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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Jonathan

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In the early days of Saul’s kingship, the Israelite army consisted of two main divisions, one under the command of Saul, the other under the command of his eldest son, Jonathan (1 Samuel 13:2; 1 Samuel 14:49). Early in his career, Jonathan showed his sharp thinking and his courage when he took his armour-bearer and carried out a daring raid that threw the enemy Philistines into confusion. Though it was a risky adventure, it resulted in a notable victory for Israel (1 Samuel 14:1-48).

When David became a member of Saul’s court and then of his army, he and Jonathan became close friends (1 Samuel 18:1-4). David’s victories stirred up Saul’s jealousy and hatred, but Jonathan defended him and intervened on his behalf. He successfully pleaded with his father to stop trying to kill David (1 Samuel 19:1-7).

Unknown to Jonathan, Saul renewed his attacks on David (1 Samuel 19:8-11). When Jonathan heard about this, he determined to find out Saul’s real intentions towards David (1 Samuel 20:1-23). Unlike his father, Jonathan showed no jealousy of David, even when his father reminded him that David was a threat to his own chances of becoming king (1 Samuel 20:30-34).

Jonathan helped David escape, but neither he nor David plotted against the king. Their sole purpose was to save David’s life. While remaining loyal to the king, Jonathan reassured David that nothing could change the relationship between them. He knew that David would be the next king, and he would be happy to serve under him as chief minister (1 Samuel 23:16-18).

Some years later Jonathan was tragically killed in a battle with the Philistines. David’s love for him is seen in the song of remembrance he wrote after his friend’s premature death (1 Samuel 31:2; 2 Samuel 1:17-27).


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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Jonathan'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/j/jonathan.html. 2004.

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