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When the call of God came to him, Jonah could not see beyond his own selfish desire for God to punish the Assyrians. How could God want him to take a message of mercy to such people? He had to learn something about the mercy of the Lord. Through his flight to Tarshish, his shipwreck, and his time in the great fish, Jonah was convinced in a powerful way that all salvation comes from the Lord Jonah Or so he thought.
As we often see in our own lives, God accomplished His purposes through Jonah even though it meant God doling out a heavy dose of humility on a prideful and unwilling heart. He wants ours as well. View Chuck Swindoll's chart of Jonah , which divides the book into major sections and highlights themes and key verses.
Jack P. Although some contend this book is a fable and that Jonah never actually lived, the biblical evidence is to the contrary. So does Jesus Christ. Josephus an early Jewish historian also regarded him as historical rather than fictional Antiquities of the Jews, book 9, chapter 10, sections The intertestamental writers The Apocrypha also regarded Jonah as an actual historical figure. The Greeks have long expressed their deep veneration for the prophet Jonah. In the 6th century A.
He was sent to Nineveh — the capital city of Assyria — to deliver a warning from God that unless they repented they would be destroyed. Notice the following:.
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However, at his death the nation entered a period of national weakness and even greater moral decay. In B. Tiglath-pileser III B. Israel finally fell to the Assyrians with the capture of Samaria in B. Through the preaching of Jonah, and the repentance of the people of Nineveh, the city was spared at this time.
However, history tells us their repentance was fairly short-lived. Soon they had fallen back into their sinful way of life. The prophet Nahum was then sent to these very same people. However, they failed to repent as they had with Jonah , and thus were destroyed in B.
When the lots are cast and the lot falls on Yonah, he doesn't try to weasel out of it; he says frankly that he is the cause of the problem, and that the only solution is to throw him overboard. But Yonah also says that he fears HaShem, which seems to be a strange thing to say under the circumstances. Clearly when he went to Jaffa instead of Nineveh he feared something else more than he feared HaShem, or he would have been carrying out his commission rather than running away from it.
Is his newfound fear of HaShem the product of the storm?
Jonah - Life, Hope & Truth
Astoundingly, the sailors are reluctant rather than eager to get rid of their "Jonah," their source of bad luck. They fear blood guilt more than they fear the storm, and try vainly to row to land. What gives the sailors their courage and their compassion? In any case, they do act out of courage and compassion. In the book that bears his name, only Yonah is named, and only Yonah acts badly: the four other groups of characters—the captain, the sailors, the people of Nineveh, and their king—all seem to be eager to do the right thing. Yonah is cast overboard, and swallowed by a fish. From inside the belly of the beast Yonah offers, not a prayer to be saved, or a declaration of repentance, but a hymn of thanksgiving, as if his salvation were already an accomplished fact.
Is he gaining insight and foresight?
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Or is he simply relieved to have regressed to the womb? Yonah is told again to go to Nineveh, and this time he complies. He makes what is undoubtedly the most efficient prophecy on record, if we measure prophetic efficiency in units of behavior change effected per word spoken. Yonah's prophecy, in Hebrew, is only five words long: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be destroyed. In the face of this unadorned warning, the Ninevites, like the sailors, behave astonishingly well.
They respond at once, proclaiming a fast. But the text makes it clear that the action comes up from the people and not down from their ruler. The King of Nineveh acts only after "the word reaches him" of what the people have already done. Again, we're not told what sort of evil will otherwise bring down destruction on the city. The royal proclamation simply tells the people to turn aside from their "wicked ways" and the hechamas —variously translated "violence" or "unjust gain"—that is "in their hands.
Perhaps it is precisely the spare and unspecific nature of the prophecy that gives it such power. Say to someone, anyone, you, me: "You know, you really ought to cut that out" and he will know what you're talking about, even if you don't.
The Sullen Prophet: A Commentary on the Book of Jonah
Yonah is angry that Nineveh is not destroyed. Presumably, because he feels that he has been made to look like a fool: he predicted disaster, and no disaster happened. Instead of rejoicing that his prophecy averted destruction, thus vindicating his insight, Yonah mourns that destruction was averted, thus casting doubt on his foresight. This is a moral failing not unknown among those of us who take on the contemporary versions of the prophetic role: editorialists and columnists and bloggers, televangelists and political activists and documentary film-makers and social scientists and policy analysts.