Letter: Saul, David, Jonathan and sex

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Robert Fisk ("Were Saul and David just good friends? Don't ask", 2 February) reports Professor Kamal Salibi's contention that Saul and David may have been lovers. Certainly Saul's relationship with David was intense but nowhere is there any suggestion of sexual involvement. Samuel announces Saul's rejection as king (1 Samuel xv, 23) before Saul even meets David. Saul adored David (1 Samuel xvi, 21), but could this be because he was the son he wished he had had? Saul had been willing to execute Jonathan (1 Samuel xiv, 44) whom he despised (1 Samuel xx, 30). Jonathan may have had sexual feelings towards David: he is not recorded as having married. But this does not mean that David gratified them. In bizarre circumstances, David had married Jonathan's sister, Michal, and he was to have many wives (2 Samuel iii, 2). More likely David used Jonathan's infatuation for his own advantage. He was clearly adept at manipulating himself into power. Only later, in Bathsheba, did he meet his match. She not only seduced him but maintained her hold over him, so ensuring that her son Solomon and not David's eldest surviving son succeeded him.

The Reverend Canon Dr Anthony Phillips

Flushing, Cornwall

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