Jonah 3

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Douay-Rheims         

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1 And the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time, saying:

2 Arise, and go to Ninive the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee.

3 And Jonas arose, and went to Ninive, according to the word of the Lord: now Ninive was a great city of three days' journey.

4 And Jonas began to enter into the city one day's journey: and he cried, and said: Yet forty days, and Ninive shall be destroyed.

5 And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least.

6 And the word came to the king of Ninive; and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Ninive from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen nor sheep, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water.

8 And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands.

9 Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish?

10 And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and God had mercy with regard to the evil which he had said that he would do to them, and he did it not.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 213


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 588, 623, 4779, 7520, 7523, 9437, 9723, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 166, 337, 492, 567

Sacred Scripture 51

True Christian Religion 226


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 195, 408, 637, 650

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 33:6

1 Samuel 6:5

2 Samuel 12:22

1 Kings 21:27, 29

2 Kings 19:1

2 Chronicles 20:3

Esther 4:1, 3

Proverbs 28:13

Isaiah 1:16, 58:6

Jeremiah 1:7, 17, 6:26, 18:7, 28:8, 42:10

Joel 2:13, 14

Amos 5:15, 7:3, 6

Jonah 1:1, 2, 15, 4:2

Zephaniah 2:3

Matthew 11:21, 12:41

Luke 11:32

Word/Phrase Explanations

the Word
In general, we tend to be very aware of how knowing what's true leads to doing what is good. That starts as children, with parents...

word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

jonas
'Jonah' represents the Jewish nation.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

ninive
'Nineveh' signifies the falsities of doctrinal matters, also the Gentiles, or the falsities originating in the fallacies of the senses, in the obscurity of an...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

days
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

god
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

Put on
'To put on' is communication and imbuement.

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Sackcloth
'Being clothed in sackcloth' signifies lamentation because of the devastation of truth in the church. 'Sackcloth,' as in Revelation 6:12, relates to destroyed good.

greatest
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

throne
'The Lord's throne' signifies, in general, the whole heaven, and specifically, the spiritual heaven, and by extension, divine truth proceeding, and so, everything of heaven...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

Ashes
Ashes as in ('Ezekiel 27:30') signify what is condemned; because fire from which they are derived signify infernal love. Ashes of the furnace ('Exodus 9:8')...

beasts
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

sheep
A flock, as in Genesis 26, denotes interior or rational good. A flock signifies those who are in spiritual good. A flock signifies natural interior...

taste
Our five senses correspond to spiritual affections, or the attraction we feel toward spiritual things. The sense of taste, according to the Writings, corresponds to...

feed
When the Bible talks about "feeding" it is generally referring to instruction in spiritual things – teaching people the true concepts that can lead them...

drink
To be drunken without wine (Isa. 29:9), are they who are unconcerned about the Word, and the truths of faith, and thus have no inclination...

water
'Waters' signify truths in the natural self, and in the opposite sense, falsities. 'Waters' signify particularly the spiritual parts of a person, or the intellectual...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

turn
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

evil
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

iniquity
In Isaiah 59:6, 'webs' and 'garments' signify aspects of the understanding, or thought, 'Iniquity' and 'violence,' aspects of the will, or works.

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

Fierce anger
'Fierce anger,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies grievous aversion from good.

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

works
'Works,' as in Genesis 46:33, denote goods, because they are from the will, and anything from the will is either good or evil, but anything...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Beauty for Ashes
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 How the Lord Saved Jonah
A retelling of the story for young children with beautiful color illustrations. 
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Jonah
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jonah and the Gourd
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Jonah and the Gourd (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah and the Gourd (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Jonah and the Gourd (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Jonah and the Great Fish
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah Goes to Nineveh
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: Divine Providence and Evil
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Prophet Jonah
This article shows how the Lord tried to teach Jonah to be merciful and kind when Jonah disobeyed the Lord because of his hatred toward the Assyrians. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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