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יוֹנָה

Outline of Jonah

The book of Jonah the son of Amitai was most probably written sometime between 790 and 750 BCE, he prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 BCE), one of the wicked kings of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 14:25). He follows in the footsteps of two great prophets namely Elijah and Elisha and is followed by Hosea and Amos. Jonah is sent to the people of Nineveh. And contrary to popular thought, it was not odd for a Jewish prophet to be sent to another people, .

1. Jonah’s Call and Flight..............................................................................1:1-1:17

a. Call to Nineveh ………………......................................................1:1-2

b. Jonah’s flight………......................................................................1:3

c. The storm and the mariners….........................................................1:4-10

d. The calming of the storm ...............................................................1:11-16

f. Jonah in the huge fish prepared by God.........................................1:17

2. Jonah’s Psalm of Thanksgiving and Prayer............................................2:1-10

a. God hears Jonah’s Psalm & prayer………....................................2:1-9

b. Fish vomited out Jonah…………..................................................2:10

3. Jonah’s Preaching and Nineveh’s Repentance........................................3:1-10

a. Call re-issued go to Nineveh………….........................................3:1-2

b. Jonah’s five word sermon..............................................................3:3-4

c. The repentance of the Nineveh……………..................................3:5-9

d. The repentance of God..............................................................3:10

4. Jonah’s Complaint and God's illustration................……………..….….4:1-11

a. Jonah’s tantrum…….....................................................................4:1-3

b. God’s preparation of the plant as an illustration...........................4:4-6

c. The worm and wind………………………………......................4:7-8

d. God’s rebuke of Jonah: object lesson explained .........................4:9-11

dagon-2.jpg Priest of Dagon

Plot

The plot centres on a conflict between Jonah and God. God calls Jonah to proclaim judgment to Nineveh, but Jonah resists and attempts to flee. He goes to Joppa and boards a ship bound for Tarshish. God calls up a great storm at sea, and the ship's crew cast Jonah overboard in an attempt to appease God. A great sea creature sent by God, swallows Jonah. For three days and three nights Jonah languishes inside the fish's belly. He says a prayer in which he repents for his disobedience and calls upon God for mercy. God speaks to the fish, which vomits out Jonah safely on dry land. After his rescue, Jonah obeys the call to prophesy against Nineveh, and they repent and God forgives them, effective saving the entire population of Nineveh (about 120,000 people).

One of the reasons why some people think Jonah’s preaching was so effective is that in the pantheon of Assyria they worship a Fish-God. Jonah being swallowed by a fish would make him a messenger of that god.

New Testament

Both Matthew and Luke record Yeshua’s interpretation of the story of Jonah. Jonah becomes a “type” of Yeshua. Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish; Yeshua will spend three days in the ground. Here, Yeshua plays on the imagery of Sheol found in Jonah’s prayer. While Jonah metaphorically declared, “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,” Yeshua will literally be in the belly of Sheol. And Finally, Yeshua compares his generation to the people of Nineveh. Yeshua fulfils his role as a type of Jonah; however his generation fails to fulfill its role as a type of Nineveh. Nineveh repented but his generation, which has seen and heard one even greater than Jonah, fails to repent. Through his typological interpretation of the story of Jonah, Yeshua has weighed his generation and found it wanting.

See Matthew 12:38-42 and 16:1-4 and Luke 11:29-32.

Jonah_Map.jpg

Map of Jonah's travel

Locations

1. Gath-Hepher, close to Nazareth

2. Nineveh was the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire.

3. Tarshish, most likely southern Spain

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