The Bible is full of interesting characters, and Jonathan is one of them. Who is Jonathan? When most people think of Jonathan, they think of their best friend, David. Their relationship is one of the best examples we have of a biblical friendship. The two were close and intimate in a way that is foreign to the surface-level friendships that most people have today. Let’s learn more about Jonathan in the Bible.
Will The Real Jonathan Please Stand Up
There are many different men named Jonathan in the Bible, but only two are prominent. One is the first son of Gershom and the grandson of Moses. He came from the tribe of Levi and was notorious for being the priest that led idol worship during the troublesome time of the judges.
Judges 18:3-4 tells us, “When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?” He told them what Micah had done for him and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.””
The other Jonathan is the son of Saul and the best friend and brother-in-law of David. He was noble, faithful, loyal, and had good overall character. This is the Jonathan that we will focus on in this article. He was mainly discussed in the Books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.
In 1 Samuel 18:1-3, we learn how loyal Jonathan was to David. “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.”
Who Was Jonathan In the Bible?
Jonathan was well known as King Saul’s eldest son and David’s best friend, who defeated the giant Goliath at a young age and then became a king. He was portrayed in the Bible as someone who honored the Lord despite having made difficult choices.
Jonathan’s name means “Jehovah has given.” It was a fitting name for someone who turned out to be a great hero. He led the Israelites and won over the Philistines at Geba. He was a valiant warrior who achieved victory despite having no one except his armor-bearer.
He was also a loyal friend. He lived when culture dictated that family should always come first. However, when the time came when he had to choose between his father and his best friend, he chose the latter.
According to the Bible, the sanity of King Saul started to crumble. As a result, conflict followed. Jonathan then made a covenant with his best friend, David. He gave David his robe, belt, bow, tunic, and sword. He also defended him when his father, King Saul, ordered for David to be killed.
Jonathan was Loyal
Saul became very angry at Jonathan, so he threw a spear. Jonathan knew that David was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king of Israel. So, even though he also had a right to the throne since King Saul was his father, he gave way and accepted that God intended for David to become king. He respected God’s will and became His instrument in the fulfillment of His plan for David.
God also used the Philistines to make way for the kingship of David. Saul fell on his sword while in battle. His sons, Malki-Shua, Abinadab, and Jonathan, were killed by the Philistines. Jonathan sacrificed and gave up his life to help fulfill God’s plan for David to become King. This was his final act of love for David as his best friend.
Of course, David was very sad. His heart was broken at Jonathan’s passing. He then led entire Israel in mourning for both Jonathan and Saul. He also took in Jonathan’s lame son, Mephibosheth, in honor of his lifelong friend. He gave the boy food and shelter, taking care of him like his son.
Mephibosheth was just five years old when his father and grandfather were killed in the battle at Mount Gilboa. His nurse picked him up to flee. In her haste, however, she accidentally dropped him. This caused Mephibosheth to be lame throughout his life.
Years later, David became king. He never forgot Jonathan, his best friend. He was very grateful to him, so he vowed to take care of his family. This was in contrast to the custom during that time. Back then, the newly crowned king looked for the descendants of the former king to kill them so that they would not be a threat.
David, however, wanted to respect Saul and honor the memory of Jonathan. Ziba, Saul’s servant, informed David about Mephibosheth. He was living in Lo Debar, which translates to “land of nothing.” David then summoned him to his court.
We see this in 2 Samuel 9:7. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father, Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.””
What to Remember About Jonathan in the Bible
In the Bible, Jonathan was said to be an officer in the army of Israel. His father was Saul, and his mother was Ahinoam. He had brothers named Abinadab and Malki-Shua, as well as sisters named Merab and Michal. Michal then went on to marry David. Jonathan also had a son named Mephibosheth, who was adopted by David years after Jonathan died in battle.
Jonathan was described as a man with good character and notable accomplishments. He defeated the Philistines at Gibeah and Micmash. He was so loved by the army that they saved him from a foolish oath made by his father, Saul.
1 Samuel 14:43-46 tells us, “Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!” Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.” But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die – he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death. Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land.”
Jonathan was a hero in a lot of ways. He possessed wisdom, loyalty, integrity, and courage. He feared and honored the Lord. He trusted God’s plan and made sacrifices. He made difficult choices but never regretted them, for he knew that these were the ways of the Lord.
Application from Jonathan in The Bible
One of the things that will always stand out to me about the story of Jonathan is how loyal he was. He was such a good friend that this is a story that the LGBTQ+ community will use to support their cause. One of the reasons for this is that these two had an intimate male relationship.
Intimate friendships are so foreign to us that we think they can only be a part of a romantic relationship, but this is not true. Churches should be full of intimate relationships that have nothing to do with sexual relationships. People should be willing to bear their souls to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
We were made for these intimate relationships because they reflect our intimate relationship with Christ. We run to Jesus with all of our problems and all of our deepest needs. Our relationships with others should reflect our relationship with Christ. People should come to you with their problems and their deepest needs on a regular basis.
Live This Out
- Challenge yourself to be more vulnerable with your friends
- Stop living behind the fake Christian mask
- Challenge your friends to hold you accountable