Jonathan (1 Samuel)

Jonathan (Hebrew: יְהוֹנָתָן Yəhōnāṯān Yahuchanon or Yehonatan; or יוֹנָתָן Yonatan) is a heroic figure in 1 Samuel in the Hebrew Bible. A prince of the United Kingdom of Israel, he was the eldest son of King Saul as well as a close friend of David, who eventually succeeded Saul as king.

Like his father, he was a man of great strength and swiftness (2 Samuel 1:23), and he excelled in archery (1 Samuel 20:20, 2 Samuel 1:22) and slinging (1 Chronicles 12:2).[2]

Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton of Stretton - Jonathan’s Token to David - Google Art Project
Frederic Leighton, Jonathan’s Token to David .[1] Jonathan shooting three arrows to warn David

Conflicts with Saul

Jonathan first appears in the biblical narrative as the victor of Geba, a Philistine stronghold (1 Samuel 13), while in the following chapter he carries out a lone and secret attack on another Philistine garrison, demonstrating his "prowess and courage as a warrior."[3] However, he eats honey without knowing that his father had said, "Cursed be any man who eats food before evening comes" (1 Samuel 14:24). When he learns of his father's oath, Jonathan disagrees with the wisdom of it, as it requires the soldiers to pursue the enemy although weak from fasting.[4] Saul decides to put Jonathan to death for breaking the ban, but relents when the soldiers protest (1 Samuel 14:45).

The story of David and Jonathan is introduced in chapter 18, where it says that "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself" (verse 1). Jonathan helps David escape from Saul, and asks him to show kindness to his family (1 Samuel 20:14–15); biblical scholar Joyce Baldwin suggests that this indicates that Jonathan recognised David as the future king.[5]

Saul suspects that Jonathan is colluding with David, who he believes is conspiring to overthrow him. Saul insults Jonathan calling him the "...son of a perverse and rebellious woman!" in 1 Samuel 20:30. While this is an "idiom of insult directed at Jonathan",[6] some scholars see in this verse support for the theory that Ahinoam, the wife of Saul was also the wife of David. Jon Levenson and Baruch Halpern suggest that the phrase "to the shame of your mother's nakedness" suggests "David's theft of Saul's wife".[7] Saul even goes so far as to attempt to kill Jonathan by throwing a javelin at him during a fit of paranoid rage. But, before this event happened all Jonathan did was ask his father what did David to him so that he would be put to death? (1 Sam. 20:32-33).

The last meeting between Jonathan and David would take place in a forest of Ziph at Horesh, during Saul's pursuit of David. There, the two would make a covenant before the Lord before going their separate ways (1 Samuel 23:1518).[2]


Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 031
"David and Jonathan," by Rembrandt. Jonathan is the figure in the turban.[8]

Jonathan died at the battle of Mount Gilboa along with his father and brothers[9] (1 Samuel 31). His bones were buried first at Jabesh-gilead, (1 Samuel 31:13) but were later removed with those of his father and moved to Zelah.[2] [10] Jonathan was the father of Mephibosheth, to whom David showed special kindness for Jonathan's sake (2 Samuel 9).

Cultural symbolism

Jonathan has typically been portrayed as a "model of loyalty to truth and friendship", in the words of T. H. Jones.[3]

A homoerotic, chaste or otherwise, interpretation of the story of David and Jonathan has been adopted by one writer. André Gide's play Saul portrays Jonathan as "a beautiful, fainting, effeminate creature, in a state of hysterical rapture over David’s physical strength." This is counter to the biblical narrative, in which Jonathan was a much older and stronger warrior having been well seasoned in battle before David was ever given a chance to fight Goliath. At this time David was thought to be puny and weak. [11]


  1. ^ "Jonathan's -token-to-david".
  2. ^ a b c ", 'Jonathan'". Retrieved 2014-05-23.
  3. ^ a b T. H. Jones, "Jonathan," in J. D. Douglas, (ed.), New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 654.
  4. ^ Bar, Shaul. "Saul and Jonathan". Jewish Bible Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 2, 2019, p. 95
  5. ^ Baldwin, J., 1 and 2 Samuel (TOCT; Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988), p. 135.
  6. ^ David Toshio Tsumura, The First Book of Samuel (NICOT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 520.
  7. ^ Jon D. Levenson and Baruch Halpern, "The Political Import of David's Marriages", JBL 99 [1980] 515.
  8. ^ Hermitage News Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ (1 Chronicles 10:1–2)
  10. ^ G. Darshan, "The Reinterment of Saul and Jonathan’s Bones (II Sam 21, 12–14) in Light of Ancient Greek Hero-Cult Stories", ZAW, 125,4 (2013), 640–645.
  11. ^ Edward Sackville West, New Statesman, 10 July 1926, xxvii, 360, in R. P. Draper, D. H. Lawrence: The Critical Heritage, p.261.

Further reading

  • Adam Green, King Saul, The True History of the First Messiah (Lutterworth Press, 2007) – includes a critical literary reassessment of the character and personality of Jonathan and his relationships with Saul and David.
Brother Jonathan (disambiguation)

Brother Jonathan is an iconic figure and emblem of the states of New England.

Brother Jonathan may also refer to:

Brother Jonathan (newspaper), a periodical published in New York City that stopped publication during the Civil War

Brother Jonathan (steamer), an ocean vessel known for regularly rounding Cape Horn

Gustave Doré's illustrations for La Grande Bible de Tours

The illustrations for La Grande Bible de Tours are a series of 241 wood-engravings, designed by the French artist, printmaker, and illustrator Gustave Doré (1832–1883) for a new deluxe edition of the 1843 French translation of the Vulgate Bible, popularly known as the Bible de Tours.

La Grande Bible de Tours, issued in 1866, was a large folio ("grand in folio") edition published in two volumes simultaneously by Mame in Tours, France and by Cassell & Company in the United Kingdom in 1866. The French translation known as the Bible de Tours had originally been published in 1843 and was done by Jean Jacques Bourassé (1813–1872) and Pierre Désiré Janvier.

The illustrations were immensely successful and have been reproduced countless times worldwide, influencing the visual arts and popular culture in ways difficult to measure. The series comprises 139 plates depicting scenes from the Old Testament, 21 from the Apocrypha (deuterocanonical books), and 81 from the New Testament.


Jonathan may refer to:

Jonathan (name), masculine given name


Jonathon is a given name. It is an often used alternative spelling of "Jonathan," as is "Johnathan." These may refer to:

Jonathan (1 Samuel) (note the original spelling), son of King Saul and friend of David

Jonathon Brandmeier (born 1956), a Chicago radio personality and musician.

Jonathon Morris (born 1960), English actor and former television presenter.

Jonathon Simmons (born 1989), American professional basketball player

Jonathon Young (born 1973), Canadian actor

Jonathon Porritt (born 1950), a leading British environmentalist and writer.

Jonathon Blum (born 1989), American professional ice hockey defenseman, currently playing with HC Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey

Jonathon Webb (born 1983), Australian professional racing driver and team owner of Tekno Autosports


Keilah (Hebrew: קעילה), meaning Citadel, was a city in the lowlands of Judah (Joshua 15:44). It is now a ruin, known as Kh. Qeila, near the modern village of Qila.

According to the biblical narrative in the first Book of Samuel, the Philistines had made an inroad eastward as far as Keilah, and had begun to appropriate the country for themselves, until David prevented them (1 Samuel 23:1). Later, he discerned in prayer that the inhabitants of the town, his native countrymen, would prove unfaithful to him, in that they had offered to deliver him up to King Saul (1 Samuel 23:10-12). He and his 600 men "departed from Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go”. They fled to the woods in the wilderness of Ziph. "And David was in the wilderness of Ziph, in a wood" (1 Samuel 23:15). Here his friend Jonathan sought him out, "and strengthened his hand in God": this was the last meeting between David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 23:16-18).

Keilah is mentioned in the Book of Joshua (15:44) as one of the cities of the Shephelah ("lowlands"). Benjamin of Tudela identified Kâkôn (Qaqun) as ancient Keilah in 1160. Conder and Kitchener, however, identified the biblical site with the ruin Kila, "seven English-miles from Beit Jibrin," and 11 km (7 mi) northwest of Hebron. The site was earlier described by Eusebius in his Onomasticon as being "[nearly] eight [Roman] miles east of Eleutheropolis, on the road to Hebron." Victor Guérin, who visited Palestine between the years 1852–1888, also identified Keilah with the same ruin, Khirbet Kila (Arabic: خربة كيلا‎), near the modern village by that name, a place situated a few kilometers south of Adullam (Khurbet esh Sheikh Madhkur) and west of Kharas. This view has been adopted by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The ruin, Khirbet Kila, lies on the north side of the village Kila. Guérin found here a subterranean and circular vault, apparently ancient; the vestiges of a wall surrounding the plateau, and on the side of a neighboring hill, tombs cut in the rock face. The town is mentioned in the Amarna tablets under the corruption Ḳilta.

The town's present residents are Bedouins who were expelled during Israel's War of Independence from areas around Beer Sheba.


Micah (; Hebrew: מִיכָה, Modern: Mikha, Tiberian: Mîḵā) is a given name.

Micah is the name of several people in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), and means "Who is like God?" The name is sometimes found with theophoric extensions. Suffix theophory in Yah and in Yahweh results in Michaiah or Michaihu (Hebrew: מִיכָיְהוּ, Modern: Mikhayhu, Tiberian: Mîḵā́yhû), meaning who is like Yahweh? Suffix theophory in El results in Michael (Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל, Modern: Mikha'el, Tiberian: Mîḵāʼēl), meaning "who is like god".

In German and Dutch, Micah is spelled Micha and the ch in the name is pronounced either [ʃ] or [x]; the first is more common in female names, the latter in male names. The name is not as common as Michael or Michiel.


Superbook, also known as Animated Parent and Child Theatre (アニメ 親子劇場, Anime Oyako Gekijō), is an anime television series from the early 1980s, initially produced at Tatsunoko Productions in Japan in conjunction with the Christian Broadcasting Network in the United States and more recently solely produced by CBN for global distribution and broadcast.The series chronicled the events of the Bible's Old and New Testaments in its 52-episode run. The first 26 episodes aired from October 1, 1981 to March 25, 1982. The series returned as Superbook II (パソコントラベル探偵団, Pasokon Toraberu Tanteidan, lit. Personal Computer Travel Detective Team) with 26 episodes to air from April 4, 1983 to September 26, 1983. Between both series in the first run was the companion series The Flying House. The Christian Broadcasting Network is producing a new Superbook series and has released 4 seasons. CBN is distributing the first and second seasons for free on their Superbook Kid's Website.


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