JONATHAN (Heb. "Yah [weh] gives"). Of the many Jewish bearers of this name, three are well known: (i) the grandson of Moses, who was priest at Dan (Judg. xviii. 30). The reading Manasseh (see R.V. mg.; obtained by inserting n above the consonantal text in the Hebrew) is apparently intended to suggest that' he was the son of that idolatrous king. (2) The eldest son of Saul, who, together with his father, freed Israel from the crushing oppression of the Philistines (i Sam. xiii. seq.). Both are lauded in an elegy quoted from the Book of Jashar (2 Sam. i.) for their warm mutual love, their heroism, and their labours on behalf of the people. Jonathan's name is most familiar for the firm friendship which subsisted between him and David (i Sam. xviii. 1-4; xix. 1-7; xx., xxii. 8; xxiii. 16-18), and when he fell at the battle of Gilboa and left behind him a young child (i Sam. xxxi.; 2 Sam. iv. 4), David took charge of the youth and gave him a place at his court (2 Sam. ix.). See further DAVID, SAUL. (3) The Maccabee (see JEWS; MACCABEES).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)