The debate over homosexuality in the Bible has been battled over in vain for years, so I'm not getting into that; I'm focused on a translation question based on a single Hebrew word, qashar
, which is Strong's #H7194. In 1 Sam. 18:1/KJV the word is translated "was knit with" and the verse reads: "And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with
the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." Many cross references give Gen. 44:30/KJV because qashar
is again used in reference to the love of a father to his son: "Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in
the lad's life". It is here translated "bound up in", and since it is love of father for his son, most commentaries read that it cannot be a word of sexual nature. It is indeed the same word in both passages, qashar
Yet, in 1970 the New English Bible translated qashar
as "had given his heart to David", a phrase with strong sexual overtones and in the updated 1989 Revised English Bible, this translation was kept identical as in the NEB. Only recently did I encounter a reason given for the romantic sounding translation and it is found in a Hebrew-English Interlinear OT. I'm referring to the Zondervan Hebrew-English Interlinear OT, which can be reviewed on Amazon by searching for ISBN 978-0-310-40200-8. The rendering of qashar
in this interlinear for 1 Sam. 18:1 is "then-spirit-of Jonathan she
-became-one with-spirit-of David". The female pronoun "she" is included in the literal rendering of the word there, but the female pronoun "she" is not found in Gen. 44:30. The Hebrew qashar
is found 44 times in the OT and I've found only 3 times the female pronoun "she" is part of the literal rendering of the word, this one about Jonathan and two others that are clearly referring to women: Gn38:28 "midwife"; Josh2:21 "Rahab". The male pronoun "he" is more than 10 times used to modify qashar
in the OT and the contexts in those show it is clearly referring to men.
In the Introduction to the Zondervan Interlinear it states: "...no English words will be supplied that are not direct translations of a Hebrew word and its inflected form", therefore the "she" gives an inflected form of qashar
and is not an addition of a word to the Hebrew text. This is not unique to the Zondervan Interlinear for an interlinear online reads in similar fashion by modifying with "she":
"and soul-of Jonathan she
-was-tied in-soul-of David" https://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/1sa18.pdf
By referring to the soul/spirit of Jonathan as "she", which appears legitimate; how can it be avoided that the love of Jonathan included some sexuality? When seen along with other statements of Jonathan's love, it seems unavoidable that sexuality was meant. Studies indicate that many men are not always, 100% of the time purely heterosexual in their nature, so why would this be unusual in Jonathan's case? Has it been misleading to use Gen. 44:30 as a cross reference or instance of "comparing Scripture with Scripture", since the literal rendering of the word is different? I can think of no argument to counter this. Anyone have a substantive explanation for why sexuality (homosexuality) is not included in 1 Sam. 18:1?