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Thread: Jonah Rules!

  1. #1
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Eugene, OR

    Jonah Rules!

    Jonah is a short story comprising 4 short chapters. Godís prophet, Jonah, is cowardly, lazy and angry with God. The story takes less than 5 minutes to read. Hereís a link:

    The prayer Jonah prays from the belly of the great fish reads like a lampoon of the psalms, and the fish vomits Jonah up onto dry land in response to it. The images are clearly humorous. Does Jonah learn the glory of God from this? Hardly. He goes to Ninaveh to fulfill the mission he had shirked (to tell the Ninavites that their city would be destroyed because of their sinful ways). However, the Ninavites repent, so God doesnít destroy the city.

    Instead of being happy about this, Jonah sulks. God showed him up! He is a reluctant and petulant prophet. The final lesson about the plant that shades Jonah from the sun is just ridiculous Ė itís silly that Jonah sulks about it, and silly that God compares it to Ninaveh. The entire story is like a parody of normal parables. Great stuff!

  2. #2
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    I too love the Jonah story and find it very funny! I missed the lampooning of the psalms - must read it again with that in mind.

    Perhaps the humour was not entirely intentional, but it was certainly written by someone with a playful and irreverent mind. Jonah fast asleep below deck while the rest are in such a flutter - calmly telling them to pick him up and throw him into the water - the fish 'vomitting' Jonah onto the dry land. His almost unbelievable gift as a proselytizer is also funny. No sooner has he landed in Nineveh than the whole city is repenting in sackcloth, right up to the king himself!

    Then we have the disgruntled Jonah sulking in a booth, while God plays tricks on him.

    However, I don't think Jonah is cowardly or lazy. He refuses to obey the command because he knows that his God "is a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity". He did not want to make a fool of himself, prophesying to the people of Nineveh that God would destroy them in 40 days, when he knew God would not follow through. So, as a prophet, it was his professional pride that made him disobey God and try to hide from him, rather than fear or laziness. Truly great stuff!
    Exit, pursued by a bear.

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