Jonah Essay

3224 words - 13 pages

What an amazing story God has given to humanity in the Book of Jonah. A story short in pages, only totalling four in all, yet containing so many lessons for Jew and Christian alike. "It is a unique Book in that it is more concerned with the prophet himself than with his prophesy. The condition of his soul and God's loving discipline of him, instruct and humble the reader." (George Williams/McDonald 1995:1125) Some may think it only a legend or myth but for believers of the Almighty God it is part of our history and heritage. Wonderfully written, intended as a satire, able to bring a smile to its reader yet teach and correct at the same time. Set at a time when Israel lived in fear of ancient Ninevah and its cruel might, it shows the character of a Sovereign God who loves all the world, not just His chosen people. Jonah has a message for both ancient Israel and also for Christians today. It reveals how God desires missionaries to carry out His Will and preach repentance to the unconverted, that He will persist and persevere with unwilling spokesmen and in the end His Sovereign Will be done. In the ensuing pages the reader will discover how God is able to get His message delivered and at the same time teach His messenger important lessons.Literature Character Jonah records one of the most amazing and memorable stories we have in Scripture. Who was Jonah? According to Hayford (1995:239), Jonah was the son of Amittai and a native of Gath Hepher, a village three miles northeast of Nazareth. Jensen, in his Old Testament Survey (1965:398) states that he had the ministry of a prophet to the people of Israel approximately around 770 BC. The name Jona or Jonas is the Syriac and Hebrew dialect version of the Hebrew name Jonah meaning dove (Article/Jonah pg. 1). Delving further into the meaning of the name Jonah, dove in Hebrew is a bird that maintains loyalty to its mate. Furthermore the dove is used in Scripture to symbolize Israel's loyalty to God. As Rabbi Zlotowitz relates (Pg. 1 Innernet Magazine) Jonah the prophet is so named because he too represents totally loyalty to God.Over the centuries there have been some question marks by critics as to whether the events of Jonah actually took place. Unger (1998:704) relates to his readers that, "Critics commonly view the book as being either legend, myth or parable, but it is correctly evaluated as history." Jesus himself makes reference to the story of Jonah in Matthew 12:39-41 and Luke 11:29-32, which certainly adds to the support of the historical views as being genuine. Furthermore, in the article Jonah A Whale of a Tale it is stated, (pg. 1) "Jesus authenticates Jonah as a prophet and the fish story as literal and real, this is no myth or allegory." The Book of Jonah is "certainly designed to be viewed as historical" (Ungers 1988:704), which is part of its literacy character.It would be of benefit to look further into the statement made by Unger "about critics viewing Jonah as mythological, allegorical...

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