Analysis of the Book of Jonah Essay

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We often read stories in the Bible without taking the historical context into consideration. As a result, we become unaware of the story’s historical validity. In some cases, stories are used to share a moral concept, or used as a tool to teach a lesson. The Book of Jonah is an example that will be used to determine if this particular story describes an accurate recount of history, or if it teaches the readers a lesson. In the Book of Jonah, Jonah (the prophet) is instructed to go to a pagan city (Nineveh) to preach to the Ninevites, hoping that they will repent for their sins. However, he challenges God and travels to Tarshish instead. Jonah receives consequences for his actions and Nineveh is eventually forgiven by God. Although the …show more content…
In addition, the city of Nineveh is described in Nahum as “bloody, full of deceit, and full of plunder” (Bolin 117). The Ninevites’ actions therefore justified Jonah’s decision to disobey God’s command because of how ruthless they were. The nature of the great city disgusted Jonah and made him believe that the Ninevites were not worthy of God’s forgiveness. Although Jonah’s intuition to ignore God’s command seems admissible, we later learn that it is not up to Jonah to determine the Ninevites’ fate. To recap the first half of the Book of Jonah, God calls upon Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and send them a message that God will punish the Ninevites if they do not repent for their sins. Jonah, refusing to help the Ninevites, decides to “flee from God in disobedience” (Cosby 124) to Tarshish. Jonah boards a ship with a couple of sailors and sets sail to Tarshish. However during their sail, God sends a terrible storm due to Jonah’s disobedience. The sailors eventually had to throw Jonah into the sea in order to calm the storm. God creates a big fish to engulf Jonah where Jonah was in its belly for three days and three nights. This part of the story in particular allows the reader to stop and ponder if Jonah’s incident with the big fish really took place in history. It is impossible to survive one day in a belly of a fish nevertheless three days! Knowing this bit of information, we can deduce that the
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