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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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(jah' uh thuhn) Personal name meaning, “Yahweh gave.” 1. A Levite who served as priest of Micah in Ephraim and later with tribe of Dan (Judges 17-18 ). 2 . Eldest son of King Saul; mother: Ahinroam; brothers: Abinadab, Malchishua and Ish-baal; sisters Merab and Michal; son Mephibosheth (Meribbaal).

Jonathan possessed courage, fidelity, and friendship. He led 1,000 soldiers to defeat the Philistines at Geba (Gibeah) (1 Samuel 13:2-3 ). Then Jonathan took only his armor-bearer to the rocky crags at Michmash and brought panic to the Philistines by killing twenty of them (1 Samuel 14:1-16 ). Saul discovered that Jonathan was missing, called for the ark of God, went to battle, and defeated the Philistines. Jonathan ate honey, unaware that Saul had forbidden the people to eat that day. Saul would have had Jonathan put to death, but the people spoke in praise of Jonathan and ransomed him from death (1 Samuel 14:27-46 ).

The next four accounts about Jonathan focus on his friendship with David. First, Jonathan formed a close friendship with David by giving him his robe, armor, sword, bow, and girdle (1 Samuel 18:1-5 ). Second, Jonathan pleaded successfully with Saul to reinstate David (1 Samuel 19:1-7 ). Third, Jonathan left Saul's table angrily to inform David that the king would never receive David again (1 Samuel 20:1-42 ). Fourth, Jonathan held a final meeting with David at Horesh. They made covenant with one another as Jonathan acknowledged David as the next king (1 Samuel 23:16-18 ).

The end of 1Samuel reports the end of Saul and three of his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Melchishua, at Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:1-13 ). Their bodies were first hung on the wall of Beth-shan and later retrieved to Jabesh. Eventually, David had the bones buried in the land of Benjamin, in Zela in the tomb of Kish, Jonathan's grandfather (2 Samuel 21:12-14 ). See Saul; David; Mephibosheth .

3. Son of Abiathar the priest in service to David (2 Samuel 15:24; 2Samuel 17:17,2 Samuel 17:20; 1 Kings 1:42-43 ).

4. An uncle of David who functioned as counselor and scribe in the royal court (1 Chronicles 27:32 ).

5. Son of Shimea or Shimeah, David's brother; slew a Philistine giant (2 Samuel 21:21; 1 Chronicles 20:7 ).

6. Son of Shammah; one of David's thirty mighty men (2 Samuel 23:32-33; 1 Chronicles 11:34 ).

7. Son of Uzziah, a royal treasurer in reign of David; called Jehonathan in 1 Chronicles 27:25 .

8. House of a scribe or secretary where Jeremiah was imprisoned (Jeremiah 37:15 ,Jeremiah 37:15,37:20; Jeremiah 38:26 ).

9. Son of Kareah; “Johanan;” possibly same as 8. (Jeremiah 40:8 ).

10. Father of Ebed, a returned exile (Ezra 8:6; 1 Esdras 8:32 ).

11. Priest during high priesthood of Joiakim (Nehemiah 12:14 ).

12. Priest, son of Joiada (Nehemiah 12:11 ).

13. Priest, son of Shemaiah and father of Zechariah, in a group who played musical instruments (Nehemiah 12:35 ).

14. Son of Asahel who supported foreign marriages in time of Ezra (Ezra 10:15; 1 Esdras 9:14 ).

15. A descendant of Jerahmeel (1 Chronicles 2:32-33 ).

Omer Hancock

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Jonathan'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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