Ruth and Naomi

John H has made an excellent point over on Boars Head.

Thinking about it further, this may be where Ruth & Naomi and David & Jonathan become relevant. I don’t think for a moment they can be taken as examples of sexual same-sex relationships. Nor is either of them an exact parallel for the celibate lesbian relationship described by Chambers. However, they demonstrate the variety of forms which non-marital relationships can take.

It does also seem to me that Ruth’s declaration to Naomi in Ruth 1:16-17 goes beyond the “normal” sister-in-law/mother-in-law relationship. Not to suggest for a moment that it represents even a celibate “lesbian” relationship; rather, I can see the force of the argument that Ruth is covenanting herself to Naomi in the same way she covenants herself to the people of Israel and to Israel’s God. Similarly the covenantal relationship of David and Jonathan (as described in 1 Samuel 18 to 20) goes significantly beyond the “normal” scope of friendship as we would understand it.

I repeat: all I am saying here is that these provide support for the notion that the biblical distinction is not between marriage and “singleness”, but between the sexual relationship-in-community of marriage and a diverse range of other forms of non-sexual relationship-in-community outside it. In that context, the arrangements described by Chambers may be unusual, and for some people might be unwise (due to the temptations involved), but I can’t see how you can say there is a “cut and dry” biblical case against them.

I’m going to have to think about this further tomorrow. Can’t do it tonight as my son has just gone to sleep in the room where my commentaries are!!!

1 Comment on “Ruth and Naomi

  1. I was delighted to read this from John H. It is pretty much what I have been trying to formulate this afternoon (only better expressed!) I will be very interested to see what Peter makes of it.

    Just as an aside at this point – I have been delighted to discover Peter’s blog since February. It is doing me a great deal of good to have my assumptions challenged!

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