Rowe examines David and Jonathan's friendship in the contextof what ancient readers would have understood as the 'natural' loyalty to theirfamilies. Rowe focuses on the conflicting moral goods between which the menchoose, seeking to understand the dynamics of the narrative consonant withancient society.
Rowe discusses theoretical issues of interpretation andsummarises how Bakhtin's theory of heteroglossic voices can be utilised tounderstand the narrative. He deliberates over the key aspects of family life inthe world described by the Old Testament, surveys approaches to the study ofthe family among anthropologists and, finally, states how anthropology caninform the interpretation of the biblical text. Starting from the concept of'hegemonic masculinity', Rowe examines how men in general are presentedpositively, and then shows how Jonathan, David and Saul measure up to thesestandards. Rowe concludes that although Jonathan was disloyal to his family, something that implied readers would have censured, the books of Samuel presentthis disloyalty as honourable, thus making a theological point about fidelityto the house of David.