Fleeing God: Fear, Call, and the Book of Jonah

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God is willing to risk humiliation, to allow His word to be discredited, for the sake of compassion.

Don't end up in the belly of a whale...

Seen from this perspective, the Book of Jonah teaches that God is able and willing and even desirous of annulling His own word. This new concept, opposed by Jonah but advocated by his biographer, has gained a foothold in Judaism. Further, Judaism has gone so far as to twist the words of the Torah itself in order to make the point. To anyone who knows his Bible, however, the list must appear downright scandalous. It is a blatant example of a quotation lifted out of context, interrupting a sentence of the book of Exodus in the middle of a phrase for the sake of omitting the inconvenient sequel.


The rabbis have given the Book of Jonah prominence among the biblical readings of the Days of Awe to emphasize that at times God does pardon absolutely. It is an attribute of both God and man to repent. Yom Kippur. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you. We often assume we have to hoard the benefits of our work for ourselves, lest others gain an advantage over us. We may resort to secrecy and deception, cheating and cutting corners, exploitation and intimidation, in an effort to gain an advantage over rivals at work.

Have we come to believe that success is a zero-sum gain? Eventually he does warn Nineveh, and to his dismay they respond passionately to his message. This is dismaying to Jonah because he continues to want to dictate the results of the work God called him to. He wants punishment, not forgiveness, for Ninevah. He judges the results of his own work harshly Jon.

Do we do the same? When we lament the seeming lack of significance and success in our work, are we forgetting that only God can see the true value of our work? As a result they are saved from the storm, and moreover, they become followers of the Lord.

Jonah, God’s Little Comedy

Here we have a prophet who may be even more of a failure at faithful service than we are. His later exposure to the sun and wind and his despair almost to the point of suicide Jon. The truth is that God is always working to care for and comfort Jonah. Footnotes: Jonah In Hebrew texts is numbered , and is numbered Jonah Or waters were at my throat Jonah The precise identification of this plant is uncertain; also in verses 7, 9 and Bible Gateway Recommends.

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