Camaraderie, Not Homosexuality

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Writers often use comparative language to describe uncommon experience.  Using common shared experience as reference, good writers will establish the common to accentuate the uncommon.  I think this is what the author of 2 Samuel was doing when describing the relationship between David and Jonathan.  To assume that homosexuality is in view when David says that Jonathan’s love for him surpassed the love of women is to be ignorant of the usage of language in context.

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.

2 Samuel 1:26

Enrich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, uses similar language to describe the relationship a soldier, Paul Baumer, shares with his comrades.  Surely no one accuses Baumer of homosexuality.  Clearly Remarque is using comparative language to evoke the intense love one can have for a lover to provide reference for those that have not had the opportunity to experience such intense camaraderie.

At once a new warmth flows through me.  These voices, these quiet words, these footsteps in the trench behind me recall me at a bound from the terrible loneliness and fear of death by which I had been almost destroyed.  They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades.

I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness; – I belong to them and they to me; we all share the same fear and the same life, we are nearer than lovers, in a simpler, a harder way; I could bury my face in them, in these voices, these words that have saved me and will stand by me.

Remarque, Enrich Maria. All Quiet on the Western Front; pg. 212

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