in the Bible
This page is about companions, but love is an important part of that.
There are 280 verses in the King James Version of the bible that contain the word love.
You won’t find them on this page. You can consult any good concordance to find them.
You will find four stories of intimate love here, and three examples of important Bible characters who share companionship with others.
Jesus is not one of the three. But everyone knows that, in addition to his twelve disciples, he had many more--Martha, Mary, Lazarus, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, et. al.
Isaac and Rebekah
Strangely enough, the first story of love between a man and a woman is not included. A more essential event characterized the story of Adam and Eve.
You will find the first story of mutual love in Genesis 24.
Isaac’s father, Abraham, wanted a wife for Isaac. He sent a faithful servant back to the home country to seek one. The servant brought Rebekah back to Abraham to be Isaac’s wife.
Did Isaac like the choice? Consider for yourself. Isaac dearly loved his mother. When she died, he was inconsolable. The Bible says that when Isaac saw Rebekah, he was comforted after his mother’s death. He took Rebekah into his mother’s tent to be his wife.
Seven Long Years
for the Wrong Woman
The second love story involves their twin sons, Esau and Jacob. It is found in Genesis 29.
The story begins with betrayal and ends with betrayal, but it all works out.
Isaac loved Jacob’s twin brother Esau more than he loved Jacob. By trickery Jacob stole Esau’s blessing and his birthright, that is, his inheritance.
Esau was understandably angry. He breathed threats and hatred toward Jacob.
Rebekah loved Jacob the most. She arranged to get Jacob out of Esau’s reach. She reminded Isaac that their children were supposed to marry someone from their own kinship group–unlike Esau who married a local girl.
She suggested they send Jacob to her brother’s home to find a wife. Isaac agreed and away Jacob went.
And it seemed the right thing to Jacob. Not only was he safe from Esau, he saw in Laban’s tent the love light of his life.
He dickered with Laban for the hand of Rachael. Rachael had an older sister, Leah. The oldest daughter was supposed to marry first. But if Jacob worked for Laban for seven years, surely Leah would be married by then. Rachael would be free to marry Jacob.
The years seemed to go by in a night.
There was a great wedding feast. Wine flowed freely. There was music and dancing. Finally, at the appropriate time the heavily veiled bride was brought in. The couple entered the marriage tent. The marriage was consummated.
The next morning Jacob was filled with anticipation of seeing his lovely bride.
Laban had betrayed him. The woman in the wedding bed was Leah.
How could Laban do such a thing? Well, he pointed out. Jacob did know the eldest daughter had to be married first. No one wanted Leah. So, if Jacob wanted Rachael, he had to marry Leah so Rachael would be free to marry. But if Jacob would work seven more years....
So, Jacob wound up with two wives.
A Daughter comes into the Picture
The third story is one of defilement and deceit. It is a fascinating story, the story of Shechem and Dinah. Dinah was one of Jacob’s children. But you will have to go to
and read this story for yourself.
A Beautiful Short Story
The fourth story is one of the loveliest stories in the Bible. Benjamin Franklin read it to his companions at a dinner party as a short story. The guests, unaware that it was from the Bible, proclaimed it the perfect love story. They refused to believe it was in the Bible until Franklin showed them a copy of the Bible and the book of Ruth.
If you are not familiar with Ruth, you should read it for yourself.
Basically, it is the story of a Jewish family who left their homeland during a famine. They went to Moab and settled there. The two sons married Moabite women.
Afterward, the man died, then the two sons died. The older woman, Naomi, told her daughters-in-law that since she had no family in Moab, she would return to Israel to seek help there.
The two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, offered to go with her. Naomi told them to go back home in Moab where they might find husbands. After some persuasion, Orpah agreed. Ruth, insistimng that they remain companions, made the famous speech often quoted in wedding ceremonies:
Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
The love story takes place after this, though this itself is a moving story of devotion.
In Israel, Ruth catches the eye of Boaz. Naomi instructs Ruth on how to capture the affections of this wealthy land owner. She does. Boaz arranges with his companions and the proper relative to get the right of marriage to Ruth through a legal ceremony. The couple marry and have a child who is the grandfather of David.
Read the complete story in the Book of Ruth. It’s a good read. Ask Benjamin Franklin’s dinner guests!
Companionship is not restricted to relations between men and women–as we saw with Naomi and Ruth.
Three examples are the companions the Bible mentions for David, Ezra, and Paul.
That David had companions is indicated in the Psalms when he speaks of man’s ingratitude to man in Psalms 35:11-16; 38:20; 41:9; 109:4,5
But the Bible is more specific.
Friendship of, with Hiram, king of Tyre (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1)
Toi, to promote the friendship of David (2 Samuel 8:10)
Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-4;;23:16-18; 2 Samuel 1:17-27;9:1-13)
Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:23)
Nahash (2 Samuel 10:2)
Hushai (2 Samuel 15:32-37;;17:1-22)
Ittai (2 Samuel 15:19-21)
Daniel A descendant of Ithamar (Ezra 8:2; Nehemiah 10:6
Eliphelet (Ezra 8:13
Hashbadana (Nehemiah 8:4)
Aristarchus Acts 19:29;20:4;27:2; Colossians 4:10; Philemon 1:24
Artemas Titus 3:12
His nephew (Acts 23:16)
Priscilla and Aquila (Romans 0016:3,4)
Timothy, and Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:19,20,22,25
And many more, not the least of which is Luke.
Of course, this doesn’t scratch the surface of love and companionship stories in the Bible. Some you have to dig for, like one of my favorites, Hosea and Gomer. Others are quite apparent, like The Song of Solomon.
But the greatest love story in the world is the story of a God Who would shuck off divinity and become a vulnerable baby because of love for all humanity. Check it out at John 3.16-17.