The Book of Jonah

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Date Submitted: 05/10/2013 07:09 AM

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The book of Jonah is very known and loved for ironic events it recounts. The book of Jonah was dated in the eighth century. In the NLT Study Bible it states that “…the book is fictional because it describes miraculous events, and diverse attempts have been made to classify the book according to some non-historical literary genre…” Unlike other prophetic books, Jonah is basically a book of historical events, and biographical narrative, but more than a collection of prophetic messages. In this book you can find the use of poetry, irony, and common used language that makes it easier to understand. The metaphor that Jonah uses is God’s holy temple to describe the refuge within the fish’s belly, as well as the assurance of a future home with God. The characters that you will find in Jonah are the sailors, people of Nineveh, God and the primary character, Jonah. He is portrayed as a surly character, stubborn, with mood swings. The Book of Jonah’s main purpose is not to teach the readers about him but to teach us about God.

Chapter one and two recounts Jonah’s initial rejection of the Lord’s commission to warn Nineveh of the judgment it had incurred because of its wickedness. John decides to set sail by a ship that was leaving to go to Tarshish in the opposite direction of Nineveh (1:3). No one can escape God or disobey his will without consequences, so he sends a raging storm that threatened to break the ship apart (1:4). The frightened sailors tried to appease whatever god had been offended, and Jonah was found and thrown overboard to lighten the ship. God showed his power by calming the storm, and in a twist of irony, the sailors worshiped God while his prophet presumably plunged to a shameful death. God had other plans for Jonah and showed his power to save Jonah. Jonah finds himself swallowed up by a “great fish” and he starts to repent to God. Jonah spends three days and nights in the belly of the fish until he spits him out onto dry land.