Study Dictionary
Index A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Jeheiel | Jehiel | Jehiskiah | Jehoaddah | Jehoaddan | Jehohanan | Jehoiachin | Jehoiakim | Jehoiarib | Jehoida | Jehonadab


In Bible versions:

Jehochanan: NET
son of Meshelemiah; a Levite gatekeeper whose descendants returned from exile
a commander of the Judean division of Jehoshaphat's army; father of Commander Ishmael the friend of Jehoiadah
a man who put away his heathen wife; an Israelite descended from Bebai
son of Tobiah, the enemy of Nehemiah
priest and head of the house of Amariah under High Priest Joiakim in the time of Nehemiah
a priest who helped Nehemiah celebrate the completion of the wall of Jerusalem
a priest in whose temple chamber Ezra spent a night fasting; (grand)son of Eliashib
a Levite whom King Jehoshaphat sent to teach the law in the cities of Judah
priest and head of the house of Shemaiah under High Priest Joiakim in the time of Nehemiah
son of Kareah; a militia leader who rallied to Gedaliah
son of King Josiah
son of Eli-O-Enai, a descendant of Hananiah, Zerubbabel and David
a high priest; son of Azariah I
a Benjamite man who defected to David at Ziklag
Gadite officer who defected to David in the wilderness
a man of Ephraim; father of Azariah, who opposed Israel's taking Judeans captive
son of Hakkatan; head of a family group descended from Azgad who returned from exile
a Levite leader during the time of Nehemiah
son of Eliashib; a chief priest
a man who was a descendant of Gershom son of Moses
son of Saul of Benjamin
son of the high priest Abiathar in David's time
the son of Shime-i, David's brother
son of Shammah/Shagee; one of David's military elite
son of Jada of Judah
son of Uzziah; overseer of the country treasuries for King David
a man who was uncle and counselor of King David
father of Ebed who accompanied Ezra leading the clan of Adin back from exile
a man who opposed Ezra's reforms; son of Asahel
a chief priest; son of Joiada
priest and head of the house of Malluchi under High Priest Joiakim in the time of Nehemiah
son of Shemaiah of Asaph of Levi; father of Zechariah
a man who was secretary and dungeon keeper for King Zedekiah; son of Kareah

grace, or mercy, or gift, of the Lord
gift of the Lord; gift of a dove
who is liberal or merciful
given of God
Arts Topics: David and Jonathan; Jonathan Routs the Philistines


Strongs #03076: Nnxwhy Y@howchanan

Jehohanan = "Jehovah has graced"

1) a priest during the high priesthood of Joiakim who returned with
2) a high priest in the time of Ezra
3) a Levite priest who took part in the dedication of the wall in the
time of Nehemiah
4) son of Tobiah
5) a Korhite Levite and one of the doorkeepers to the tabernacle in
the time of David
6) a captain of Judah under king Jehoshaphat
7) an Ephraimite
8) an Israelite with a foreign wife in the time of Ezra
9) a Jewish captain after the fall of Jerusalem
10) the eldest son of king Josiah
11) a post-exilic prince of the line of David
12) father of Azariah, priest in Solomon's time
13) a Benjamite, one of David's mighty warriors
14) a Gadite, one of David's mighty warriors
15) a returning exile

3076 Yhowchanan yeh-ho-khaw-nawn'

from 3068 and 2603; Jehovah-favored; Jehochanan, the name of
eight Israelites:-Jehohanan, Johanan. Compare 3110.
see HEBREW for 03068
see HEBREW for 02603
see HEBREW for 03110

Strongs #03083: Ntnwhy Y@hownathan

Jonathan or Jehonathan = "Jehovah has given"

1) a son of king Saul and a friend of David
2) a son of the high priest Abiathar and the last descendant of Eli
of whom we hear
3) a nephew of David who like David slew a giant of Gath
4) an uncle of David
5) one of David's mighty warriors
6) one of David's treasurers
7) a scribe in the time of Jeremiah
8) a Levite and father of Zechariah, a priest who blew the trumpet at
the dedication of the wall
9) a son or descendant of Gershom, the son of Moses, and a priest to
the tribe of Dan
10) a son of Kareah and a brother of Johanan; a Judaite captain after
the fall of Jerusalem
11) another Judaite father of Peleth
12) father of Ebed in the time of Ezra
13) son of Asahel in the time of Ezra
14) a priest of the family of Melicu in the time of Nehemiah
15) son of Joiada and his successor to the high priesthood in the
time of Nehemiah

3083 Yhownathan yeh-ho-naw-thawn'

from 3068 and 5414; Jehovah-given; Jehonathan, the name of
four Israelites:-Jonathan. Compare 3129.
see HEBREW for 03068
see HEBREW for 05414
see HEBREW for 03129

Strongs #03110: Nnxwy Yowchanan

Johanan = "Jehovah has graced"

1) a priest during the high priesthood of Joiakim who returned with
2) a Jewish captain after the fall of Jerusalem
3) the eldest son of king Josiah
4) a post-exilic prince of the line of David
5) father of Azariah, priest in Solomon's time
6) a Benjamite, one of David's mighty warriors
7) a Gadite, one of David's mighty warriors
8) a returning exile

3110 Yowchanan yo-khaw-nawn'

a form of 3076; Jochanan, the name of nine
see HEBREW for 03076

Strongs #03129: Ntnwy Yownathan

Jonathan or Jehonathan = "Jehovah has given"

1) a son of king Saul and a friend of David
2) a son of the high priest Abiathar and the last descendant of Eli
of whom we hear
3) one of David's mighty warriors
4) a Levite and father of Zechariah, a priest who blew the trumpet at
the dedication of the wall
5) a son of Kareah and a brother of Johanan; a Judaite captain after
the fall of Jerusalem
6) another Judaite
7) father of Ebed in the time of Ezra
8) son of Asahel in the time of Ezra
9) a priest of the family of Melicu in the time of Nehemiah
10) son of Joiada and his successor to the high priesthood in the
time of Nehemiah

3129 Yownathan yo-naw-thawn'

a form of 3083; Jonathan, the name of ten
see HEBREW for 03083

Jehohanan [EBD]

Jehovah-granted, Jeroboam II. (1.) A Korhite, the head of one of the divisions of the temple porters (1 Chr. 26:3).

(2.) One of Jehoshaphat's "captains" (2 Chr. 17:15).

(3.) The father of Azariah (2 Chr. 28:12).

(4.) The son of Tobiah, an enemy of the Jews (Neh. 6:18).

(5.) Neh. 12:42.

(6.) Neh. 12:13.

Jehonathan [EBD]

whom Jehovah gave. (1.) One of the stewards of David's store-houses (1 Chr. 27:25).

(2.) A Levite who taught the law to the people of Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).

(3.) Neh. 12:18.

Johanan [EBD]

whom Jehovah graciously bestows. (1.) One of the Gadite heroes who joined David in the desert of Judah (1 Chr. 12:12).

(2.) The oldest of King Josiah's sons (1 Chr. 3:15).

(3.) Son of Careah, one of the Jewish chiefs who rallied round Gedaliah, whom Nebuchadnezzar had made governor in Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:23; Jer. 40:8). He warned Gedaliah of the plans of Ishmael against him, a warning which was unheeded (Jer. 40:13, 16). He afterwards pursued the murderer of the governor, and rescued the captives (41:8, 13, 15, 16). He and his associates subsequently fled to Tahpanhes in Egypt (43:2, 4, 5), taking Jeremiah with them. "The flight of Gedaliah's community to Egypt extinguished the last remaining spark of life in the Jewish state. The work of the ten centuries since Joshua crossed the Jordan had been undone."

Jonathan [EBD]

whom Jehovah gave, the name of fifteen or more persons that are mentioned in Scripture. The chief of these are, (1.) A Levite descended from Gershom (Judg. 18:30). His history is recorded in 17:7-13 and 18:30. The Rabbins changed this name into Manasseh "to screen the memory of the great lawgiver from the stain of having so unworthy an apostate among his near descendants." He became priest of the idol image at Dan, and this office continued in his family till the Captivity.

(2.) The eldest son of king Saul, and the bosom friend of David. He is first mentioned when he was about thirty years of age, some time after his father's accession to the throne (1 Sam. 13:2). Like his father, he was a man of great strength and activity (2 Sam. 1:23), and excelled in archery and slinging (1 Chr. 12:2;2 Sam. 1:22). The affection that evidently subsisted between him and his father was interrupted by the growth of Saul's insanity. At length, "in fierce anger," he left his father's presence and cast in his lot with the cause of David (1 Sam. 20:34). After an eventful career, interwoven to a great extent with that of David, he fell, along with his father and his two brothers, on the fatal field of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:2, 8). He was first buried at Jabesh-gilead, but his remains were afterwards removed with those of his father to Zelah, in Benjamin (2 Sam. 21:12-14). His death was the occasion of David's famous elegy of "the Song of the Bow" (2 Sam. 1:17-27). He left one son five years old, Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 4:4; comp. 1 Chr. 8:34).

(3.) Son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who adhered to David at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:27, 36). He is the last descendant of Eli of whom there is any record.

(4.) Son of Shammah, and David's nephew, and also one of his chief warriors (2 Sam. 21:21). He slew a giant in Gath.

Jehohanan [NAVE]

1. A porter of the tabernacle, 1 Chr. 26:3.
2. A military chief under Jehoshaphat, whose corps consisted of two hundred and eighty thousand men, 2 Chr. 17:15.
Probably identical with a captain of a hundred, in 2 Chr. 23:1.
3. Son of Bebai, Ezra 10:28.
4. A priest among the exiles who returned from Babylon, Neh. 12:13.
5. A chorister in the temple, Neh. 12:42.

Jehonathan [NAVE]

1. An overseer of David's storehouses, 1 Chr. 27:25.
2. A Levite sent to instruct the people in the law, 2 Chr. 17:8.
3. An obscure priest, Neh. 12:18.

Johanan [NAVE]

1. A Jewish captain, 2 Kin. 25:22-24.
Warns Gedaliah against Ishmael, Jer. 40:13-16.
Ishmael defeated by, Jer. 41:11-15.
Sought prayers of Jeremiah, Jer. 42:2, 3.
Disobeyed Jeremiah and took him to Egypt, Jer. 43:1-7.
2. Son of Josiah, 1 Chr. 3:15.
3. A son of Elioenai, 1 Chr. 3:24.
4. A Levite, 1 Chr. 6:9, 10.
5. Two Israelites who joined David at Ziklag, 1 Chr. 12:4, 12.
6. An Ephraimite, 2 Chr. 28:12.
7. A returned exile, Ezra 8:12.
8. A priest, Ezra 10:6; Neh. 12:22, 23.
Probably identical with Jonathan, Neh. 12:11.
9. Son of Tobiah the Ammonite, Neh. 6:18.

Jonathan [NAVE]

1. A Levite of Bethlehem, who becomes a priest for Micah; accepts idolatry; joins the Danites, Judg. 17:7-13; 18:1-30.
2. Son of Saul, 1 Sam. 14:49.
Victory of, over the Philistine garrison of Geba, 1 Sam. 13:3, 4, 16; over Philistines at Michmash, 1 Sam. 14:1-18.
Under Saul's curse pronounced against any who might take food before he was avenged of his enemies, 1 Sam. 14:24-30, 43.
Rescued by the people, 1 Sam. 14:43-45.
Love of, for David, 1 Sam. 18:1-4; 19:1-7; 20; 23:16-18.
Killed in battle with Philistines, 1 Sam. 31:2, 6; 1 Chr. 10:2; 2 Sam. 21:12-14.
Buried by inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead, 1 Sam. 31:11-13.
Mourned by David, 2 Sam. 1:12, 17-27.
Son of, cared for by David, 2 Sam. 4:4; 9; 1 Chr. 8:34.
3. Son of Abiathar, 2 Sam. 15:27.
Acts as spy for David, 2 Sam. 15:27, 28; 17:17-22.
Informs Adonijah of Solomon's succession to David, 1 Kin. 1:42-48.
4. Nephew of David, slays a giant, and becomes one of David's chief warriors, 2 Sam. 21:21; 1 Chr. 20:7.
5. One of David's heroes, 2 Sam. 23:32; 1 Chr. 11:34.
6. A son of Jada, 1 Chr. 2:32, 33.
7. Secretary of the cabinet of David, 1 Chr. 27:32.
8. Father of Ebed, Ezra 8:6.
9. Son of Asahel, Ezra 10:15.
10. Called also Johanan. A descendant of Jeshua, Neh. 12:11, 22.
11. Name of two priests, Neh. 12:14, 35.
12. A scribe, Jer. 37:15, 20; 38:26.
13. Son of Kareah, Jer. 40:8.


(whom Jehovah gave), a name of which John is the contraction.
  1. A Korhite Levite, one of the doorkeepers to the tabernacle. (1 Chronicles 26:3) comp. 1Chr 25:1 (B.C. 1014.)
  2. One of the principal men of Judah under King Jehoshaphat. (2 Chronicles 17:15) comp. 2Chr 17:13 and 2Chr 17:19 (B.C. 910.)
  3. Father of Ishmael, one of the "captains of hundreds" whom Jehoiada the priest took into his confidence about the restoration of the line of Judah. (2 Chronicles 23:1) (B.C. 910.)
  4. One of the Bene-Bebai who was forced to put away his foreign wife. (Ezra 10:28) (B.C. 459.)
  5. A priest, (Nehemiah 12:13) during the high priesthood of Joiakim. ver. (Nehemiah 12:12) (B.C. 406.)
  6. A priest who took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 12:42) (B.C. 446.)


(whom Jehovah gave).
  1. Son of Uzziah; superintendent of certain of King David?s storehouses. (1 Chronicles 27:25) (B.C. 1014).
  2. One of the Levites who were sent by Jehoshaphat through the cities of Judah, with a book of the law, to teach the people. (2 Chronicles 17:8) (B.C. 910.)
  3. A priest, (Nehemiah 12:18) the representative of the family of Shemaiah, ver. 6, when Joiakim was high priest. (B.C. after 536.)


(gift or grace of God).
  1. Son of Azariah and grandson of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, and father of Azariah, 3. (1 Chronicles 6:9,10) Authorized Version.
  2. Son of Elioenai, the son of Neariah, the son of Shemaiah, in the line of Zerubbabel?s heirs. (1 Chronicles 3:24) (B.C. after 406.)
  3. The son of Kaereah, and one of the captains of the scattered remnants of the army of Judah, who escaped in the final attack upon Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. (B.C. 588.) After the murder of Gedaliah, Johanan was one of the foremost in the pursuit of his assassin, and rescued the captives he had carried off from Mizpah. (Jeremiah 41:11-16) Fearing the vengeance of the Chaldeans, the captains, with Johanan at their head, notwithstanding the warnings of Jeremiah, retired into Egypt.
  4. The first-born son of Josiah king of Judah. (1 Chronicles 3:15) (B.C. 638-610.)
  5. A valiant Benjamite who joined David at Ziklag. (1 Chronicles 12:4) (B.C. 1055.)
  6. A Gadite warrior who followed David. (1 Chronicles 12:12)
  7. The father of Azariah, an Ephraimite in the time of Ahaz. (2 Chronicles 28:12)
  8. The son of Hakkatan, and chief of the Bene-Azgad who returned with Ezra. (Ezra 8:12)
  9. The son of Eliashib, one of the chief Levites. (Ezra 10:6; Nehemiah 12:23)
  10. The son of Tobiah the Ammonite. (Nehemiah 6:18)


that is, "the gift of Jehovah, " the eldest son of King Saul. (B.C. about 1095-1056.) He was a man of great strength and activity. (2 Samuel 1:23) He was also famous as a warrior, (1 Chronicles 12:2) as is shown by the courage he showing in attacking the garrison of the Philistines, in company with is armor-bearer only, slaying twenty men and putting an army to flight. (1 Samuel 14:6-16) During the pursuit, Jonathan, who had not heard of the rash curse, ch. (1 Samuel 14:24) which Saul invoked on any one who ate before the evening, tasted the honey which lay on the ground. Saul would have sacrificed him; but the people interposed in behalf of the hero of that great day, and Jonathan was saved. ch. (1 Samuel 14:24-45) The chief interest of Jonathan?s career is derived from the friendship with David, which began on the day of David?s return from the victory over the champion of Gath, and continued till his death. Their last meeting was in and forest of Ziph, during Saul?s pursuit of David. (1 Samuel 23:16-18) From this time forth we hear no more till the battle of Gilboa. In that battle he fell. (1 Samuel 31:2,8) (B.C. 1056.) his ashes were buried first at Jabesh-gilead, ch. (1 Samuel 31:13) but were afterward removed with those of his father to Zelah in Benjamin. (2 Samuel 21:12) The news of his death occasioned the celebrated elegy of David. He left a son, Mephibosheth. [MEPHIBOSHETH]
  1. A nephew of David. (2 Samuel 21:21; 1 Chronicles 20:7) He engaged in single combat with and slew a gigantic Philistine of Gath. (2 Samuel 21:21) (B.C. 1018.)
  2. The son of Abiathar, the high priest, is the last descendant of Eli of whom we hear anything. (2 Samuel 15:36; 17:15-21; 1 Kings 1:42,43) (B.C. 1023.)
  3. One of David?s heroes. (2 Samuel 23:32; 1 Chronicles 11:34)
  4. The son or descendant of Gershom the son of Moses. (Judges 18:30) [MICAH] (B.C. about 1425.)
  5. One of the Bene-Adin. (Ezra 8:6)
  6. A priest, the son of Asahel, in the time of Ezra. (Ezra 10:15) (B.C. 459.)
  7. A priest of the family of Melieu. (Nehemiah 12:14)
  8. One of the sons of Kareah, and brother of Johanan. (Jeremiah 40:8) (B.C. 587.)
  9. Son of Joiada, and his successor in the high priesthood. (Nehemiah 12:11,22,23) (B.C. before 332.)
  10. Father of Zechariah, a priest who blew the trumpet at the dedication of the wall. (Nehemiah 12:35)
  11. 1 Esdr. 8:32. [See No. 6] (B.C. 446.)


JEHOHANAN - je-ho-ha'-nan (yehochanan, "Yahweh is (or has been) gracious"):

(1) A Korahite doorkeeper in David's reign, "son" of Meshelemiah (1 Ch 26:3). Septuagint, Luc, has "Jehonathan."

(2) One of the five captains over King Jehoshaphat's army (2 Ch 17:15), probably father of Ishmael, "son of Jehohanan" (2 Ch 23:1).

(3) Ezr 10:6 (the King James Version has "Johnnan") = "Johanan" of Neh 12:22,23 = "Jonathan" of Neh 12:11, "son" of Eliashib (Ezr 10:6; but "grandson" in Neh 12:11). He was high priest in Ezra's time = "Jonas" in 1 Esdras 9:1 (the King James Version "Joanan").

(4) One of those who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:28) = "Joannes" the Revised Version (British and American), "Johannes" the King James Version (1 Esdras 9:29).

(5) Son of Tobiah, the Ammonite, Nehemiah's opponent (Neh 6:18, the King James Version "Johanan").

(6) Head of the priestly family of Amariah (Neh 12:13).

(7) A priest present at the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 12:42).

(8) The name in the Hebrew of 2 Ch 28:12.

See JOHANAN, (7).

David Francis Roberts


JEHONATHAN - je-hon'-a-than (yehonathan, "Yahweh has given"): The name is the same as Jonathan: the Hebrew has the two forms for the same person sometimes; sometimes only one is found. See JONATHAN. The form "Jehonathan" occurs as follows in English Versions of the Bible:

(1) A Levite who took part in teaching the Torah in the cities of Judah under Jehoshaphat (2 Ch 17:8 English Versions of the Bible and Hebrew).

(2) Head of the priestly family of Shemaiah (Neh 12:18 English Versions of the Bible and Hebrew).

(3) the King James Version and Hebrew in 1 Ch 27:25; see JONATHAN, (7).


JOHANAN - jo-ha'-nan (yochanan, "Yahweh has been gracious"; Ioanan; compare JEHOHANAN):

(1) Son of Kareah, and one of "the captains of the forces who were in the fields" (i.e. probably guerrilla bands), who allied with Gedaliah, governor of Judah, after the fall of Jerusalem, 586 BC (2 Ki 25:23; Jer 40:7 through 43:7). He warned Gedaliah of the plot of Ishmael ben Nethaniah, who was instigated by the Ammonite king Baalis, to murder the governor; but the latter refused to believe him nor would he grant Johanan permission to slay Ishmael (Jer 40:8-16). After Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah and also 70 northern pilgrims, Johanan went in pursuit. He was joined by the unwilling followers of Ishmael, but the murderer escaped. Thereupon Johanan settled at Geruth-Chimham near Bethlehem (Jer 41). As Ishmael's plan was to take the remnant to the land of Ammon, so that of Johanan and his fellow-chiefs was to go to Egypt. They consulted the Divine oracle through Jeremiah, and received the answer that they should remain in Judah (Jer 42). But the prophet was accused of giving false counsel and of being influenced by Baruch. The chiefs then resolved to go to Egypt, and forced Jeremiah and Baruch to accompany them (Jer 43).

(2) The eldest son of King Josiah (1 Ch 3:15), apparently = "Jehoahaz" (2 Ki 23:30-33).

(3) Son of Elioenai, and a Davidic post-exilic prince (1 Ch 3:24).

(4) Father of the Azariah who was priest in Solomon's time (1 Ch 6:9,10 (Hebrew 5:35,36)).

(5) A Benjamite recruit of David at Ziklag, but perhaps a Judean (1 Ch 12:4 (Hebrew 5)).

(6) A Gadite recruit of David at Ziklag (1 Ch 12:12 (Hebrew 13)).

(7) Hebrew has "Jehohanan," an Ephraimite chief (2 Ch 28:12).

(8) A returned exile (Ezr 8:12) = "Joannes" (1 Esdras 8:38, the King James Version "Johannes").

(9) Neh 12:22,23 = JEHOHANAN, (3).

David Francis Roberts


JONATHAN (1) - jon'-a-than (yehonathan, yonathan, "Yahweh has given"; Ionathan; compare JEHONATHAN):

(1) (Hebrew yehonathan): The young "Levite" of Judges 17; 18 referred to by name in 18:30, where he is called "the son of Gershom, the son of Moses," and where the King James Version has "Manasseh" for Moses, following the Massoretic Text in which the letter nun of Manasseh is "suspended."

Rashi states the reason thus: "Because of the honor of Moses was the nun written so as to alter the name." The original word was Moses, but it was thought undesirable that a descendant of his should have anything to do with images; and so Jonathan was made to have affinity (metaphorically) with Manasseh. See GB, Intro, 335-38.

Jonathan was a Levitical Judahite of Beth-lehem-judah, who came to the house of Micah, in the hill country of Ephraim, and hired himself as a priest in Micah's sanctuary (Jdg 17:1-13). The Danites sent 5 men north to spy for new territory, and on their way the spies came to the house of Micah, where they found Jonathan and consulted the oracle through him (Jdg 18:1-5). Having received a favorable answer, they set out and came to Laish, and on their return south they advised that an expedition be sent thither (Jdg 18:6-10). Their clansmen accordingly sent out a band of warriors who on their way passed by Micah's house. The spies informed their comrades of the ephod and teraphim and images there, and they seized them, inducing Jonathan at the same time to accompany them as their priest (Jdg 18:11-20). At Laish he founded a priesthood which was thus descended from Moses (Jdg 18:30).

It has been held that there are two sources in the narrative in Judges 17; 18 (see Moore, Judges, 365-72). The section is important because of the light it throws on life and religion in early Israel. The "Levites" were not all of one tribe (see Moore, op. cit., 383-84); there were priests who claimed descent from Moses as well as Aaronite priests; and images were common in early Hebrew worship (compare Gen 31:30 ff; Jdg 8:27; 1 Sam 19:13).

(2) Son of King Saul. See separate article.

(3) (Hebrew yehonathan, yonathan, 2 Sam 15:27,36; 17:17,20; 1 Ki 1:42,43): Son of Abiathar the priest. He acted with Ahimaaz as courier to inform David of events at Jerusalem during Absalom's revolt. It was he who also brought to Adonijah the news of Solomon's accession.

(4) (Hebrew yehonathan, 2 Sam 21:21 parallel 1 Ch 20:7): Son of Shimei or Shimea, David's brother; he is said to be the slayer of Goliath.


(5) (2 Sam 23:32, Hebrew yehonathan = 1 Ch 11:34, Hebrew yonathan): One of David's mighty men.


(6) (Hebrew yonathan, 1 Ch 2:32,33): A Jerahmeelite.

(7) (Hebrew yehonathan, and so 1 Ch 27:25 the King James Version): Son of Uzziah, and one of David's treasurers.

(8) (Hebrew yehonathan, 1 Ch 27:32): A dodh of David, the Revised Version (British and American) "uncle," the Revised Version margin "brother's son"; if he was David's nephew, he will be the same as (4) above. He "was a counselor" to David, and "a man of understanding, and a scribe."

(9) (Hebrew yonathan, Ezr 8:6; 1 Esdras 8:32): Father of Ebed, a returned exile.

(10) (Hebrew yonathan, Ezr 10:15; 1 Esdras 9:14): One who either supported (Revised Version (British and American)) or opposed (Revised Version margin, the King James Version) Ezra in the matter of foreign marriages; see JAHZEIAH.

(11) (Hebrew yonathan, Neh 12:11): A priest, descendant of Jeshua (Joshua) = "Johanan" (Neh 12:22,23); see JEHOHANAN, (3).

(12) (Hebrew yonathan, Neh 12:14): A priest.

(13) (Hebrew yonathan, Neh 12:35): A priest, father of Zechariah.

(14) (Hebrew yehonathan, Jer 37:15,20; 38:26): A scribe in whose house Jeremiah was imprisoned.

(15) (Hebrew yonathan, Jer 40:8): Son of Kareah; a Judahite captain who joined Gedaliah after the fall of Jerusalem.

(16) (Ionathes, 1 Macc 2:5; 9 through 13; and Inathan 2 Macc 8:22; Swete reads Ionathes): The Maccabee surnamed Apphus in 1 Macc 2:5, son of Mattathias.

(17) Son of Absalom (1 Macc 13:11). He was sent by Simon the Maccabee to capture Joppa (compare 1 Macc 11:70, where there is mentioned a Mattathias, son of Absalom).

(18) A priest who led in prayer at the first sacrifice after the return from exile (2 Macc 1:23).

David Francis Roberts


JONATHAN (2) - (yehonathan; also yonathan, "Yahweh has given"; Ionathan): The eldest son of Saul, the first king of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin.

1. Three Periods:

The life of Jonathan, as far as we are told about him, falls naturally into 3 periods.

(1) First Period.

He comes on the scene as the right hand and lieutenant of his father in his early struggles to beat off the hostile tribes, especially the Ammonites (1 Sam 11), who beset the territory of Israel on all sides. As soon as Saul had gained his first decisive victory, the people rallied to him in great numbers, so that he was able to count upon 3,000 men whenever they took the field. These were divided into two small armies, Saul retaining 2,000 and making Michmash his headquarters, the rest being stationed at Gibeah under Jonathan, some 5 miles distant as the crow flies. Jonathan thus commanded the base, while his father led the fighting force. This position of comparative inactivity does not appear to have been much to the taste of Jonathan. Midway between the two camps was a Philistine outpost at Geba, facing Michmash across the pass of that name, a valley with steep sides, now the Wady Suweinit. Saul does not seem to have felt himself strong enough to commence hostilities against the Philistines, and took means to increase the forces at his disposal. The Philistines no sooner heard that the Israelites had cast off their yoke (1 Sam 13:3b: for "Let the Hebrews hear," read "The Hebrews have revolted," after the Septuagint), than they came out in great numbers (1 Sam 13:5). They seem to have compelled Saul to evacuate Michmash, which they occupied, Saul falling back on Gibeah (1 Sam 13:16) and Gilgal with a greatly reduced following (1 Sam 13:3,4a seems to be a summary anticipation, in Hebrew style, of the events detailed in 1 Sam 14). In spite of this, Jonathan, accompanied only by his armor-bearer, surprised the Philistine outpost at Geba (1 Sam 14:5, "Gibeah" should be "Geba"), which was killed to a man. This feat precipitated a general engagement, in which the Israelites, whose only weapons appear to have been their farming implements (1 Sam 13:20), Saul and Jonathan alone being armed with iron swords and spears, routed their enemies. The completeness of the victory was impaired by the superstitious action of Saul in refusing to allow the people to eat until the day was over (1 Sam 14:24). As this order was unwittingly broken by Jonathan, Saul wished to have him executed; but this the people refused to allow, as they clearly recognized that the credit of the victory was due to the energetic action of Jonathan in striking before the enemy had time to concentrate. (In the Hebrew text there is some confusion between Gibeah and Geba; compare 1 Sam 10:5 margin and 13:3.)

(2) Second Period.

The 2nd period of the life of Jonathan is that of his friendship for David. The narrative is too well known to need recapitulating, and the simple tale would only be spoiled by telling it in other words. Jonathan's devotion to David was such that he not only took his part against his father, Saul (1 Sam 18; 19), but was willing to surrender to him his undoubted claim to become Saul's successor (1 Sam 20). Their last meeting took place in the "desert" of Ziph, to the South of Hebron, some time after David had been driven into outlawry (1 Sam 23:16-18).

(3) Third Period.

The 3rd phase of Jonathan's life is that of the exile of David, when Saul was directing his energies to combat what he no doubt considered the rebellion of the son of Jesse. During this civil war, if that can be called war in which one of the two sides refuses to take the offensive against the other, Jonathan remained entirely passive. He could not take part in proceedings which were directed against his friend whom he believed to be destined to occupy the place which he himself should in the ordinary course of events have filled. We therefore hear no more of Jonathan until the encroachments of the Philistines once more compelled Saul to leave the pursuit of the lesser enemy in order to defend himself against the greater. Saul's last campaign against the Philistines was short and decisive: it ended in the defeat of Gilboa and the death of himself and his sons. The men of Jabesh-gilead, out of gratitude for Saul's rescue of their town at the beginning of his reign, crossed over to Beth-shan, on the walls of which town the Philistines had hung in chains the bodies of Saul and Jonathan, and took them down under cover of darkness and carried them to Jabesh. There they burned the bodies after the manner of the primitive inhabitants of the land, and buried the bones.

2. His Character:

If we may judge from the little which has been handed down to us concerning him, Jonathan must have been one of the finest spirits that ever lived. His character is, as far as our knowledge goes, nearly perfect. He was athletic and brave (1 Sam 14:13; 2 Sam 1:22,23).

3. Military Qualities:

He could keep his plans secret when secrecy was necessary in order to carry them to a successful issue (1 Sam 14:1), and could decide on what course of action to follow and act upon it on the instant. His attack upon the Philistine garrison at Geba (or Gibeah, if we adopt the reading of the Septuagint and Targum of 1 Sam 13:3; compare 10:5) was delivered at the right moment, and was as wise as it was daring. If he had a fault, from a military point of view, it may have been an inability to follow up an advantage. The pursuit of the Philistines on the occasion referred to ended with nightfall. In this respect, however, he perhaps cannot be censured with justice, as he never had an entirely free hand.

4. Filial Piety:

Jonathan's independence and capacity for acting on his own responsibility were combined with devotion to his father. While holding his own opinion and taking his own course, he conformed as far as possible to his father's views and wishes. While convinced of the high deserts of David, he sought by all means to mitigate Saul's hatred toward him, and up to a certain point he succeeded (1 Sam 19:6). Filial duty could not have been more severely tested than was that of Jonathan, but his conduct toward both his father and his friend is above criticism. Only on one occasion did his anger get the better of him (1 Sam 20:34) under gross provocation, Saul having impugned the honor of Jonathan's mother (1 Sam 20:30, Septuagint) Ahinoam (1 Sam 14:50), and attempted his life. The estrangement was momentary; Saul and Jonathan were undivided in life and in death (2 Sam 1:23 to be so read).

5. Friendship for David:

But it is as the befriender of David that Jonathan will always be remembered. He is the type of the very perfect friend, as well as of the chivalrous knight, for all time. His devotion to David was altogether human; had it been dictated by a superstitious belief in David's destiny as the future ruler of his people (1 Sam 23:17), that belief would have been shared by Saul, which was not the case (1 Sam 20:31). In disinterestedness and willingness to efface his own claims and give up his own titles the conduct of Jonathan is unsurpassed, and presents a pleasing contrast to some of the characters with whom we meet in the Bible. In this respect he resembles `Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, who was the bravest of the brave, save when fighting in his own cause, and who had no ambition to fill the highest posts. So Jonathan preferred to serve rather than to command (1 Sam 23:17). Jonathan and David stand for the highest ideal of Hebrew friendship, as do Damon and Pythias in Greek literature.

6. Inspired Affection:

We may be sure that Jonathan won the affection of the people. His squire was ready to follow him anywhere (1 Sam 14:7). David's devotion to him seems to have been sincere, although it unfortunately coincided with his own self-interest. Jonathan appears to have inspired as great an affection as he himself felt (1 Sam 20:41; 2 Sam 1:26). His quarrel with his father was largely due to the solicitude of the latter for his son's interests (1 Sam 18:29; 20:31).

7. His Descendants:

Jonathan's sons were, in common with his brother's, killed in the wars. One alone--Meribbaal (Mephibosheth)--survived. Jonathan's posterity through him lasted several generations. A table of them is given in 1 Ch 8:33 ff parallel 9:40 ff (compare 2 Sam 9:12). They were famous soldiers and were, like their ancestors, distinguished in the use of the bow (1 Ch 8:40).

Thomas Hunter Weir

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