Jonathan: 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
(Judges 18:30) His history is
(Judges 17:7-13; 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 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) 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 Samuel 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 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
(2 Samuel 1:17-27) He left one son five years old,
Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth
(2 Samuel 4:4) comp.
(1 Chronicles 8:34)
3. Son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who adhered to David at
the time of Absalom's rebellion
(2 Samuel 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
(2 Samuel 21:21) He slew a giant in Gath.