Whats the deal with Jonah in Chapter four? Is he angry? depressed? grieved? Is he right to be so? Is there a sense in which he is responding righteously or just as a petulant prophet who didn’t get his way?
This is what is on my mind today…. lemme know if you any ideas; I will post some answers later on, or at least my take.
2 thoughts on “Jonah 4”
I think Jonah is so attached to his hatred of the Assyrians and to the national aspirations of Israel that he cannot take satisfaction in his abilities as a preacher. Here’s a guy who can deliver such sweet homiletics that he brought all Nineveh to it’s knees (in a good way), yet his real desire was to be a failure so that there would be no repentance among the Ninevites and God’s anger would destroy the Assyrian empire and save Israel.
This is a good question. There’s a lot to unpack here.
Here’s the pushback I would offer to that–
Let’s grant that perhaps Jonah is as good an orator as you say… his sweet homiletics inspire like the speeches of Obama, but to repentance.
Here’s the question I find myself asking: If Jonah (and his readers) have done much reading at all, they know how the prophet stories go…. Prophets preach, and if the people listen, God usually forgives; if they dont, which they inevitably do, then God smites. You get the picture.
So Jonah had to know that, if the Ninevites listened, then it was possible, even probable, that God might be moved.
So why is he grieved? (i think thats the best translation of the term “ra’a” in the context given)
Here’s what I would offer:
What happens when you work yourself out of a job? How is one to respond to the reality that your services are obsolete? Jonah has just preached his way into unemployment…. but he also knows that eventually the people are going to turn, and when they do, they might need him again. I think he is waiting, grieved on the side of the road, because he doesn’t know what else to do in the face of this reality except wait for the inevitable…for God to speak to him again.