The Hebrew Bible: The Book Of Jonah

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The book of Jonah contains one of the most well known moments of the Hebrew Bible. Despite this, it is also one of the least well understood books in terms of its wider themes and implications. This paper will consider the book from the perspective of its historical authorship, its relationship to other books in the Bible its overall theoretical message and establishing how these factors can be seen to be interweaved within its narrative. The Book of Jonah is included in the prophetic books of the Bible, alongside Amos, Isaiah and others. Its authorship is unknown, although it is assumed that it is the work of one author and its composition is usually dated around the Second Temple period as a result of its language and syntactical structure.…show more content…
The opening verses of the book present a calling, as is typical of the prophetic books: 'Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son Amittai, saying, “Go at once to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out amongst them; for their wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah.I.1-3). Unlike other prophets, however, Jonah initially refuses his call and sets out to flee to the country of Joppa. When on board the ship, God causes a storm which the men on board the ship, including Jonah himself, realise has been caused as a result of Jonah'…show more content…
At this point, Jonah repents his refusal to follow the prophetic call and in long prater promises that he will return to His service with the words; 'Those who worship false idols forsake their true loyalty. But I with voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay' (Jonah.2.8-10). At this point the fish spits Jonah back onto dry land and he resumes the fact of his calling. Upon receiving a second call from God, Jonah goes to Ninevah to warn them that their city will be destroyed. Upon hearing this news those who inhabit the city instantly repent of their evil ways and plead for mercy from God. The King of Ninevah proclaims that the entire city should fast and dress in sackcloth. Upon seeing this, God repents on his own decision to destroy the city: 'When God saw what they [the people of Ninevah] did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them and he did not do it'

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