Traumatic bonding emerges when individuals find a sense of community through shared negative experiences. Interestingly, the term "soul ties" is absent from the Bible. Our language surrounding it stems from 1 Samuel 18:1-4, where the ESV Bible notes that the souls of David and Jonathan were "knit together."
The Hebrew word for "knit" is qashar, meaning to bind or confine. While we've romanticized the relationship between David and Jonathan as that of best friends facing the challenges of a wicked king, it might actually serve as a precursor to our understanding of modern-day trauma bonding.
In the midst of their shared struggle against an unstable king and father, David and Jonathan were torn between loyalty to Saul and awareness of God's will. The unhealed parts of David, coupled with potential questions about his paternity and the disdain of his brothers, may have led him to bond with Jonathan in a way unintended by God.
Man is triune in nature: body, soul, and spirit. It was the soul of David that was knit to the soul of Jonathan. The only commanded yoking in scripture is in the context of marriage, the highest form of covenant.
While it's not suggested that Jonathan and David had romantic feelings for each other, their shared trauma led them to yoke their souls in a manner reserved for marital covenants.
Certain people enter our lives with specific assignments, and vice versa. However, this doesn't imply an intricate tying of souls. Scripture acknowledges covenants beyond marriage, such as those between kings and families for mutual benefit. This blog delves into recognizing when our attachments stem from broken places.
The soul serves as the filter of the spirit, and when we knit our souls to people unintended by God, we risk delay, denial, and disappointment—themes evident throughout David's story.
While David's life is complex and multifaceted, this post's focus is on the cautionary tale it presents. Check your circle. Cease allowing bonds forged in trauma to dictate the depth of a relationship.