The Funny Thing about Michele Bachmann and Jonathan

Bachmann as Jonathan with the armor bearer from 1st Samuel. (MinnPost photo illustration by Corey Anderson)

As reported by Eric Black at MinnPost, Michele Bachmann recently used a speech to make an extended analogy between herself and the biblical character, Jonathan.  Black writes,

Please, let me hasten to reiterate. I am not saying that Bachmann suffers from a literal delusion that she is the biblical Jonathan. Only that she is inspired by Jonathan and believes that, if the American people will play the role of Jonathan’s very trusting armor bearer, and will make her president, and will put their unquestioning faith in her, she can lead them to great victories over their problems of today, just as Jonathan led the Israelites over the Philistines in the second millennium BCE.

The troubling thing about the analogy — if you take it seriously enough to be troubled by it — is that Jonathan didn’t have a real plan for defeating the Philistines. As the Bible portrays the incident, Jonathan apparently had a feeling or a message of some kind from God that if he would just throw himself at the Philistines, God would provide a miraculous victory of one soldier (and one armor bearer) over an entire army.

David and Jonathan The Biblical account of David and Jonathan has been read by some as the story of two lovers. "La Somme le Roy", 1290 AD; French illuminated ms (detail); British Museum

Jonathan’s servant, his armor bearer in the story, representing the American people in Bachmann’s analogy, agreed to follow Jonathan. And, although it would be crazy for two men to attack an entire army unless they were confident of divine intervention, it worked out for Jonathan and the armor bearer, according to the Bible, presumably because of divine intervention. By drawing the analogy, Bachmann suggests that a similar leap of faith will work out for the American people if they will unquestioningly follow Bachmann into battle against the problems that beset them, even though the battle plan, like Jonathan’s, is long on faith and a little short on concrete earthly details.

Black goes on to write about how strange it is that Bachmann would spend a long time going into the details of a biblical story at a secular venue like the RightOnline conference.

But there’s something else interesting about the vehemently anti-gay Bachmann calling herself a Jonathan-of-sorts: many biblical scholars believe that the love between Jonathan and David was, in fact, a homoerotic love.

I’m sure that Bachmann does not hold to this interpretation, but I found it too synergistic to let pass.

  • http://getoutfromunderit.blogspot.com Andy Sherwin

    Times like these that the whole “biblical inerrancy” thing becomes “NO WAIT DID I SAY ‘LITERAL’ BECAUSE WHAT I MEANT WAS FIGURATIVE BECAUSE IT’S ALLEGORY AND GAYS ARE EVIL AND SOMETHING SOMETHING SOCIAL SECURITY WAIT WHAT WERE WE TALKING ABOUT”

    The GOP debate tonight–the tea party GOP debate, no less–is going to do some wonderful things to my funnybone and some catastrophic things to my liver.

  • http://jmsmith.org JM Smith

    This post would have been so much better without the mention of the fringe pseudo-scholarship idea that Jonathan was gay. Giving credence to such a bogus position detracts from the very good and valid main point of your post, Tony.

    • Charles

      So, JM, you KNOW the Jonathan/David gay thing is “bogus” how?

  • Tracy Fitzgerald

    Um… Jonathan ends up dead along with his father, leaving David to claim all the glory (in YHWH’s name of course); so if Bachmann likens herself to Jonathan, who does she liken David to?

    Also, I find it hard to believe that Bachmann would have anything to do with an ANALogy.

  • http://tomryberg.wordpress.com TR

    @JM Smith – And how much of that scholarship have you actually encountered? What articles, books, etc. have informed your opinion that this position is “fringe” and “bogus”?

  • http://getoutfromunderit.blogspot.com Andy Sherwin

    Mentioning something is not “credence.” He mentioned that some people think it, which, in the context of this discussion, considering Bachmann’s views on homosexuality and the popular (if not baseless) theories about her husband’s sexuality, are completely relevant.

  • http://finalinsurrection.blogspot.com/ Lock

    That is not a very appealing picture of Michele. Her leg usually look a lot better in a skirt than that.


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