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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Jonah (LXX) Notes

 2 Kings mentions Jonah. He was a prophet that gives King Jeroboam II a decent pro-Israel prophecy until his prophecy to Ninevah. 

[Chapter 1]

Rise! Go to Ninevah and prophesy to them. Go to the capital of the Assyrian Empire! Today this would be modern-day Mosul in Iraq. In modern day, what God asks Jonah to do would be the equivalent of you being called to go to Mosul and preach to I.S.I.L. (some call it I.S.I.S.). The Assyrians had a gate at Ninevah that had sphinxs at their gates and this was a call to go to the capital of a very strong and very violent superpower. 

The Assyrians for context, finished off Israel after Babylon and conquered and stole anywhere they plundered. ISIS is not a good comparison even though I made it because if you have ever studied the way they were and did things, they were ruthless and seriously make ISIS look weak. If they didn't just outright kill you there on the spot, they would force intermarriage and scatter you away from your people in order to destroy that people. The fact that Israel even barely manages to scrape by and recover from the Assyrian Exile period is a miracle in and of itself really. The Samaritans actually are the product of the Assyrians since Jews were forced to marry Gentiles and thus, this resulted in what would be known as the Samaritan people. 

Jonah obviously and justifiably in my opinion freaks the freak out and says "hell to the no" to this call (I can't exactly blame him. I'd be terrified too but if God is with you, you should go do as he commands obviously with the certainty that you are serving Yahweh). 

Jonah rejects the call and tries to flee to Tarshish and tries to get as far away from there as possible.

Storm ensues on the ship and Jonah is found sleeping while the sailors ask for the gods to end the storm and protect them. The pagans, in order to find out who or what is causing this mayhem that can only be from angering a god of some sort, draw lots and it falls on Jonah (v.7).

These sailors it MUST be noted, are Gentiles, and are not portrayed as savage pagans nor as heathens. 

Jonah tells them that "he serves the Lord Yahweh" which is completely ironic since he is a runaway prophet trying to run from his calling.

The Gentiles were more loyal to the Lord and ask God to forgive them. 

Jonah hatches a plan to have the pagans throw him into the sea. This maybe kills him and gets him out of having to preach to Ninevah. He also, may be justifying it that these pagans will kill him... however, we find the pagans do everything to not kill Jonah.

When they do ultimately throw him overboard into the sea, they beg and ask Yahweh to forgive them, so albeit unintentionally, Jonah has just converted some pagans to Yahweh in a strange way and they clearly follow Yahweh better than Jonah does because they do, based on their limited understanding, repent while Jonah, like Israel, stays stuck in his ways, refusing to see the bigger picture and refusing to do as the Lord wishes. 

[Chapter 2]

So Jonah in some fashion volunteers to die to save the lives of these pagans. When he does this, he is saved as God has him swallowed up by a giant sea monster (a tannin). 3 days later, the sea monster (maybe it is similar to the Leviathan?) vomits Jonah up. 

This is clear typology for Mary giving birth to Jesus from a cave. Also, when Sheol spits Jonah out by sea monster, it is typology for Jesus dying and going to Sheol for 3 days and then rising from it. In Genesis 3, Adam is cursed to become dust. The serpent (Satan) is cursed to eat the dust. Isaiah 24-27 references this as well that one day Adam's curse will be reversed and the god of death that eats and devours Adam and his people will ultimately spit them out as his rule over them will be over due to the Messiah. Resurrection of Jesus and ultimately the dead is clearly referenced in Jonah in Messianic prophecy.

Fun fact: This is somewhat speculative on my part but the Ninevites worshipped Dagon, who is a fish-god. So if anyone from Ninevah saw Jonah come out of this sea monster it would appear to them that he is a prophet of Dagon, and thus, they should listen to him. In reality, he is a prophet of Yahweh, not the demon parading as Dagon. God is Master of the Sea. They may have started off thinking him to be a prophet of Dagon but then it be revealed he is an Israelite who serves Yahweh. 

[Chapter 3]

Jonah goes to Ninevah. It takes him 3 days to get there. The city is huge. It takes 1 day to get into the city. A lot of walking. All Jonah does for these people is half-assed because he doesn't want to see them be saved from judgment. He wishes nothing but the full wrath of God on the Ninevites and so does as little as possible to help them which is why he only proclaims a short sentence. To his dismay however, the Ninevites all hear and listen to him and begin to actively seek repentance. 

[Chapter 4]

Jonah now is furious because he knew that God would be compassionate to the Ninevites and have mercy on them instead of just destroying them. Jonah very much represents Israel's bad attitude. This attitude towards the Gentile nations like the Assyrians are also why Israel doesn't bring anyone to Yahweh. Their actions, by following Torah, are supposed to make Israel a light to the world, but instead they squander their call to action. God shows us here Israel's hard-heartedness. If they'd even just do a simple small bit, even if they half-assed it, they would potentially convert a whole superpower Gentile nation to repent like Ninevah. Alas, they would not and do not and it takes a whole New Covenant through Jesus Christ to begin to do this and bring Gentiles to Yahweh and find repentance and new life in Him. 

Jonah goes out to see if maybe they will still get destroyed so God grows him a shady plant for him to sit there and watch. Like Jonah, God shows love for Israel, and provides her some protection against the elements (representative of the world) with this plant (representative of His mercy and compassion) despite Jonah's hard-heartedness (representative of Israel's). 

God commands a worm to eat the plant and gives a hot wind that destroys the plant. Jonah then gets upset and mad about this at the end of it and so it ends with God having a conversation with Jonah that can be summarized as follows: 

"You're mad about this plant I gave you being destroyed, but not Ninevah?" He then takes another jab at Jonah and mentions Ninevah's cattle. His anger and hard-heartedness are absurd. 

"You can't even have mercy on the cattle"? 

This ends Jonah and shows us that God loves and cares and calls all people to repentance and that he calls us to not be hard-hearted like Israel and Jonah and that God's love extends to all people and all creatures of His Creation. 

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