JONATHAN


JONATHAN (Heb. יוֹנָתָן ,יְהוֹנָתָן; "YHWH has given"), name of several biblical characters.

(1) Son of Gershom, son of Moses (Judg. 18:30; MT, "Manasseh" written with suspended nun, apparently a scribal insertion in deference to Moses). He is apparently to be identified with the levite from Beth-Lehem in Judah who was taken into the service of Micah the Ephraimite as "father and priest" (Judg. 17:10) in the sanctuary which Micah had founded. Not long after he had taken up residence there, 600 Danites, on their way northward to find a more suitable homestead, induced Jonathan to leave Micah and to assume the more honorable position of priest to the tribe of Dan (Judg. 17–18). The family of Jonathan served as priests to the tribe of Dan until the captivity (Judg. 18:30).

(2) Son of *Saul.

(3) Uncle of David, a counselor, wise man, and scribe (I Chron. 27:32).

(4) Son of Shimea (or Shimei), David's brother. He slew a Philistine giant who taunted Israel at Gath (II Sam. 21:20–21; I Chron. 20:6–7).

(5) One of David's "valiant men" known as the "Thirty" (II Sam. 23:32–33; I Chron. 11:34).

(6) Son of Uzziah. He was in charge of the royal treasuries of David in the cities, villages, and towers outside the capital (I Chron. 27:25).

(7) Son of Abiathar, descendant of Eli, a priest in the time of David. During his flight from Absalom, David was joined by Jonathan who was, however, sent with *Zadok, *Abiathar, and *Ahimaaz, to spy on Absalom. Jonathan and Ahimaaz were appointed runners for the purpose of transmitting information from Jerusalem to the fleeing David (II Sam. 15:36). The two men hid at En Rogel, where a lad eventually discovered and betrayed them. Fleeing from Absalom's forces, both runners arrived at Baḥurim, where they were saved by a woman who hid them in a well. Before morning, however, the runners reached David, bringing the information which permitted the king and his people to cross the Jordan in time to avoid a premature clash with Absalom's army (II Sam. 17:15–22). During Solomon's struggle for the throne (I Kings 1) Jonathan had, like his father Abiathar the priest, supported Adonijah as king. It was Jonathan who came to Adonijah at the stone of Zoheleth to inform him that Solomon had been anointed king (I Kings 1:9, 42–48). After Solomon's accession to the throne, nothing more is said about Jonathan who, together with his father, probably fell into disgrace and was sent to Anathoth (I Kings 2:26–27).

(8) A levite during the reign of Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 17:8).

(9) The scribe whose house was converted into a prison in which Jeremiah was confined on an alleged charge of desertion during the siege of Jerusalem (Jer. 37:15, 20; 38:26).

(10) Son of Kareah, an officer who joined Gedaliah at Mizpah, and the brother of Johanan (Jer. 40:8). The name Jonathan is omitted in some Hebrew manuscripts, in the Greek, and in the parallel passage in II Kings 25:23, and may have resulted from a dittography of Johanan.

(11) A son of Jerahmeel (I Chron. 2:32–33).

(12) A priest from the family of Shemaiah in the days of Joiakim the high priest (Neh. 12:18).

(13) Father of Ebed, who was head of the family of Adin. He joined Ezra in his journey to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:6).

(14) Son of Asahel, who, it seems, opposed Ezra in the matter of the foreign marriages (Ezra 10:15).

(15) Father of the priest Zechariah, who took part in the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem during the days of Nehemiah (Neh. 12:35).

(16) Son of Joiada, one of the high priests of the post-Exilic period (Neh. 12:11). However, Jonathan here appears to be a corruption of Johanan, by which name he is known in Ezra 10:6 and Nehemiah 12:22–23.

[Shlomo Balter]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.