The exchange of clothing between Jonathan and David is similar to the Greek custom of xenia, in which gifts are exchanged to solidify a bond of guest-friendship. Note that men across multiple cultures in the ancient world often had deep, loving and affectionate friendships with their peers. There was no shame or stigma in expressing love and support to one another.
et factum est cum conplesset loqui ad Saul
anima Ionathan conligata est animae David
et dilexit eum Ionathan quasi animam suam
tulitque eum Saul in die illa
et non concessit ei ut reverteretur in domum patris sui
inierunt autem Ionathan et David foedus
diligebat enim eum quasi animam suam
nam expoliavit se Ionathan tunicam qua erat vestitus et dedit eam David
et reliqua vestimenta sua usque ad gladium et arcum suum et usque ad balteum
egrediebatur quoque David ad omnia quaecumque misisset eum Saul
et prudenter se agebat
posuitque eum Saul super viros belli et
acceptus erat in oculis universi populi maximeque in conspectu famulorum Saul.
--1 Samuel 19:1-6
happened that when David had finished speaking with King Saul, Jonathan’s soul
united with the soul of David, and Jonathan cherished him as if he were his own
soul. On that day, King Saul took in David and did not allow him to return to
his father’s household. Jonathan and David entered into a bond, for he loved
him as if he were his own soul. And Jonathan took off his own shirt he was
wearing and gave it to David, and clothed him in his own clothes, even his own
sword and bow and war belt. And David went out wherever Saul sent him, and
David performed his tasks wisely, and Saul gave him management over his warriors.
David was well respected in the eyes of the entire nation, especially in the
servants of Saul’s own household.
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