Origin of the name JONATHAN.
Etymology of the
Meaning of the baby name JONATHAN.
an abbreviation of Yehonathan
= "gift of Jehovah;" "(whom) Jehovah has given"].
(1) The son
of Gershom, and grandson of Moses (?). He was a Levite, but was
not above officating as the priest of an idol in the house of a certain
Micah, in the time of the "Judges." When the Danites
were on their way to seek new settlements in the north of Palestine,
they robbed Micah of his image, and persuaded his mercenary priest to go
with them, tempting his ambition by promising that he should be the
priest, not of a single household, but of a tribe. They kept their
word, and Jonathan became the first of a line of priests who worshipped
at the shrine of the stolen idol till "the captivity of the
land" (the carrying of the ten tribes to Assyria) (?) (Judg. xviii.
(2) The eldest son of king Saul (1 Sam. xiv. 49; xxxi.
1, 2; 1 Chron. viii. 33; ix. 39). When first mentioned, after his
father had reigned two years, he is in command of 1,000 men, Saul
leading other 2,000. Jonathan with his forces attacked and
destroyed the Philistine garrison at Geba (1 Sam. xiii. 3).
Shortly afterwards, the young prince, attended only by his armour-bearer,
climbed up an ascent between two rocks, called Bozez and Seneh, and
suddenly assailing the first Philistines he met, created a panic in
their army, which became so great that in their fright the soldiers
turned their arms against each other (xiv. 1-23). The same day
Saul had almost put his heroic son to death for having eaten honey in a
wood, being ignorant that the king had pronounced a rash imprecation
against anyone who should partake of food that day. But the people
interfered, and would not allow Jonathan's life to be sacrificed
(24-46). When David, then a young man and known but to few,
achieved his great victory over Goliath, Jonathan, who was of a
singularly unselfish nature, commenced a warm friendship with the hero (xviii.
1), and would not give it up, even when Saul pointed out that his friend
might one day supersede him on the throne. During Saul's
persecution of David, Jonathan kept continual communication with his
youthful associate, giving him most valuable intelligence of the king's
feelings and movements, till at length the tyrant, provoked by what he
considered his unfilial conduct, threw a javelin at him, as he had more
than once done at David (xviii., xix.). Jonathan was killed, with
two of his brothers and their father, at the battle of Gilboa, and his
bones, like their, must have been affixed to the walls of Bethshean,
till the men of Jabesh-Gilead removed them and gave them honourable
burial (xxxi. 1, 11-13; 1 Chron. x. 2, 8-12). David deeply
lamented his death (2 Sam. i. 17-27). Jonathan left behind him a
son called Mephibosheth, or Meribbaal, who was lame, his nurse having
let him fall, when she had him, then five years old, in her arms, and
was running away with him in terror when the news of Gilboa came (2 Sam.
iv. 4). David ultimately showed him great kindness for Jonathan's
sake, and the line of his descendants is traceable for several
generations in increasing numbers, as if all danger of its extinction
had passed away [Mephibosheth) (2 sam. ix. 1-13; 1 Chron. viii. 33-40;
(3) (?) The uncle of king David. He was a
counsellor, a man of understanding, and a scribe (1 Chron. xxvii. 32óR.V.).
But the margin calls him "brother's son," which would make him
David's nephew, instead of his uncle, and would identify him with No. 5.
(4) The son of the high priest Abiathar. He was
one of two young men who, concealing themselves at En-Rogel, near
Jerusalem, during Absalom's rebellion, sent David information of
everything passing in the city (2 Sam. xv. 36; xvii. 15-22).
During Adonijah's brief usurpation Jonathan appeared to intimate the
proclamation of Solomon, a piece of intelligence which led to the
breaking up of the assemblage (1 Kings i. 41-49).
(5) The son of David's brother Shimeah, and victor
over one of Goliath's sons, as David had been over Goliath himself (2
Sam. xxi. 21, 22).
(6) One of the sons of Jashen (2 Sam. xxiii.
32). Called in 1 Chron. xi. 34 the son of Shage the Hararite.
He was one of David's mighty men.
(7) The younger son of Kareah. After the
capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, he placed himself under the
protection of Gedaliah (Jer. xl. 8).
(8) The father of a certain Ebed, who with fifty
males accompanied Ezra to Palestine (Ezra viii. 6).
(9) The son of Asahel. He helped Ezra to
ascertain which of the Jews had married foreign wives (Ezra x. 15).
(10) The father of a certain priest Zechariah, one of
those who sounded trumpets when Nehemiah dedicated the wall of Jerusalem
(Neh. xii. 35).
(11) A priest of the family of Malluchi (R.V.), or
Mellicu (A.V.), in the days of Joiakim (Neh. xii. 14).
(12) A Jewish high priest, the son of Joiada, and the
father of Jaddua (Neh. xii. 11). In verse 22 he is called Johanan,
corresponding to the New Testament name John. Josephus (Antiq.
XI. xii. 1), who calls him John, says that he killed his brother Jesus
in the temple, believing that he was about to superseded him in the high
priesthood. This was in the reign of the Persian king Artaxerxes
Mnemon, B.C. 404 to 362. (The Sunday School Teacher's Bible Manual,
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