The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The true meaning of covenant

OP/ED
 The true meaning of covenant
The true meaning of covenant

The true meaning of covenant

I think it is extremely important to address the OP/ED piecesubmitted by Professor George Henson that ran in The DailyCampus on Friday.

I don’t claim to know whether the entire covenant (a veryimportant word that we will address later) of marriage between aman and a woman will be shattered if Congress does not passlegislation to ban gay marriages. My marriage will mean just asmuch to me whether or not the gay marriage legislation is passed.But I do know that it is absolutely unacceptable to take two versesout of the Bible and twist them to fit your personal views on theissue.

Here’s the problem: Professor Henson cites I Samuel 18:1and 3. Here he claims that the use of the word covenant signifiesthat Jonathan and David were married — that they were lovers— and that God blessed that relationship. That is absolutely,without a doubt, incorrect. The word covenant is not used in theBible only to explain a marriage commitment. A marriage and acovenant are not one in the same. Sometimes the word covenant istalking about a marriage, but in this instance with Jonathan andDavid, it is not referring to marriage.

Professor Henson states in his column that the Hebrew word usedfor covenant in this instance is used elsewhere in the OldTestament to mean marriage. This is simply untrue. The wordcovenant is used in the Old Testament to mean marriage in someplaces, but the specific Hebrew word beriyth, used inProfessor Henson’s reference, is the same Hebrew word used inthe following reference:

Genesis 9:11: “Thus I establish my covenant with you;Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood;never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”This is from the story about Noah’s ark — you know, theone with the rainbow? Remember? The rainbow was a sign ofGod’s covenant. Do you think it meant that God was going tomarry Noah and that they were going to have sex? I don’t. Itwas a promise. God makes covenants with his people throughout theBible and never once is he talking about how he’s going tomarry them. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of theBible defines the Hebrew word in these two passages to mean atreaty, alliance or agreement, not a marriage.

If the Hebrew definition of covenant is not enough proof,Biblical scholars agree that all evidence to purport a homosexualrelationship between Jonathan and David is invalid. David’snumerous wives and his attraction to Bathsheba (II Samuel 11)support his heterosexuality. Scripture used in an attempt to provehim gay includes the scripture stating that David strips in frontof Jonathan (I Samuel 18:4) and a reference to he and Jonathankissing (I Samuel 20:41). David’s stripping refers to himremoving his royal robes and armor (only the top layer of hisclothing — he was not naked), as was custom in that day, agesture of respect. People often link the reference of Davidstripping with a reference of the two kissing. Kissing between menwas another custom of that time, and the two events happen twochapters apart — not simultaneously.

In I Samuel, God is using David and Jonathan’srelationship — that covenant — to establish an exampleof deep-seeded, God-led friendship. The word covenant in the Biblemeans promise. A promise in marriage, a promise not to flood theearth again, a promise between two men to be friends througheverything, a promise to give eternal life…

The greatest example of a covenant in the Bible is the covenantmade by God to his people when he sent his son, Jesus, as apromise, a covenant, that we may receive eternal life. Hebrews 9:15says, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a newcovenant, that those who are called may receive the promisedeternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to setthem free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”I don’t think this has anything to do with marriage.It’s a promise — a promise that is only like marriagein that it has the same permanency as a marriage does.

You can support the same-sex marriage ban or not. That is yourconstitutional right. And please, contact your local congressionalrepresentative and let your opinion be known. But please refrainfrom picking and choosing verses from the Bible to suit yourpurpose. If you’re going to use scripture as an argument forsomething, know the context of that scripture and its purpose inthe overall vision of the Bible — have some working knowledgeof the Bible as a whole. Otherwise, use different referencematerial to support your views — something that actuallyworks.

 

Sarah Piland is a senior journalism major. She can be reachedat [email protected].

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