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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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JONATHAN (‘J″ [Note: Jahweh.] hath given’). 1. A Levite, the ‘son’ of Gershom (wh. see); according to Judges 18:30 he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan up to the Captivity. Jonathan was taken into the service of Micah as ‘father and priest’ ( Judges 17:10 ); but, not long after he had taken up his abode there, six hundred Danites came that way and induced Jonathan to leave Micah and join them as their priest ( Judges 18:11-31 ). 2. The eldest son of Saul; he appears, in the first instance, as a brave and successful leader in battle. 1 Samuel 13:1-23; 1 Samuel 14:1-52 contain a graphic account of the way in which the Israelites threw off the Philistine yoke; in this campaign Jonathan took a leading part. He first of all, at the head of a thousand men, smote the Philistine garrison in Geba; this was the signal for the outbreak of war. The Philistine army gathered together and encamped in Michmash. Jonathan, accompanied only by his armour-bearer, at great risk surprised an advanced post of the Philistines, and slew about twenty men; the suddenness and success of this coup so terrified the Philistines that the whole host of them fled in panic. The popularity of Jonathan is well illustrated by the fact that the people prevented Saul from carrying out a vow which would have cost Jonathan his life ( 1 Samuel 14:24-46 ). The implicit trust which Saul placed in Jonathan is seen in the words of the latter in 1 Samuel 20:2 : ‘Behold my father doeth nothing either great or small, but that he discloseth it unto me.’ The faithfulness and trustworthiness of Jonathan as here shown gives an insight into what must have been that friendship for David which has become proverbial. All the characteristics of truest friendship are seen in Jonathan in their full beauty love ( 1 Samuel 18:1 ), faithfulness ( 1 Samuel 20:2 ff). disinterestedness ( 1 Samuel 20:12 ). and self-sacrifice ( 1 Samuel 20:24-34 ). The last we hear of Jonathan is his death upon the battlefield, fighting the foes of his country. In David’s lament the spirit of the departed hero speaks in unison with his friend: ‘Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women’ ( 2 Samuel 1:26 ).

3. The son of the priest Mattathias; the youngest of the four Maccabæan brothers ( 2Ma 8:22 ), who played an important part during the Maccabsan revolt (see Maccabees). 4. A nephew of David ( 2 Samuel 21:21; cf. prob. 1 Chronicles 27:32 ). 5. A son of Abiathar the priest ( 2 Samuel 15:27 ff; 2 Samuel 17:17-20 , 1 Kings 1:42 ). 6. A scribe in whose house Jeremiah was imprisoned ( Jeremiah 37:15-20; Jeremiah 38:26 ). 7. A high priest ( Nehemiah 12:11 ): called in Nehemiah 12:22 f. Johanan. 8. One of David’s heroes ( 2 Samuel 23:32 , 1 Chronicles 11:34 ). 9. A Levite ( Nehemiah 12:35 ). 10. The son of Kareah ( Jeremiah 40:8 ). 11. The father of Peleth and Zaza ( 1 Chronicles 2:32 f.). 12. One of David’s treasurers ( 1 Chronicles 27:25 ). 13. Father of Ebed ( Ezra 8:6 ). 14. One of those who opposed (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) or assisted (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ) Ezra in the matter of the foreign marriages ( Ezra 10:15 ). 15. A priest ( Nehemiah 12:14 ). 16. Son of Absalom, in the time of Simon the Maccabee ( 1Ma 13:11 ). 17 . A priest who led the prayer at the first sacrifice after the Return ( 2Ma 1:23 ).

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Jonathan'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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