Did David dance naked?

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Did David dance naked?

Postby Maverick » Sat May 14, 2016 8:48 am

A very close, non-naturist friend of mine posted the following joke on Facebook last night:

Q: "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"
A: "None, because dancing is a sin."

My friend does not believe that dancing is a sin; he simply posted this for laughs. I, also trying to be funny, replied that David danced naked or nearly naked before the Lord (2 Samuel 6, specifically verses 14-23).

My friend pointed out that there is nothing in the passage to indicate that David was wearing nothing but an ephod (verse 14) and he contends that the way David "exposed himself" or "uncovered himself," as Michal puts it, was that David was not wearing his kingly attire and not acting how a king should act.

In the parallel passage, 1 Chronicles 15, verse 27 says that David was clothed in a robe of fine linen and also wearing a linen ephod, which seems to indicate that he was covered up.

This does not affect my Christian views toward naturism or my acceptance of naturism as a valid way of life in any way; I simply would like to hear some perspectives on this topic. Even my prudish parents and Sunday School teachers told us that David probably danced naked or almost naked as he rejoiced before the Lord, per the 2 Samuel 6 account; and that Michal called David out on his "indecency," to which David replied that he would become even more undignified before the Lord.

2 Samuel 6: http://biblehub.com/esv/2_samuel/6.htm
1 Chronicles 15: http://biblehub.com/esv/1_chronicles/15.htm

Some analyses I have looked over:
http://www.bereanwife.net/2009/10/did-david-dance-before-the-lord-naked/
http://www.doesgodexist.org/JulAug06/DancingNakedorUnderstandingBadly.html
http://dustoffthebible.com/Blog-archive/2015/11/23/no-king-david-never-danced-naked-before-the-lord/
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby MoNatureMan » Sat May 14, 2016 11:41 am

Quick research of the text indicates David was 'almost naked'. Also from what I understand, that would not have been a big deal in society at that time, except David was the King. His wife did not approve of his attire, making clear reference to the partial nudity. David defended his partial nudity as 'not a bad thing', even in the worship of God. Also interesting is, Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death, which was considered a curse in that day.

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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby Petros » Sat May 14, 2016 12:00 pm

I wish I still had my book on Carithian German.

In it there was a collection of folk songs. One describes a village dance, when the young ladies of Xdorf, respondimg to the music, "leap so high you can see the " - well, it loses a little in the translation and the spell censor would not like an accurate rendering. But you get the picture.

99.44% probabity, David was wearing his kilt after the style of the true Scot, and his leaps were in Michal's eyes excessive.

Not nudity - exuberance heedless of modesty.

And I will bet everyone but Michal was fine with it, admiring both his zeal for the ark and his athletic ability.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby naturist » Sat May 14, 2016 6:03 pm

From what I remember off the fig leaf forum, an ephod was a small vest usally worn over a priests robe.
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby Maverick » Sun May 15, 2016 8:04 am

MoNatureMan wrote:Quick research of the text indicates David was 'almost naked'. Also from what I understand, that would not have been a big deal in society at that time, except David was the King. His wife did not approve of his attire, making clear reference to the partial nudity. David defended his partial nudity as 'not a bad thing', even in the worship of God. Also interesting is, Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death, which was considered a curse in that day.


I agree Ron. One of the links I posted said that the same passage in Chronicles might have been embellished a bit to emphasize that David was covered up, though if nudity or partial nudity was considered acceptable in that time, I am not sure why the Chronicler would have embellished the story, if he embellished the story.

naturist wrote:From what I remember off the fig leaf forum, an ephod was a small vest usally worn over a priests robe.


That is my understanding too. One question I would have is, Why did David wear an ephod at all if he was not a priest?

My friend noted that if David only wore the ephod, he would have been violating the Torah. I replied by noting that David also violated the Torah when he ate the showbread in the tabernacle. :shock:

Petros wrote:I wish I still had my book on Carithian German.


Petros, this is off topic, but since I too speak some German, what is Carithian German? Google is not telling me.
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby MoNatureMan » Sun May 15, 2016 9:12 am

David was of the tribe of Judah not Levi (tribe set aside by God as Priests) and could not have served as priest, From what I understand the ephod on its own was just a piece of clothing. I may be wrong, but I do not see a violation of the Law in that case.

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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby bn2bnude » Sun May 15, 2016 10:13 am

MoNatureMan wrote:David was of the tribe of Judah not Levi (tribe set aside by God as Priests) and could not have served as priest, From what I understand the ephod on its own was just a piece of clothing. I may be wrong, but I do not see a violation of the Law in that case.

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I think you raise a good point Ron... On the other hand, there are some indications in David's story that he assumed not only Kingship but also, when he took the bread from the alter when he and his men were hungry, that he also assumed some role of a priest as well. I don't think this was, however, one of those things that was recognized until after Christ.
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby bn2bnude » Sun May 15, 2016 10:27 am

Most of us here are "western" Christians. Many have never been to a second world or third world country where nudity (not as recreational) is just a part of life.

I remember, for instance, being on a vacation on an Island belonging to Honduras nearly 30 years ago. Not a Naturist vacation by any stretch of the imagination. On the other hand, we took a walk down the island and ran into a couple of women doing their wash in a stream topless with no thought of it.

I remember Nathan (natman) telling about a tribe in Africa where the missionaries brought in clothing to make them more "decent" but ended up having to have them wear more traditional dress as the clothing was actually a distraction in worship due to the women comparing clothes. (I may have butchered the story).

Where I was going with this is, I believe we have sanitized the Bible a lot. For instance when was the last (or even the first) time you've heard someone preach from Ezekiel 23. One of the hardest things for many to remember is that none of the Bible was written in 20th century western thought. To help break that, a book I read some time ago now helped... "Mis-reading Scripture Through Western Eyes"
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1 NLT)



If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby jasenj1 » Sun May 15, 2016 4:50 pm

I like Petros' kilt comparison. My understanding is that men in the Middle East do not wear underwear under the traditional robes - underwear is considered unsanitary. Roll the cultural dial back a few thousand years to when cloth was expensive and it is likely men did not bother with undergarments (perhaps one of the reasons undergarments are especially mentioned in the high priest's outfit. But I digress.). So David frolicking about in a short, light robe of some sort could easily expose his nether regions - a very undignified and unkingly thing.

When I took a short term missions trip to central Africa, many of the up to teenage boys who ran around in the fields tending the cattle were nude. It was nothing to see prepubescent children running around nude. And the women worked with their tops off - being topless was a sign of being engaged in physical labor. We did the first baptism that group of believers had ever done, and the women lined up along the irrigation ditch where we did the baptizing with no tops on. The "poorer" a culture is, the less money and effort they have to invest in clothing - both buying and caring about.
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby natman » Wed May 25, 2016 4:46 pm

Based on the response of David's wife, Michal, he was indeed "half-naked"... the bottom half, making the sight of him "offensive" and "vulgar" to the slave girls of his servants.

An ephod is a short vest that was usually worn by priests or kings over a tunic. It was a place to add symbols of conquest or class level so that they could easily be moved to another outfit. It barely went down to the waist.
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby balaam » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:42 pm

The Levitical rules for the High Priests garments include underwear so that when he mounts the steps to the altar his genitalia should not be exposed. It is fair to conclude from this that at the time of Moses the ordinary people went commando.

Fast forward to David. No underwear worn and dancing in a way that his genitalia was exposed. The complaint seems to be that this behaviour was unbecoming for a king. The curse goes to the one who complained about the exposure.
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Re: Did David dance naked?

Postby Maverick » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:54 pm

Balaam, thanks for bringing this topic back. I just reread all the responses since I first posed the question and I tend to think y'all are correct in your assessments. As bn2bnude and jasenj1 pointed out, we as "western" Christians have lost sight of Middle Eastern culture, especially at that time, and various degrees of dress and undress are also misunderstood.
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