The Book of Jonah Essay

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It is thought that Jonah, the fifth of the Minor Prophets, lived during the reign of Jeroboam II, when the kingdom was divided. (Lockyer, 198) Although the Book of Jonah is quite short, just two and one-half pages, it is not short on themes. Because there are so many themes it is hard to classify or to determine its primary message. (Anchor 936 and New Interpreter's 490) These themes range from running away, praying, second chances, anger, and God's compassion and mercy, to name a few. The following will provide a brief explanation of each theme, previously mention, as it relates to the Book of Jonah. The first theme, running away and its consequences can be found in Chapter 1:1-2:1. Jonah is called by God to go to Nineveh and…show more content…
Verse 5 states that each sailor "cried to his god," which tells the reader that the sailors were pagans; therefore, the later interpretation is more likely. (New Interpreter's 496) The sailors cast lots to see whose fault it is for this situation. Using chance to find the perpetrator insinuates that it took divine intervention to single out Jonah. (New Interpreter's 498) The sailors ask Jonah who he was and where did he come from and Jonah's answer was "I am a Hebrew." He also stated "I worship the Lord, the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." The sailors believe that Jonah has brought the storm to them and asks "What have you done?" and "What shall we do with you?" (New American 1011) Feeling the weight of his guilt of running away from God, Jonah tells the sailors to throw him overboard. They comply unwillingly. Now the Lord still had a mission for Jonah and so he sent a large fish to swallow him up, which is where he stayed for three days and three nights. Certainly, the safest and simplest thing Jonah could have done would have been to go to Nineveh and preach against the city; therefore, running away is never a better answer. The second theme, prayer, occupies the majority of Chapter 2, specifically verses 3-10, the "Psalm of Thanksgiving". This is thought to have been a later addition to the story, due to the fact that Jonah had not been saved yet. (Anchor 939) However,
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