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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jonah

My A to Z blogging theme is characters in (people from) the scriptures. Since my blog is a book blog, this theme would fit right in and help me strengthen a weakness at the same. How fantastic is that?!  This challenge is a blessing. Thank you A to Z Challenge team!  *Book: LDS quad combo scriptures: KJV Holy Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price. (p)1989, (c)1979.

The book of Jonah in the Old Testament is quite short but Jonah's story is similar to an allegory (not to be mistaken as a parable as told by Jesus) in that we can draw from his actual experiences.  The story goes like this (from chapter briefs):  Jonah is sent to call Nineveh to repentance.  He flees on a ship, is cast into the sea, and is swallowed by a great fish.  Jonah prays to the Lord, and the fish vomits him out on dry ground.  Jonah prophesies the downfall of Nineveh.  The people repent and the city is saved.  Jonah is displeased with the Lord for his mercy upon the people.  The Lord rebukes him.

Wow, I'm enjoying getting to know more about people from the scriptures!  Anyway, I've seen and heard depiction of Jonah being in the belly of a whale in cartoons and such but reading and studying it from scripture is so fulfilling.  Just like many of us readers find film adaptation of books quite not up to par.  That said, I lack eloquence with words so I'm just going to quote from my Old Testament Student Manual titled, "One Should Not Flee from One's Responsibilities", hence a moral that one can get out of Jonah's journey:

The prophet Jonah was an unusual servant of the Lord. Jonah was called on a mission very similar to that of other prophets: he was to cry repentance to a people ripening in iniquity. Unlike other prophets, however, Jonah responded by attempting to flee from his assignment. Had his reason been cowardice, though still wrong, it would have been understandable. The brutality of the Assyrians in the treatment of their enemies was well known (see Enrichment D ). But Jonah’s problem does not seem to be cowardice. Rather, it seems to have been resentment against the Lord for giving the hated enemy a chance to repent (see Jonah 4:1–2 .)

To someone who has been taught to have Christian love for all men, Jonah’s attitude may seem almost unbelievable. But to an Israelite who had been taught that he was of the chosen people and that the Gentiles were corrupt and therefore not acceptable to God, Jonah’s attitude was more understandable. Though surprising because we expect a different response from the Lord’s prophets, Jonah’s response was very human.

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