Jonathan

A good friend to King David, and the oldest son of King Saul. He was a commander of 1,000 men in Saul's army (1 Samuel 13:2).

In the famous battle of Michmash, Jonathan and his armor bearer attacked the Philistine garrison and killed about twenty men. This caused panic in the Philistine army. When Saul and the Israelites saw this, they attacked and routed the Philistines. But Saul pronounced a curse on anyone in his army who ate anything before the battle was over. Jonathan who did not know of the curse, ate some honey to refresh himself. Saul was ready to have Jonathan executed when he found this out, but the army refused to allow the king to harm Jonathan, due to his heroic fight and victory against the Philistines.

A few years later Jonathan and David became good friends, and as King Saul became more jealous of David, Jonathan tried to bring peace between the two. But, as bad as things got between Saul and David, and as good a friend Jonathan was to David, he stayed with his father fighting the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. Jonathan and Saul were both killed in this battle (1 Samuel 31:1-2).

When David learned of the death of his good friend, he composed a eulogy for both Jonathan and Saul (2 Samuel 1:19-27). Because of David's great friendship with Jonathan, he later took in Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, and treated him kindly.

The name Jonathan means "the Lord has given."

Next person in the Bible: Joseph

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