Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon

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(Hebrew, Yahweh hath given, cf. Theodore; Sept. 'Ionáthan.)

Name of several persons mentioned in the Old Testament.

Among these may be mentioned the following:

(2) JONATHAN (Vulg. JONATHAS), eldest son of Saul by Achinoam (I Kings, xiv, 49, 50). He first appears as taking part with his father in the struggle against the Philistines, and such was his bravery that Saul confided to him the command of a thousand soldiers in Gabaa. Jonathan's defeat of the garrison of the Philistines in Gabaa, and his subsequent victory on the confines of the same town are narrated in I Kings, xiii, xiv. Through an intervention regarded as miraculous (xiv, 15) the latter combat resulted in a general rout of the Philistines, and Saul in the excitement of the pursuit proclaimed a rash oath, saying: Cursed be the man that shall eat food till evening, till I be revenged of my enemies. The course of the flight led through a forest where wild honey appeared upon the ground, but the people tasted it not for they feared the oath. But Jonathan, not having heard his father's pronouncement, innocently tasted the honey, and, when a halt was called in the evening and the priest consulted Yahweh as to a further pursuit of the enemy, no answer was given. Saul immediately assumed that some sin had been committed against the Lord, and again he rashly swore that, even should the guilt be found on his son Jonathan, he should surely die. The lots having indicated Jonathan as the guilty one, he confessed to having tasted the honey, and was saved only by the intervention of the people (I Kings, xiv, 45). When, after his victory over Goliath, the youthful David appeared at the court of Saul, a most deep and loyal friendship sprang up between him and Jonathan, who more than once was instrumental in saving his friend from Saul's envious wrath (I Kings, xviii sqq.). But Saul, though having several times relented, finally became implacable, and Jonathan, seeing his efforts useless, sent his friend away to Nobe after a renewal of the mutual covenant of friendship between themselves and their posterity (I Kings, xx). Jonathan cheerfully renounced in favour of his friend his right to the throne of his father, counting himself happy to be second to him in the kingdom. This covenant was renewed later when David after the siege of Ceila withdrew into the desert of Ziph (I Kings, xxiii, 15-18), but Jonathan was not destined to share in the ultimate triumph of his friend. In a battle against the Philistines in Mount Gelboe he was slain together with his two brothers Abinadab and Melchisus, and Saul his father. Their bodies were piously buried by the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad (I Kings, xxxi).

… III. BEURLIER, ibid., s. v. Jonathas (2). … See also GIGOT,Outlines of Jewish History, xxviii, § 2, 2; HASTINGS, Dict. of the Bible, s.v.

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Aus: Charles G. Herbermann: The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company, New York 1907 - 1912 - zuletzt aktualisiert am 00.00.2014
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