Jonah And The Gourd Vine
The Book of Jonah closes abruptly with an epistolary warning based on the emblematic trope of a fast-growing vine present in Persian narratives, and popularized in fables such as The Gourd and the Palm-tree during the Renaissance, for example by Andrea Alciato.
St. Jerome differed with St. Augustine in his Latin translation of the plant known in Hebrew as , using hedera over the more common Latin cucurbita, “gourd,” from which the English word gourd is derived. The Renaissance humanist artist Albrecht Dürer memorialized Jerome’s decision to use an analogical type of Christ’s “I am the Vine, you are the branches” in his woodcut Saint Jerome in His Study.
Jonahs Story Validated By Christ
First, we should note that this marvelous narrative has suffered the brunt of the critics barbs for a long while. Because of the incident of Jonah being swallowed by the sea-creature, many modern scholars contend that the document is pure fiction .
Jesus Christ, however, did not so view it. He appealed to the narrative as genuine history , and this settles the issue for all who have any regard for the Saviors deity.
Aside from the fact that this event doubtless involved a miracle, the circumstances are not beyond the realm of possibility even from a natural viewpoint . In fact, a number of similar cases have been documented in relatively modern times.
In 1891, a seaman was swallowed by a large sperm whale near the Falkland Islands. After three days, he was recovered, unconscious but alive, though there was some damage to his skin . Some, however, dispute the credibility of this story.
Moreover, some critics argue that the book of Jonah depicts the prophet as being swallowed by a great fish , while the New Testament suggests that the creature was a whale . And, as any schoolboy knows, a whale is a mammal, not a fish.
The fallacy of this ill-conceived argument lies in the fact that both the Hebrew word dag, and the Greek word ketos, are generic terms that can apply to any aquatic creature . There is no error here.
Gods Interest In All People
This inspired document reveals the international interest of God, even in the Mosaic era.
Though Jehovah was working primarily through the Hebrew nation as an instrument for the sending of the promised Seed , nevertheless, his compassion for all the people of the earth was abundantly manifested. And the sending of the missionary, Jonah, to these Gentile Ninevites was a clear demonstration of this.
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Great Lessons From The Book Of Jonah
The prophet Jonah lived in the Galilean city of Gath-hepher during the reign of Jeroboam II , king of Israel . Jeroboam II was northern Israels most powerful king, and during his administration, the borders of the nation were expanded to their greatest extent since the time of David and Solomon.
Assyria, however, five hundred miles to the east, was a constant threat. The fact of the matter is, due to Israels progressive rebellion, the prophets Hosea and Amos, contemporaries of Jonah, had declared that Jehovah would use Assyria as an instrument of punishment against his people . Any patriotic Israelite would have longed for Assyrias destruction!
One can scarcely imagine, therefore, the consternation that must have filled Jonahs heart when he received the Lords word instructing him to proceed to Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, with a divine message.
Jonah Teaches Us That God Uses All Means To Extend His Grace To All Kinds Of People
In the book of Jonah God uses a roaring sea, wayward pagan sailors who, by the way, were saved by God during their experience with the renegade prophet as well as, a pagan king, a weed, a worm, and even a hardheaded preacher. The mission of God is a guaranteed success because of the sovereignty of God. Jonah demonstrates how God uses all of His creation to bring about the salvation of one very wicked nation. How much more will God use all things to reach you? How much more will God hear your prayers as you cry out for a wayward child? Or a friend? Or trouble within your church? There are no limits to God’s grace and love, and there are no limits to his ways and means of attaining His goals for salvation.
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What Is The Jonah Story About
Gods Pursuit of Jonah and the Wayward City
This blog post is an excerpt from the introduction of our newest resource, an Everyday Discipleship Study on the book of Jonah. This study launches Monday, Jan 6th but you can download the first chapter for free now!
Jonah is a story about a sour prophet on the run. Its also a story about a large fish with an appetite for prophets. And, its the story of a rebellious city sprung into a revival of repentance. But, its first and foremost about God and His mission. He gets the first words, and He gets the last. He is the cause and the conclusion of this story. To journey through the book of Jonah is to go on a long walk into the heart of God and His passion to make Himself known to all people.
Mission arises from the heart of God himself, and is communicated from his heart to ours. Mission is the global outreach of the global people of a global God. Christopher Wright, The Mission of God
But I wonder, do you live in His grace? Do you live under His pursuit of your soul? Has God captured your heart in such a way that everything He calls you to isnt a burden to accomplish but a joy?
Heres the truth for you in Jonah: God is not done with you. Hes pursuing your soul. Youre not on Gods mission, you are Gods mission.
The Bible Story Of Jonah And The Whale
This is a summary of the Biblical account of Jonah and the big fish. You can read more in-depth Bible verses from the Scripture below and use the articles and videos to understand the meaning behind this teachable event in the Bible. God called to Jonah one day and told him to go preach to Nineveh because the people were very wicked. Jonah hated this idea because Nineveh was one of Israel’s greatest enemies and Jonah wanted nothing to do with preaching to them!
Jonah tried to run away from God in the opposite direction of Nineveh and headed by boat to Tarshish. God sent a great storm upon the ship and the men decided Jonah was to blame so they threw him overboard. As soon as they tossed Jonah in the water, the storm stopped.
God sent a big fish, some call it a whale, to swallow Jonah and to save him from drowning. While in the belly of the big fish , Jonah prayed to God for help, repented, and praised God. For three days Jonah sat in the belly of the fish. Then, God had the big fish throw up Jonah onto the shores of Nineveh.
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Jonah Disobeys God And Flees
Instead of going northeast toward Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship and headed in a westerly direction to Tarshish , but was overtaken by a severe storm.
Why did Jonah disregard Gods command? God was telling Jonah to take a message of repentance to an empire destined to destroy his own nation and people. Jonah knew what the Assyrians were capable of doing. If they listened to Gods warningif they repentedthen God might spare them, and they would remain a looming threat.
Jonah wanted to see Nineveh destroyed. Out of patriotic zeal for his nation Israel, he fled in the opposite direction. He shuddered to consider the implications if Nineveh actually responded to his message: prolonging the life of a brutal, ruthless and bloodthirsty nation threatening the existence of Gods people.
Jonah Shows Us That God’s Love Is Greater Than Our Self
Jonah was quite content with God’s grace and God’s love over Israel and over his own life. But when God called him to go to Nineveh, we read that Jonah went in the opposite direction. He ran from God not merely because he was afraid of God, but because he really did not want to bring the good news of God’s grace to his enemies. The issue in the book of Jonah causes each of us to reflect on this truth: those who curse Christ today could be those who preach Christ tomorrow. Don’t just take the Ninevites words for it listen to the Apostle Paul:
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hathenabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus .
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Dltk’s Bible Stories For Childrenjonah And The Big Fish
One day God asked a man named Jonah to go to a place calledNineveh and tell the people living there to stop being bad. The onlyproblem was that Jonah didn’t want to help the people there. He knew theywere bad and he wanted them to be punished for their mistakes.
So instead of listening to God, Jonah thought he would run awayfrom Nineveh and not do what God asked him. He ran to the sea where hefound a ship that was going to another city. He paid the captain, went inthe lower part of the boat and went to sleep.
Shortly after the boat left the shore, a very bad storm came upand started tossing the boat around. All the men were very afraid so theystarted to throw all their packages and bags overboard in hopes that theywouldn’t drown.
The captain soon went to find Jonah who was still sound asleepin the boat. He said to Jonah, “How can you sleep? Get up andpray to your god, maybe he can help us!” The captain didn’t realizethat Jonah didn’t just believe in any God but the one true God and that He couldhelp them.
Meanwhile, the other sailors decided that the storm was Jonah’sfault. He must have done something wrong to make his god so angry. So they asked Jonah, “What have you done? What god do you believein? What can we do to make this storm stop?”
Jonah told them, “I believe in the Lord, the God of heaven,who made the sea and the land and I am running away from something God asked meto do. It is my fault this is happening. If you throw me into thesea the storm will stop.”
Its Simpler To Say Jonah Foreshadows Jesus
Jonah points to Jesus, but an argument that Jesus is a better Jonah would not stand up to intelligent discussion. Many men behaved more admirably than Jonah even within this short book, not to mention many more men throughout Scripture. Jonah is not the namesake of impaired wisdom or imperfect courage but of cowardice and resentment.
Jonahs ordeal inside the belly of the whale certainly evokes Christs death and resurrection over the same time period. Jesus, however, experienced the full wrath of God, which he endured willingly for our sakes. Jonah would not weep over a people who came close to destruction, but Jesus, the true prophet, did.
While Jonah went outside the city, hoping to witness its condemnation, Jesus Christ went outside the city to die on a cross to accomplish its salvation Keller remarks. In every parallel, Jonah emerges as an example of how not to behave, and only the direction of his travel changes.
One might more profitably compare Jonah with Paul, who risked his life in loving service to God, to believers, and to unbelievers. When a Gentile jailer threatened suicide because his Christian prisoners were about to escape, Paul cried with a loud voice, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here .
He was courageous, loving, and obedient to the Lord. God rebukes Jonah: Should not I pity Nineveh? . Pauls heart, however, was moved by unbelief, such as in Athens when he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols .
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How Do I Read It
Jonah is a story. When a person reads a story, he or she pays attention to things such as plot and characters. In terms of Jonahs plot, one basic issue is, What will God do with a prophet who disobeys Gods command? A second central issue is, On whom will God have mercyjust the Israelites, or also Nineveh and other places and people of great evil? There are two central characters: Jonah and God. The basic issue with God is the question of whether God will have mercyMercy is a term used to describe leniency or compassion. Gods mercy is frequently referred to or invoked in both the Old and New Testaments. More on rebellious and wicked peoplesuch as those who live in Nineveh or a prophet who rebels. The basic question with Jonah is whether he can learn to accommodate his own sense of right and wrong to the realities of Gods mercy.
Key 4 With Repentance Must Come Obedience
All 4 chapters of Jonah paints this picture of how we are to process our sin or disobedience before God.
- Jonah 1-2 Acknowledge our sin
- Jonah 2 Accept Gods Discipline
- Jonah 2 Repent
- Jonah 3 Act on Gods direction
Whenever we are in a situation where we have turned our back on God its important to follow these four steps. Only true repentance can happen when we acknowledge and are willing to go in Gods direction.
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Why Do I Need An Online Bible Study Community
You need an Online Bible Study Community because its easy to skim over the hard parts, the uncomfortable parts of reading Scripture. So, um Jonah runs? Whoaum who would do such a thing? Its easy for us to gloss over a particularly convicting story in the Bible as just that, a story.
But in a community of women who love the Lord and not only want to grow in closer friendship with Him but want to walk alongside others who are striving for a closer friendship with Godits not so easy to get away. Whats the saying? You can run but you cant hide.
Lets quickly talk about where we hide. I mean its not like many, if any of us have ever hopped a ship in the opposite direction the Lord clearly told us to go, right? But what about the Dollar Spot at Target? The drive-through at Starbucks? The ridiculously easy motion of scrolling up on our phone?
But in an Online Bible Study Community, its might not be that easy to run. At some point, as the sailors did on the storm-tossed ship with Jonah, someone might start asking questions. Where are you? Has anyone heard from you? They might send you a message asking if youre ok.
Jonahs Trial From God
Jonah was in the whales belly for 3 days and 3 nights.
Jonah went into the water, but not to be killed by drowning. Instead he was swallowed by a great fish . He was in the whales belly for 3 days and 3 nights.
Jonah awoke in the belly of the fish and cried out to God. He confessed his disobedience and told God that he would accomplish the task that the Lord had called him to. God then instructed the whale to vomit Jonah out onto dry ground.
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Jason From Greek Mythology
Campbell also noted several similarities between the story of Jonah and that of Jason in Greek mythology. The Greek rendering of the name Jonah is Jonas , which differs from Jason only in the order of soundsâboth os are omegas suggesting that Jason may have been confused with Jonah. Gildas Hamel, drawing on the Book of Jonah and Greco-Roman sourcesâincluding Greek vases and the accounts of Apollonius of Rhodes, Gaius Valerius Flaccus and Orphic Argonauticaâidentifies a number of shared motifs, including the names of the heroes, the presence of a dove, the idea of “fleeing” like the wind and causing a storm, the attitude of the sailors, the presence of a sea-monster or dragon threatening the hero or swallowing him, and the form and the word used for the “gourd” .
Hamel takes the view that it was the Hebrew author who reacted to and adapted this mythological material to communicate his own, quite different message.
Words To Anchor Your Soul
You are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and one who relents concerning threatened judgment.
Jonah, speaking of God in Jonah 4:2b
How familiar are you with anchors? I grew up near the Texas Gulf coast and spent many hours there with my friends riding the waves in inner tubes or on floats. We generally paddled out past the breakers and floated back until we got caught in them then, we pushed back out and started over. Eventually we found ourselves far from home, the area of beach where we began and where all our stuff was. I remember one scary day when a strong storm blew in, pushing us far out and way down the beach very quickly and violently.
The only way to prevent items from floating away with the current is to be attached to the ocean floor by an anchor.
Picture your soul anchored well so that you dont drift away from Godeither slowly by simply letting culture carry you away or quickly because of a brewing storm. Although Gods prophets wrote their messages thousands of years ago, they still speak to us today, warning us when we have drifted from God and calling us back home. Often we are unaware of how far from home weve gone.
Ive personally floated away from God by drifting slowly as well as quickly in a violent personal storm. If God had not hung onto me by his Spirit and the truth of his Word, I would still be adrift today. Even now danger looms if I let go of the anchor and listen to other voices.
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