Text Size: Zoom In

What is it About Jonah?


Poster in an empty Tel Aviv storefront

I don’t remember the first time I heard about Jonah. But looking back, I can see how differently his short story has played out in my imagination over the course of a lifetime.

Early on, it was about a man who was swallowed by “a whale”.

At some point I learned that it was a story used by some to discount the “legendary, mythical, and unbelievable” nature of the Bible.

Then the impressions changed from time to time— as I learned that the Bible doesn’t say the fish was necessarily “a whale;” that Jesus used “the sign of Jonah” for skeptical people who came to him asking him to do “another miracle”; that Jonah involves locations of present day Israel and Iraq; that the story ends abruptly; that we don’t know if Jonah ever got over his beef with God; that his story is read every year on the most solemn holy day of the Jewish Calendar (Yom Kippur/the Day of Atonement); and that experts in the Jewish Scriptures give different answers for why Israel still tells Jonah’s story.

How about you? Have you too found over the years that Jonah has intrigued you for these or other reasons?

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+1 rating, 1 votes)

49 Responses to “What is it About Jonah?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Mart, yes the story of Jonah has been quite the *fish* story.

    I for one was amazed that the recent story of ISIS thugs destroying the tomb of Jonah didn’t make more of a *splash* in the news media.

    For all the unbelievers out here I would have thought that just reading of the destruction of Jonah’s tomb would have struck a nerve in having to accept that there ever was an actual Jonah.

    As to Jesus mentioning him, I am always reminded that when Jesus gave a name to anyone when he was teaching a lesson that it meant the story was literal and the person an actual living person.

    Easy to see Jesus’ example as a precursor to His death and resurrection, but like in our last subject I doubt many got His meaning until he actually rose from the dead.

    I, like you, Mart as a child it was Jonah and the whale for me. It wasn’t until I became a Bible reader that I realized that the special fish God had prepared for this event was not a whale at all.

    I even heard Billy Graham explain that fact to a stadium filled with listeners who most probably had never given it much thought.

    There are though a great many Jewish folklore stories that never made it into the Bible. Yet I find it interesting that the Book of Tobit is found in the Catholic Bible and not in the Protestant.

    Liked the fish picture. 28 degrees and clear.


  2. cbrown says:

    Good morning all! Happy New Year! Mart and Steve you have given me some food for thought. I am going to research further but now I need to head to church.

  3. poohpity says:

    It seems at the time that Assyria was Israel’s greatest enemy but God sent a prophet to them to offer His grace that has always intrigued me. Not only that but a prophet who really did not want to offer them anything kind. So to me that would be like God sending someone to the middle of ISIL and telling them if they would just turn to the Lord, He will forgive them after all the evil they have done when every fiber of my being wants them to be destroyed.

    Anything to do with the grace and mercy of our God intrigues me about how vast and deep God’s love is for all the people of the world.

  4. poohpity says:

    Didn’t God have to know that years later they would be the one’s who would carry Israel away as captives? So that also intrigues me. Did He do it knowing that some there would then know the God of Israel and make it better for those captives down the road? It seems like it because look at those who held places of honor in the Assyrian court like Daniel and his counterparts, Nehemiah, Ezra, etc..

  5. foreverblessed says:

    Jonah to me is also the type of many of us christians, who are not happy, but fretting!

    Jonah ends the same as the story of the lost son, as the onder son is still in an open end situation:
    God invites him: come and celebrate with me for joy, because your brother did turn back to me.

    Angels in heaven sing for joy, for one sinner who repents.
    But with Nineveh, it was not just one, but a whole city!

  6. foreverblessed says:

    We christians should be a happy bunch together, not fretting over all the evil. (Of course, when we do we should get this settled in our hearts with God: give all our fretting to Jesus, and leave it there. And ask for the joy of Jesus )

    Look on YouTube:
    Spine-tingling moment gospel choir surprises plane-
    A good example of a happy bunch of christians.

  7. foreverblessed says:

    Older son – Jonah
    The same open end….

  8. joycemb says:

    What has intrigued me about Jonah is how God was so patient with him as he struggled with his own feelings about doing the will of God. Did Jonah have good reasons not to obey? Humanly speaking, yes. Yet God even went so far as to get up close and personal by providing a specialized lesson (the plant) to show him how much God cares for all people. We were once an estranged people, but are now brought near by the precious blood of the lamb. Baby steps yet so vital to the great plan of God. No matter how it is interpreted by various thinkers.

  9. joycemb says:

    Interesting to note that Nineweh was a place of the ‘fish-god’ cult where priests dressed up as fish to perform their fertility rituals. Reading the story reminds me how God meets us where we are at no matter what our circumstances. He is LORD of all, isn’t he!

  10. cbrown says:

    Mart, thanks for this topic. It caused me to read the Book of Jonah more carefully. Especially chapter 4 and Matthew 12:38-41.

  11. dibdabdeb says:

    I’d be interested to know some of the reasons given, by the experts, for reading it every year on Yom Kippur.

  12. jatfla says:

    I considered that if God sent Jonah to Assyria to warn an unsaved people concerning Himself and judgement that He may also have done it to other Nations but that it’s not recorded in Scripture.

  13. poohpity says:

    jatfla, I think it is interesting that the Assyrians came from the line of Noah through Ham, so I wonder if everyone at one time knew about God from the creation and filling the earth but many began to take their roots for granted. Just some thoughts.

    dibdabdeb, I saw this from a Jewish Rabbi;
    a) The story of Jonah teaches us how no one is beyond the reach of G‑d’s hand. Just as Jonah’s endeavor to escape G‑d’s providence was unsuccessful, so, too, we are incapable of eluding divine justice for transgressions we may have committed.

    b) On a more uplifting note: G‑d spared the people of Nineveh although He had already decreed that they would be destroyed because of their evil ways. This teaches us that no matter our past behavior, G‑d’s benevolence and mercy awaits us if we only repent full-heartedly.

  14. street says:

    debdabdeb said,”I’d be interested to know some of the reasons given, by the experts, for reading it every year on Yom Kippur.”

    not much of an expert, but thinking God is Salvation and bringing up this story on the day of atonement seem seems right. some one sent, message proclaimed, people hear, people understand, people believe and are saved. God is Glorified. and this is just the beginning!

    There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

  15. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Your question is a good one, Mart, “What is it about Jonah?”

    You invite each one here to ponder: “How about you? Have you too found over the years that Jonah has intrigued you for these or other reasons?”

    When I first read Jonah the unusual, unforgettable feature of the story was the prophet being swallowed by a big fish. That lesson is direct and simple: Disobey — learn to regret your sinful error.

    It was many years before I studied chapter 2 with enough attentive humility to realize (as you point out, Joyce) the Lord was supremely able to swiftly drown or otherwise snuff Jonah’s life out — but chose rather to show him “the pit” without destroying him. This is super-abundant grace in my view. God considered Jonah worthy of being instructed.

    Jonah prayed from inside Leviathan:

    “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple…Salvation is from the Lord.'”

    Habakkuk said something like this at the end of his prophecy — that though the orchards and fields and crops fail, “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

    I suppose at last I put myself in the place of that angry, rebellious man gasping for air with seaweed wrapped around his head. Just then Jonah chose to pray in faith to God for deliverance. And God “brought his life up from the pit.” What a joy to be vomited onto dry land!

    It is easy to become cynical about “people.” Perhaps Jonah had been pounding away preaching and teaching in Judah or among the diaspora and had enough of worldly ways — altars defiled with pagan paraphernalia — hypocrisy — and all the greed and lust of the marketplace. Here is where disappointment becomes discouragement and then creeping unbelief.

    After the most successful evangelism campaign ever, under the withered vine, the Lord lectures Jonah on the virtue of compassion in view of the lost state of the people of Nineveh. The story has a narrator. There is no “oracle against Nineveh.” Jonah is like a worm on a hook. What if the Lord gives me an impossible task? What if He will not let me shirk or avoid the work before me?

    What would I do or not do for God’s sake? Grace is not mine to keep. I cannot have it unless it is given away, it seems to me. Whatever happens, God is my only hope.


  16. SFDBWV says:

    I will admit it is very tough reading when you get into the history of the nations of Juda and Israel with all of those difficult to pronounce names of Kings that even are repeated from father to son at times causing even more confusion.

    Yet we see Jonah first mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25 as a prophet sent by God to prophesy about the boundaries of Israel. What is amazing is the text in which Jonah is mentioned.

    Israel is in rebellion against God and under the influence of a sin led Jeroboam, yet God had determined not to blot out Israel from under the heavens and so used this same Jeroboam to “save” Israel.

    Jonah reappears in a story of his being under the unction of God to go and “preach against the city”.

    My first thoughts are what was God’s concern for Nineveh? All of the rest of the OT is about Israel or Juda and their history only involving other nations that directly are either used by God to punish Israel or as threats to their safety.

    It is possible that Jonah’s fame as a prophet came from the success of Jeroboam as foretold by Jonah. It is odd that the King and people of Nineveh so quickly succumbed to the God of Israel’s announcement of their destruction. Not a warning to repent, but an announcement of their doom.

    Their success in changing God’s mind came from the fact that they believed God.

    Jonah like all the other *characters* of Scripture is a doorway to revelation about God and about His nature. Hidden in this and any of the stories is God and God becomes the true subject, not the story.

    20 degrees and light snow this morning.


  17. foreverblessed says:

    This topic indeed does make me meditate on Jonah.
    As Maru pointed out, Jonah repented inside that fish, and turned to God.
    Jonah must be a type for many of us Christians: We have turned to God, but many things inside us are not yet sanctified. Why would Jonah, who himself was saved from death, be so angry that Nineveh was saved?

    This anger also comes to mind, when the doctrine of hell is discussed among christians.(It is a bit risky to bring this up, it may give tension again).
    Many of us just get angry when it is only even hinted that maybe God meant eternity in hell, just eternity as….a very very long time, like ages and ages. And then, if a person comes to his senses, and accepts Jesus as his Savior after all, and is thus saved, many christians would get angry!
    God’s word must be taken literal, if He says eternally in hell, it should stay that way, otherwise, God’s Word is not to be trusted.

    What worries me is that people are more concerned about the right interpretation of the bible, then the lives of those who are in hell.
    In other words: they rather have that these people stay in hell, so they do not have to worry about the fact that they have interpreted the bible in a wrong way, and must turn in humility to God, and say: Sorry God, we saw this in a wrong light, then that they have to say: O how nice, these people are saved, just as Nineveh was saved!

    “You are gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love.” Jonah 4:2

    It is sooo strange, Jonah, says these words, and then asks God to take away his life????
    Are we not sooo happy that we are saved from our sins, that we are happy and joyful for anybody else, even if they have been vicious enemies, as Assyriah was to Israel?

    The way God teaches Jonah is awesome, Jonah 4:4-11
    God asks, Have you any right to be angry?
    God gives him a tree for shade, and takes it away the next day.
    Jonah is angry about that too!
    God asks: Do you have a right to be angry about the tree (vine)?
    v10 “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.
    But Nineveh has more then a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand form their left, and many cattle as well.
    Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

  18. foreverblessed says:

    This reminds me of difficult people in some parts of the city I live in. They are from Morocco, young men, who are not accepted in our society, and do not get jobs easily, they are islamic and do not speak the language well, neither are well educated. And then they turn into violence. Harassing people.
    What if God sends some of these on our path? And He wants us to care for them. Even if He only wants us to start praying for them?
    Would I insist on God punishing them for their violence, or would my concern as a christian be that they be saved. (I am talking as a christian, not as a policeman).
    Last night I heard that these young guys have been violent in an area, and have thrown stones through the window of a christian family!
    This thought occurred to me:
    God is concerned about these guys, He made them throw stones, not at the neighbors house, but exactly in the house of the christians. As these people are His, and God knew that they would start praying for them, just as He had in mind. The neighbors would not start praying, but the christians would!
    If these christians have studied Jesus’words in the beautitudes:
    Be happy when people insult you, because great is your reward in heaven (the reward of the souls of the people who have insulted you, and for which you have prayed, and asked God to be concerned abut them, these people, who do not know their right hand from their left).

  19. SFDBWV says:

    I am sure most of us read of Saudi Arabia executing I believe 47 men for their participation in violence and terrorism recently and perhaps of Iran’s top priests condemning them even to go so far as to say Saudi Arabia would suffer “divine” punishment for the execution of a cleric involved.

    Probably many of us said “good riddance” to such garbage.

    Though it my opinion that Islam is a false religion, a religion of death of violence and of anger it is forced upon me to accept that the followers of that religion are as precious to God as any other soul on earth and *worthy* of His mercy only because He wants to be merciful.

    The fact is I am always torn between mercy and justice. Some things some people do is certainly worthy of punishment and unless they feel that there is no punishment for their actions there is no stopping them except through violence of some type.

    This is what is unique about the darkness of Islam, that killing unbelievers has no eternal consequence except honor and reward. Completely opposite for Christianity in that we are to forgive all and pray for them that are lost.

    Thus it being the ultimate justice for an enemy to become an ally not an enemy.

    The story of Jonah is all about mercy there is no questioning that, but Nineveh was still destroyed because of both God’s declaration and her sin, it was just delayed because of mercy to those who ask for it.

    Sin ultimately will have to be put to rest by God, and how He does it is going to be perfectly just and perfectly accomplished through and by His will and wisdom, not by our imaginings.

    I have to smile with a little angst Foreverblessed thinking of the young men you mentioned as it is also written “spare the rod and spoil the child.”


  20. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Steve, that is right, but it should not prevent us to start praying for them if God put them on our path!
    And with praying, I mean to say, that we pray as if they were our own sons.

    As you say, I really appreciate that:
    “the followers of that religion are as precious to God as any other soul on earth and *worthy* of His mercy only because He wants to be merciful.”

    You see, if we decide that God is their judge, and not we, as christians, then we can leave it in His Hands.

    What about violent people who have repented, like John Newton, the man who wrote “Amazing grace”, he had been a ruthless man. Do I insist on him being punished.
    And what about our own apostle Paul, who was Saul of Tarsus? Who was breathing death on people who were not of his own religion?
    Did these christians ask for punishment for him? Did Peter asked for punishment?

    Think about it, where do we stand? Are we like Jonah, getting angry for people not rightly suffering for their deeds? What about Hitler, if he would repent, and accept Jesus as his savior, would we get angry, and say, it is not fair?
    Or would we know that we have been given grace, while we did not deserve it either.
    God is very well capable of training a person, He does that through the Holy Spirit. As God could also teach Jonah what His ways are.

  21. joycemb says:

    Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights. Sound familiar? Thus a prophecy of the coming Messiah who would be 3 days also preaching to the souls in “prison” about a just and merciful God.
    2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good, I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ ”

    Don’t let your idols, whatever form they take, keep you from receiving the salvation freely given through Christ Jesus.

  22. joycemb says:

    Jonah was angry and became depressed and wanted to die because to him Gods compassion was antithetical to Gods justice.

    I think many people are stuck in this place, and take their anger out on the world in the form of religion, ideologies, politics and causes for social justice. Left, Right, or independent there is none that can completely embrace the gospel message and be at peace in the world. Not this world anyway.

  23. foreverblessed says:

    You are so right, Joyce!

    Where in the bible can I find the verses you quote:

    2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good, I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ ”

    It is such a deep wisdom:
    whether you need punishment,
    or whether you need good discipline…

    I know that salvation comes from God

  24. joycemb says:

    Forever those verses are from Jonah.

  25. poohpity says:

    forever that is in Jonah 2:8-9

  26. SFDBWV says:

    I hope Foreverblessed that you haven’t misunderstood my comment or position on this matter. I see a vast difference between eternal salvation of the soul and punishment for crimes against people now.

    Nineveh was guilty of doing horrible things against Israel at a time when Israel was in sin. Whereas God would not let Israel be utterly destroyed He did allow for the other countries that punished Israel to do so as punishment against Israel for her disobedience.

    Had Israel came before God as did Nineveh God would have blessed their repentance, just as He did Nineveh.

    The eternal condition of an individual’s soul is between God and that individual. Purely a decision of God’s as to whether there is to be eternal punishment or eternal mercy.

    Most all of David’s Psalms were about David needing God to help him *then* with earthly dangers and enemies, not about David’s eternal condition, though some are certainly connected to an eternal condition.

    When God aided David against an enemy the enemy was defeated or killed with God’s blessings.

    When people here and now commit crimes, especially of violence they can be spiritually forgiven, but they also need to pay for the things they have done, not just let go because we as Christians are to forgive and forget.

    No society can function in that way, and why God laid down rules for living amongst other people.

    Paul encouraged us to obey the laws of the land. To be good citizens and examples to all others. If we just took the attitude that every criminal had to be forgiven of their offence without being responsible for their actions then we as Christians can’t be judges, policemen, or even in the military.

    I hope I haven’t said anything to upset you as I hold you in highest regard and am agreement with you on a great many things especially the eternal condition of souls.


  27. foreverblessed says:

    O dear, is that from Jonah?!
    That teaches me one thing:
    I have to be cautious what I say, because I will be tested if I really and deeply mean what I say.
    Just like Jonah apparantly did not perceive the depth of his statement, obviously.

  28. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, it’s allright. I do onderstand what you are saying.
    I do not intend to say we as christians should say: do as you please, God wiil forgiveness.
    But…. I want to do the Father’s business, I want to hear the still small voice: what is my role in saving this list soul?
    If it is prayer, I pray as if it was my own son.
    Would my first impulse for my son be:
    He needs His deserved punishment?

  29. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry for all the typos, I am writing on my smartphone, sitting in a relaxed position on the couch, not behind a desk with my computer.
    But the phone changes the words:
    God will forgive
    What is my part in the process of saving this lost soul?

  30. joycemb says:

    Interestingly I had dinner this afternoon with an evangelical pastor who grew up in Iraq but was trained and educated (seminary and Bible college) here in the US. I brought up Jonah and he said that Nineveh was in Iraq, which I remembered, but in discussing Jonah he said that Jonah committed suicide because he was so angry with God for saving the people of Nineveh. He shared the meaning of the “cord”, which was dried up because of Jonah’s anger. We didn’t have time to get into it further but I am intrigued enough to study more.

    If any reader has more insight into this prophetic book I’m interested.

  31. jeff1 says:

    The story of Jonah teaches me that God does not want me to have double standards.

    Having lived in a community where hatred and violence where the will of men, I too soon became engulfed in beliefs that justified my hatred towards my enemies.

    It was God who revealed to me that I was expecting forgiveness for my sins but not for my enemies.
    Since that I am now able to leave my fears with Him in the knowledge that God knows best when to show mercy for He knows others hearts as He knows mine and He changes hearts has He changed mine.

    To Him be the glory.

  32. SFDBWV says:

    Joyce go to “Wikipedia” and look up Jonah, you will find a lot of information and reading. I found nothing to indicate he committed suicide.

    However just like Elijah he had had enough and would rather be dead.

    His reluctance is reminiscent to Balaam; Balaam died among his choices whereas God was not finished yet with Elijah, so the only thing for certain is that Jonah died and was buried in his tomb in Mosul Iraq.

    As I earlier stated ISIS destroyed the “holy” site to Jew, Christian and Muslim alike.


  33. Mart DeHaan says:

    Here’s a bit more on what Jewish sages have said about reasons for reading Jonah on Yom Kippur:(Some overlap of what Deb found)

    Yom Kippur is a day of repentance. Jonah repented from deep within the “fish”. And the people of Nineveh repented in response to Jonah’s warning.

    On a day of repentance, Jonah reminds us that no one is beyond the reach of God.

    On a day of repentance Jonah reminds us that If God could forgive Nineveh, maybe He can forgive us.

    On a day of reflection and repentance, Jewish mystics explain that Jonah is a profound allegory of our journey through life, and on Yom Kippur reminds us to repent of our inclination to avoid our purpose and mission in the world.

    Jonah is read prior to the afternoon prayers of Yom Kippur reminding us that we too can be saved even as the day begins to wind down.

  34. jeff1 says:

    It is still God who saves Jonah from His inclination to avoid his purpose and mission in the world.

    The struggle is within but it is God’s power and not mine, I am the vessel which He uses.

    Jonah was a man of God who struggled with what God was allowing in the world and had stopped trusting God’s Soverinity.

    I have a personal understanding of Jonah as I too misunderstand God’s intention but my misunderstanding does not get in the way of God’s Providence.

    God would be a very limited God if my weaknesses got in the way of His Providence.

    My purpose must always be to agree with God even when I do not understand His ways for His ways are better than mine and so I bough to His Soverinity.

    I in faith, leave the matter with God for I am not a lone runner when it comes to being a faithful servant!

  35. poohpity says:

    What if God decided to put the hammer down on me rather than showing compassion and mercy? What if I went around thinking that everyone else needs to experience God’s justice yet forget that I am so grateful He has given me a break from what I deserve?

    It seems that many forget or do not follow through on what our purpose and ministry is all about. What if when I stand before God and He asked me what it was that stopped me from sharing His Good News or taking care of the marginalized, oppressed, hungry, naked, homeless, etc.? What if He said that I was so busy looking at the wrongs others have committed I failed to accomplish the very things as His child I was given to do. Just like God spent time with Jonah getting Him to look at the areas He needed to repent rather than talking to Jonah about the condition of the Ninevehites.

  36. joycemb says:

    Thanks for the reminder about Wikipedia Steve. I did find some discussions on different sites about suicide pertaining to Jonah. But suicide or not Yom Kippur is about as Mart says repentence from sin. Jonah learned a lot through his experiences with God as His prophet. May we all learn more about the wonderful grace of God-as it sounds like Viv is experiencing. Yet at the same time remembering with humility that He is still a God of justice, and expects His children to act justly toward all.

  37. poohpity says:

    But who can stand before God and claim innocence? All are guilty of something but we can stand before Him and ask for mercy. I think Jonah was comparing his sins with the sins of those in Nineveh and God was saying it is all the same to Him. Is running away from God any different than not acknowledging God? It is intriguing to me that 120,000 people admitted to their condition when the very one who was there representing God failed to see within himself.

  38. Regina says:

    Good Morning, All
    Off topic here… HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :-) I know I’m a bit tardy, and I think I’m gonna spare you the details as to why… I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas and I pray you’ll all have a prosperous New Year!

    Ok, back on topic… I love the story of Jonah because it has always been a testimony to me that God still uses His rebellious children (probably) as much as He uses His obedient sons and daughters. It has always intrigued me as to how Jonah survived in the belly of whatever fish that swallowed him up (I always thought it was a whale too)… and I know the answer to that thought: It was by the POWER of God! Am also curious about what he looked like when he came out of the fish’s mouth? Yes… that story gives a person much to ponder. On my way to work in about an hour, so let’s make it a *great* day, BTA friends!

    31 degrees and partly cloudy in my neck of the woods…

    Love to all,

  39. joycemb says:

    Hello Regina! May your day be blessed with wonderful surprised from God!

  40. joycemb says:

    I don’t think it was hard for Jonah to “see within himself”. It wasn’t necessary in those times. He knew, being an Israelite and a prophet of God that he had ‘made it’, so to speak with God. The Israelites were Gods chosen people and the Assyrians were the enemy of God and Israel.

    The shock for Jonah was that God would care about a people who were steeped in immorality and in opposition to righteousness and faith. Remember God did require strict obedience to the Law and requirements of the temple by means of various types of offerings depending on the sin involved. I don’t think he fully understood Gods long- range plans for universal redemption but was certainly used of God in various ways to teach later generations, such as us now, about the Messiah who would come to take away the sins of the world; both Jews and Gentiles.

    I think some of us (all believers) are still trying to understand this fully though, this magnificent grace of God who loves us and was willing to die for all of us. Very unlike the pagan gods that demanded human sacrifice to receive favor with their chosen gods.

    Jonah telling the sailors to throw him overboard to appease God did a form of suicide or self-sacrifice to “appease” God, if you will. Yet finding himself unbelievably still alive in the belly of a fish shook him to his senses about Gods sovereignty and Gods purposes were fulfilled, as usual! Amazing story!

  41. joycemb says:

    Pooh I agree with your point also that there is definitely room for self-reflection in Jonah!

  42. poohpity says:

    From what I have seen in scripture even in those times there were always times of self reflection, it is nothing new. When God first confronted Adam and Eve there had to be self reflection and also the first act of blame. Humans have not changed and that is something that is very necessary and always has been or no one would have ever seen their need for redemption. If there was not self reflection how would have anyone have admitted to sin in order to go to the Temple to offer a sacrifice. The terminology may not have been the same(self refection) but the awareness and admission were no matter what one calls it.

  43. SFDBWV says:

    Have a few minutes *between* and since I have been thinking about your preacher friend suggesting Jonah committed suicide, Joyce.

    I have been involved with several suicides in my little world and short life, all had one common fact in place they had all felt that facing life was hopeless.

    One friend whom I had worked with in the coal mines was a section foreman and a good all-around guy. He and I used to discuss our faith or at least faith subjects when we could and had the opportunity.

    During one of the cut backs and layoffs at the mine we worked at he moved to Utah to work in a coal mine out there. About a year or two into his new life something occurred that caused him to kill his neighbor. He shot him dead with a 357 magnum pistol. Then went down to the local police station and began shooting. He didn’t shoot any policemen but they shot and killed him.

    Not really a suicide, but the police call it suicide by using them to kill the person instead of them doing it themselves.

    Jonah asking the sailors to throw him overboard, wasn’t really an act of suicide either, he was placing his fate in the hands of God, so to speak.

    However Samson got to be included in the great men of faith in Hebrews 11 and it is recorded in Scripture that he killed himself along with his captors and the enemy of Israel.

    King Saul is also recorded as falling on his own sword, rather than be captured after watching his beloved son killed.

    Just afternoon thoughts *between*. It was minus one degrees this morning and clear.


  44. jeff1 says:

    I see Jonah as the reluctant prophet because I believe I too have struggled, and still struggle, with God, showing mercy to my enemies, yet I know in my heart He has forgiven me for my hatred towards them.

    I cannot lie to God, that I do not understand His ways, for often there is no apparent reason why some suffer more than others.

    Trusting God is sometimes difficult, for the truth is that hurt people, hurt other people.

    Everyone says they trust God until trouble comes to them and then they do things their way and take what is in the bible to justify their actions.

    This is not a critism of the bible but it is a fact that men come away with their own interpretation.

    You can say I should read it for myself but that would mean another different interpataion and I do not see how that is to God’s purpose.

    I have remained in my Church because I believe the Preachers I listen to do their job very well in their teaching of the Gospel.

    When my heart is right with God then the teachings fall on righteousness ears but when my heart is not right with God they do not!

    It is why I am thankful for God’s protection for it is His rebukes that strengthen my faith and give me hope of better times to come.

  45. dibdabdeb says:

    Thank you poohpity and Mart for the thoughts on why Jonah. I think for me the idea that God pursues us (like the Assyrians) and is so full of mercy that even when we are evil He looks for ways to show Himself to us. To show us the abounding love and compassion He has for all of us Jewish or not, seeker or reviler, God’s own propert or enemy of God. Praise God. His mercy is beyond our knowing.

  46. foreverblessed says:

    By the way, I wanted to say a warm welcome to Yatfla and Dibdabdeb! I hope you enjoy commenting here.
    And happy new year Regina, I pray that you will have a blessed year, that God will be your Provider, your Homemaker!

    Regina, you asked how Jonah would have looked like after having been inside the fish, 3 days and 3 nights:
    Like a white ghost, I have heard one preacher saying, that he must have had a very un-human look, like as if he came from the land of the dead, and the people wereld inclined to listen to Him.

  47. foreverblessed says:

    But this book being read on the Day of Atonement,
    At-One-ment, that gives enough for the night to meditatie upon.

  48. joycemb says:

    Thanks Steve for addressing my question. I guess I was thinking of a reader with a
    Middle Eastern background possibly adding to our understanding of Jonah with added insight. I should have been more clear. Even though this is an American blog we do have known readers from around the world. I’m sure more than post here.

    I did read several different authors online discussing suicide in Jonah. Doesn’t matter, I just love to dig into scripture and find the multi-dimensional nuances and interpretations. It enriches me personally and broadens my understanding of God. (Forgive my personal reflections).

  49. poohpity says:

    The bible says pretty much what it says not much interpretation to it however it seems people do try to interpret what it does not say by adding to or taking away what is written. That seems to be the biggest problem or saying that they read it when they actually have not but speak as if they have that seems to confuse most folks.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.