Who is…

Hebrew: יְהוֹנָתָן

also known as: Yehonatan or Yonatan (יוֹנָתָן‬)

Meaning: whom Jehovah gave

This was the name of 15 or more men that are mentioned in Scripture. The chief of these are…

  1. Jonathan, a Levite descended from Gershom (Judges 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. Prince Jonathan, the eldest son of King Saul, and the bosom friend of David

    He is first mentioned when he was about 30 years of age, some time after his father’s accession to the throne (1 Samuel 13:2). Like his father, he was a man of great strength and activity (2 Samuel 1:23), and excelled in archery and slinging (1 Chronicles 12:2; 2 Samuel 1:22).

    Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba… —1 Samuel 13:3a NASB

    Later, Jonathan did an even more amazing thing with God’s help.

    One day Jonathan the son of Saul said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the Philistine garrison on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. …Within the passes, by which Jonathan sought to go over to the Philistine garrison, there was a rocky crag on the one side and a rocky crag on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The one crag rose on the north in front of Michmash, and the other on the south in front of Geba.

    Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor,

    “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.”

    And his armor-bearer said to him,

    “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish. Behold, I am with you heart and soul.”

    Then Jonathan said,

    “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.”

    So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said,

    “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.”

    And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said,

    “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.”

    And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer,

    “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.”

    Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow's length in an acre of land. And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic. —1 Samuel 14:1-15 ESV

    The affection that evidently existed 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 Samuel 20:34).

    After an eventful career, interwoven to a great extent with that of David, he fell, along with his father and his 2 brothers, on the fatal field of Gilboa (1 Samuel 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 Samuel 21:12-14).

    His death was the occasion of David's famous elegy of “the Song of the Bow” (2 Samuel 1:17-27). He left one son 5 years old, Mephibosheth/Merib-baal (2 Samuel 4:4; compare 1 Chronicles 8:34).


  3. Jonathan, son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who was loyal to King David at the time of Prince Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 15:27, 36)

    He is the last descendant of Eli of whom there is any record.

  4. Jonathan, son of Shammah, and David’s nephew, and also one of his chief warriors (2 Samuel 21:21)

    He slew a giant in Gath.

  5. Jonathan, son of Jada—the brother of Shammai—and a descendant of Jerahmeel the son of Hezron.

    This Jonathan is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:32-33. His brother was Jether, and his sons were Peleth and Zaza.

Article Version: July 1, 2018