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  #21  
Old 08-08-2018, 06:31 AM
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Re: Jonah Was a Jerk!

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Originally Posted by votivesoul View Post
I'm not saying Jonah was right, but I don't think calling him a jerk tells the full account. Or even calling him a racist bigot. It's more complex than that.

Jonah's people were pretty much annihilated by the Assyrians in or at least by 722 BC. It wasn't a pretty sight. Assyrians used to skin their enemies alive, impale people on poles, and lead their slaves around with fish-hooks through their lips attached to ropes or chains, and otherwise, completely brutalize their conquered subjects.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f4a...d13832cd46.pdf

So, if you are a prophet, and you know the Word of God so far written up to that point, you know the LORD is good and His mercy endures forever, and you know that His prophets of old have ever spoken of His great grace and steadfast love, even for heathens.

So, deep down, you know that God could very well spare the heathen Ninevites, and grant them mercy in repentance, because that's something God has been doing with your people since day one, even when your people have acted worse than the heathens surrounding your nation.

So, you know it down to the core of your being, but you just can't bring yourself to desire to see it come to pass, because you know how horrifically your people have suffered under their reign of terror.

Put yourself in his place for a moment. If someone invaded your home, slaughtered as many as they could, raped and pillaged across the land, brutalized your women, your children, your elderly, enslaved however many they didn't outright kill, and took them all away never to be seen or heard from again, and then, sometime after that, God speaks to you and tells you to go and preach to that invading force because He desires to save them from their wickedness: that's Jonah.

And, you could even scale back all of that, and just speak to a home intruder that murders half your family and kidnaps your children, or some other terrible, but closely related crime, then imagine that God tells you to go and visit the perpetrator in prison and share the Gospel with them.

Can you forgive such atrocities so easily and just go and be a saint? If not, does that make you a jerk? A racist bigot? Not at all. It makes you someone so hurt and enraged and inflamed with feelings of hatred, that getting past all of that requires a sovereign, miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, something Jonah wasn't prepared to experience.

The story, therefore, is designed to show us that even though we might be God's people, we sometimes don't understand or refuse to comprehend, the lengths God will go to to save His creation, even when they are at their most vile. So, Jonah teaches us that we must learn to be like God, to forgive the worst humanity has to throw at us, to care more for lost, corrupted, despicable, horrible humans, than our own petty concerns of comfort and religiosity. That even our worst enemies can still repent, while they live, and that their eternal life is more important than pain or hurt they've caused us.
Wow. Awesome post!

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  #22  
Old 08-08-2018, 06:34 AM
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Re: Jonah Was a Jerk!

Votive,

I remember hearing a rabbi talk about the book of Jonah. He mentioned several of the things you did in your post. He then brought up how the book appears to end so abruptly, and with a question. Let's take a look...
Jonah 3:10
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Jonah 4:1-11
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
3 Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
4 Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?
5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
In his rabbinical manner, he explained that he believed that the book ends so abruptly with a question because God desires us, the readers, to ponder how we would respond to God's final statement if we were Jonah.

Thoughts?
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Last edited by Aquila; 08-08-2018 at 06:41 AM.
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  #23  
Old 08-08-2018, 06:38 AM
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Re: Jonah Was a Jerk!

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Originally Posted by Aquila View Post
Votive,

I remember hearing a rabbi talk about the book of Jonah. He mentioned several of the things you did in your post. He then brought up how the book appears to end so abruptly. In his rabbinical manner, he explained that he believed that was because the book is open ended for the reader to ponder how we'd respond to God's final statement if we were Jonah?

Thoughts?
The Book of Jonah is part of a greater wisdom heritage amongst Jewish literature, whether of the OT canon, or otherwise. It's designed to speak a profound truth in an otherwise somewhat off-putting or humorous way. At the end, you are supposed to see Jonah as something of a Rumplestiltskin figure, stomping around because he isn't getting his way, then, realize you're Jonah because you do the exact same thing, and yet, still want God to bless you and grant you mercy and forgive you, when you're acting the heathen, whining about why your small-time problems are happening to you while the rest of the world goes to hell.
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  #24  
Old 08-08-2018, 06:43 AM
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Re: Jonah Was a Jerk!

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Originally Posted by votivesoul View Post
The Book of Jonah is part of a greater wisdom heritage amongst Jewish literature, whether of the OT canon, or otherwise. It's designed to speak a profound truth in an otherwise somewhat off-putting or humorous way. At the end, you are supposed to see Jonah as something of a Rumplestiltskin figure, stomping around because he isn't getting his way, then, realize you're Jonah because you do the exact same thing, and yet, still want God to bless you and grant you mercy and forgive you, when you're acting the heathen, whining about why your small-time problems are happening to you while the rest of the world goes to hell.
All good stuff.

From childhood, this was one of my favorite books. And it continues to dazzle me in some way every time I read it and listen to men of wisdom elaborate on it.

Thank you so much for your insight on this wonderful book.
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