🔼The name Jonathan: Summary
- Yah Has Given
- From (1) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord, and (2) the verb נתן (natan), to give.
🔼The name Jonathan in the Bible
The name Jonathan (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the name John; short for Jonathan is Nate) is among the most popular names in the Bible. It's in turn short for the name Jehonathan (יהונתן), and the shorter and longer versions alternate without an obvious distinction.
The men named Jonathan or Jehonathan in the Bible are:
- The most famous Jonathan: the eldest son of Saul and beloved friend of David. He is introduced as Jonathan (יונתן) in 1 Samuel 13:2, and first gets called Jehonathan (יהונתן) in 14:6. Both names apply to him a few dozen times.
- An idolatrous wannabe Levite (Judges 18:30).
- An uncle of David (1 Chronicles 27:32).
- A son of Abiathar, who remains loyal to David (2 Samuel 15:27).
- A son of Shimei, the brother of David (2 Samuel 21:21).
- One of David's mighty-men (2 Samuel 23:32).
- A Judahite (1 Chronicles 2:32).
- A son of Kareah and the brother of Johanan, who was a military commander in the days of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 40:8).
- A scribe whose house was made into a prison for Jeremiah (Jeremiah 37:15).
- An opponent of Ezra's connubial reforms (Ezra 10:15).
- A chief among the returnees (Ezra 8:6).
- A musician at the dedication of the new Jerusalem wall (Nehemiah 12:35).
- A household head (Nehemiah 12:14).
- A postexilic priest (Nehemiah 12:11).
🔼Etymology of the name Jonathan
The name Jonathan consists of two elements. The first part is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which is the commonly accepted abbreviated form of יהוה, which is YHWH, the Name of the Lord.
The second part of the name Jonathan comes from the verb נתן (natan), meaning to give:
The shape-shifting verb נתן (natan) means to give in a broad bouquet of senses, from regular giving or bestowing, to setting or putting, to transforming one thing or situation into another.
This verb's three nouns מתן (mattan), מתנה (mattana) and מתת (mattat) all mean gift, again broadly ranging from a regular present to an offering to an innate talent (being "gifted").
For the meaning of the name Jonathan, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Given. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads The Lord Gave or Lord Of Giving.