the King James Version, the end of Verse 21 reads:

"Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the one of the twain." (KJV)

The argument is expressed as follows:

“Saul's belief was that David would be so distracted by a wife that he would not be an effective fighter and would be killed by the Philistines. He offered first his daughter Merab, but that was rejected, presumably by her. Then he offered Michal. There is an interesting phrase used at the end of verse 21. In both the NIV and KJV, it would seem that David's first opportunity to be a son-in-law was with the older daughter Merab, and his second was with the younger daughter Michal. The KJV preserves the original text in its clearest form; it implies that David would become Saul's son-in-law through "one of the twain." "Twain" means "two", so the verse seems to refer to one of Saul's two daughters. Unfortunately, this is a mistranslation. The underlined phrase "the one of" does not exist in the Hebrew original. The words are shown in italics in the King James Version; this is an admission by the translators that they made the words up. Thus, if the KJV translators had been truly honest, they would have written:

"Thou shalt this day be my son-in-law, in the twain."

In modern English, this might be written: "Today, you are son-in-law with two of my children" That would refer to both his son Jonathan and his daughter Michal. The Hebrew original would appear to recognize David and Jonathan's homosexual relationship as equivalent to David and Michal's heterosexual marriage. Saul may have approved or disapproved of the same-sex relationship; but at least he appears to have recognized it. The KJV highlight their re-writing of the Hebrew original by placing the three words in italics; the NIV translation is clearly deceptive.”

This might seem plausible to some, but the proposed “modern English” rendering is interpretative, not literally in accord with the text. For example, whilst the writer criticizes the AV translators for inserting the words “the one of” (note: in order to give a proper grammatical sense in English, it will be noted that the translators often need to add inconsequential words to the text) he himself has to insert the words “of my children”, which are not in the original. Moreover, no translation to our knowledge so renders the Hebrew text, which means that none of the translators agree with the comment.

Young’s Literal disposes of the difficulty in the text as follows:

"and Saul saith, ‘I give her to him, and she is to him for a snare, and the hand of the Philistines is on him;’ and Saul saith unto David, ‘By the second—thou dost become my son-in-law to-day."

Again, we emphasise that homosexuality relationships were specifically condemned under the Yahweh’s Law that David and Jonathan lived under. How could Yahweh call David a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), if he performed sexual acts which He considered to be “abomination” and worthy of death?

"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." (1 Samuel 20:41 - NIV)

The argument is expressed as follows:

"Other translations have a different ending to the verse:

"...and they kissed one another and wept with one another, until David exceeded." (KJV)

"...and they kissed one another and wept with one another until David got control of himself." (Amplified Bible)

"and they sadly shook hands, tears running down their cheeks until David could weep no more." (Living Bible)

"They kissed each other and wept together until David got control of himself." (Modern Language)

"They kissed each other and wept aloud together." (New American Bible)

"Then David and Jonathan kissed each other. They cried together, but David cried the most." (New Century Version)

"Then the kissed one another and shed tears together, until David's grief was even greater than Jonathan's." (Revised English Bible)

"...and they kissed one another and wept with one another until David recovered himself." (Revised Standard Version)

The translators of the Living Bible apparently could not handle the thought of two adult men kissing, so they mistranslated the passage by saying that the two men shook hands! This is somewhat less than honest. The original Hebrew text says that they kissed each other and wept together until David became great. The word which means "great" in this passage is "gadal" in the original Hebrew. The same word is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures to refer to King Solomon being greater than all other kings. Some theologians interpret "gadal" in this verse as indicating that David had an erection. However, the thoughts of David becoming sexually aroused after kissing Jonathan is too threatening for Bible translators, so they either deleted the ending entirely or created one of their own”.

The position advocated here is so speculative that it hardly worthy of any attention, but we include it for the sake of completeness. The word “gadal” is never used in a sexual sense in Scripture, so the suggestion is entirely without foundation. The sense of the verse is expressed in some of the above and other translations thus: “and they wept together, but David more so” (The Scriptures). The sense of “great” is there, in that David’s grief was greater than Jonathan’s. These men were grieving, not experiencing sexual lusts. To impose a sexual sense upon these words is to import an idea into the text which is not found there, and is to slander two of Yahweh’s holy ones.


Here, the argument is expressed thus:

Daniel 1:9 refers to Ashpenaz, the chief of the court officials of Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. Various English translations differ greatly:

"Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel" (NIV)

"Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs" (KJV)

"Now God made Daniel to find favor, compassion and loving-kindness with the chief of the eunuchs" (Amplified Bible)

"Now, as it happens, God had given the superintendent a special appreciation for Daniel and sympathy for his predicament" (Living Bible)

"Then God granted Daniel favor and sympathy from the chief of the eunuchs" (Modern Language)

"Though God had given Daniel the favor and sympathy of the chief chamberlain..." (New American Bible)

"God made Ashpenaz want to be kind and merciful to Daniel" (New Century Version)

"And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs" (Revised Standard Version)

"God caused the master to look on Daniel with kindness and goodwill" (Revised English Version)

The Hebrew words which describe the relationship between Daniel and Ashpenaz are chesed v'rachamim. The most common translation of chesed is “mercy”. V'rachamim is in a plural form which is used to emphasize its relative importance. It has multiple meanings: “mercy” and “physical love”. It is unreasonable that the original Hebrew would read that Ashpenaz “showed mercy and mercy.” A more reasonable translation would thus be that Ashpenaz “showed mercy and engaged in physical love” with Daniel. Of course, this would be unacceptable to later translators, so they substitute more innocuous terms. The KJV reference to “tender love” would appear to be the closest to the truth. One might question whether Daniel and Ashpenaz could sexually consummate their relationship. They were both eunuchs. Apparently, when males are castrated after puberty, they still retain sexual drive. It is interesting to note that no other romantic interest or sexual partner of Daniel was mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.”

However, it ought to be pointed out that V'rachamim is not used in Scripture to describe sexual acts, or sexual love. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word carries the sense of “compassion”, as well as mercy and it is so rendered in 1 Kings 8:50 and 2 Chronicles 30:9 in the KJV. So, the verse is simply stating that Asphenaz showed “mercy and compassion” to Daniel. There is no hint here of anything sexual in their relationship. Again, Daniel is mentioned in Scripture as being a character of righteousness (Ezekiel 14:14,20) – how could this be so, if he willingly disobeyed Yahweh’s Law which he was under, that condemned Homosexual relationships in the strongest of terms?


Whilst the Bible quite plainly portrays each of these righteous men and women as having wonderful and beautiful same-sex relationships, there is no evidence to indicate there was anything sexual about them. In fact, all the evidence, as we have shown, is to the contrary. To claim that these outstanding men and women of faith were homosexuals – that is, they practiced a behaviour which is resoundly condemned by the Bible, is to place a slur on their character. We fear for those who would raise such a slander upon the Holy Ones of Yahweh, for they will also have to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give account of themselves and their words (Matthew 12:36).