Jona 1

Study the Inner Meaning

German: Luther (1912)         

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1 Es geschah das Wort des HERRN zu Jona, dem Sohn Amitthais, und sprach:

2 Mache dich auf und gehe in die große Stadt Ninive und predige wider sie! denn ihre Bosheit ist heraufgekommen vor mich.

3 Aber Jona machte sich auf und floh vor dem HERRN und wollte gen Tharsis und kam hinab gen Japho. Und da er ein Schiff fand, das gen Tharsis wollte fahren, gab er Fährgeld und trat hinein, daß er mit ihnen gen Tharsis führe vor dem HERRN.

4 Da ließ der HERR einen großen Wind aufs Meer kommen, und es erhob sich ein großes Ungewitter auf dem Meer, daß man meinte, das Schiff würde zerbrechen.

5 Und die Schiffsleute fürchteten sich und schrieen, ein jeglicher zu seinem Gott, und warfen das Gerät, das im Schiff war, ins Meer, daß es leichter würde. Aber Jona war hinunter in das Schiff gestiegen, lag und schlief.

6 Da trat zu ihm der Schiffsherr und sprach zu ihm: Was schläfst du? Stehe auf, rufe deinen Gott an! ob vielleicht Gott an uns gedenken wollte, daß wir nicht verdürben.

7 Und einer sprach zum andern: Kommt, wir wollen losen, daß wir erfahren, um welches willen es uns so übel gehe. Und da sie losten traf's Jona.

8 Da sprachen sie zu ihm: Sage uns, warum geht es uns so übel? was ist dein Gewerbe, und wo kommst du her? Aus welchem Lande bist du, und von welchem Volk bist du?

9 Er sprach zu ihnen: Ich bin ein Hebräer und fürchte den HERRN, den Gott des Himmels, welcher gemacht hat das Meer und das Trockene.

10 Da fürchteten sich die Leute sehr und sprachen zu ihm: Warum hast du denn solches getan? denn sie wußten, daß er vor dem HERRN floh; denn er hatte es ihnen gesagt.

11 Da sprachen sie zu ihm: Was sollen wir denn mit dir tun, daß uns das Meer still werde? Denn das Meer fuhr ungestüm.

12 Er sprach zu ihnen: Nehmt mich und werft mich ins Meer, so wird euch das Meer still werden. Denn ich weiß, daß solch groß Ungewitter über euch kommt um meinetwillen.

13 Und die Leute trieben, daß sie wieder zu Lande kämen; aber sie konnten nicht, denn das Meer fuhr ungestüm wider sie.

14 Da riefen sie zu dem HERRN und sprachen: Ach HERR, laß uns nicht verderben um dieses Mannes Seele willen und rechne uns nicht zu unschuldig Blut! denn du, HERR, tust, wie dir's gefällt.

15 Und sie nahmen Jona und warfen ihn ins Meer; das stand das Meer still von seinem Wüten.

16 Und die Leute fürchteten den HERR sehr und taten dem HERRN Opfer und Gelübde.

17 2:1 Aber der HERR verschaffte einen großen Fisch, Jona zu verschlingen. Und Jona war im Leibe des Fisches drei Tage und drei Nächte.

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 1      

By Rev. George McCurdy and Rev. Martin Pennington

Billy Graham once said that the whole of Jesus' ministry could be summed up in two words; Come and Go.

COME to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

GO and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19)

In the beginning of the Book of Jonah, chapter 1, we have a story about what happens when you do the first step, but not the second. Jonah was supposed to go preach the gospel -- the monotheistic worship of Jehovah -- to the people of Ninevah. Swedenborg tells us that the verses in Jonah 1:1-2 are about the people of Israel, who had received the Word - but wouldn't go out and share it amongst the nations.

In Jonah 1:4-6, peoples' spiritual knowledge declines, and begins to perish. It happens both in the land of Israel, and in the wider world.

Here are some key symbolic elements in this account:

- A ship represents the knowledge of good and truth useful for life (a church). (Apocalypse Revealed 406)

- A sea, storm and wind represents Hell and its influence. (Apocalypse Revealed 343[4])

- To be asleep means to be deluded by our own glory. (Arcana Coelestia 147)

In Jonah 1:7-9, the people who lived outside the land of Israel had some perception that their own spiritual knowledge was lacking, and they it had led to a collapse of their spiritual state. As Swedenborg puts it, "the state of the church was perverted among themselves".

When they perceived this, they also came to understand that they needed to reject falsified truths that they were getting from the Jewish church at that time, and pray to the Lord for salvation, to try to restore real worship, real spiritual love and wisdom.

Drawing lots, or playing a game of chance, represents pulling truths apart. (Arcana Coelestia 9942.13)

In Jonah 1:10-13, throwing Jonah into the sea represents the rejection of that hollowed-out church, to make way for a new church. Then, in Jonah 1:14-16, when the people in the boat pray unto the Lord for salvation -- it works! They are saved from foundering and drowning.

What's the takeaway for us? If we're getting false ideas from our neighbors, we need to perceive it, and stop. We need to identify our false beliefs, and reject them -- throw them into the sea. Then, we need to pray for salvation -- and then a new "church" can start in us, too, personally, with renewed spiritual life. And, when we come to the Lord, and experience spiritual "rest", then we can also go share our new true ideas and good loves with our neighbors -- coming, and going.

Here's a link to an interesting (audio) sermon on this chapter, by Rev. Todd Beiswenger.

Finally, here's a link to Rev. McCurdy's Study Guide for the Book of Jonah, which is available for free as a .pdf, for your use.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

der Propheten und der Psalmen Davids 211


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 901, 1188, 1343, 1709, 2606, 2788, 4495, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 505

Die Lehre des neuen Jerusalem von der Heiligen Schrift 29

Wahre Christliche Religion 211


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 532, 622

Spiritual Experiences 1391

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Mose 1:10, 3:13, 10:11, 14:13, 18:21, 24:7

2 Mose 4:13

5 Mose 21:8

Josua 7:19, 26

2 Samuel 21:3, 14, 24:17

2 Koenige 14:25

2 Chronik 2:15, 9:21, 28:9

Esra 1:2

Hiob 37:24

Psalm 95:5, 107:25, 29, 148:8

Sprueche 16:33

Jeremia 5:22

Hesekiel 2:8

Jona 3:1, 2, 3, 9, 4:11

Nahum 3:19

Markus 4:41

Lukas 22:46

Apostelgeschichte 27:18

Offenbarung 18:5

Word/Phrase Explanations

wort
'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...

Jona
'Jonah' represents the Jewish nation.

Sohn
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

stadt
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

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...

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

Vor
In den meisten Fällen ist die Bedeutung von "vorher" ziemlich einfach, sowohl als eine Art der Beurteilung der relativen Zeit, als auch in der Verwendung...

floh
Flight, as in Matthew 14:20, signifies removal from a state of the good of love and innocence. Flight, as in Mark 8:18, signifies the last...

kam
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Schiff
Ships were used in the ancient world – as they generally are now – to carry freight from nation to nation for trade. The various...

herr
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...

Wind
Because a nearer and stronger divine influx through the heavens disperses truths among the wicked, 'wind' signifies this dispersion of truth and the resulting conjunction...

Meer
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

gott
Der Herr ist die Liebe selbst, ausgedrückt in der Form der Weisheit selbst. Die Liebe ist also sein Wesen, sein Innerstes. Die Weisheit - das...

sprach
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...

uns
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

Hebräer
The term 'Hebrew' is used in the Word to signify anything relating to service, whatever its nature may be. Hence Abraham, in one passage only...

himmels
Himmel sind himmlische und spirituelle Dinge. Folglich sind sie das Innerste, beides des Reiches des Herrn im Himmel und auf der Erde. Dies bezieht sich...

weiß
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

groß
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;...

Seele
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

Blut
The internal meaning of “blood” is a little tricky, because Swedenborg gives two meanings that seem quite different. In most cases, Swedenborg links blood with...

Stand
'To stay with,' as in Genesis 32:4, relates to the life of truth when accompanied by good, and in this instance, it means to take...

Gelübde
In Genesis 28:20, 'he vowed a vow' denotes, in the internal sense, willing that the Lord will provide. In the highest sense, where the Lord...

drei
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...

tage
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...

Nächte
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

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.


 Casting Lots
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Jonah and the Stormy Sea
Color the drawings and then follow the directions to make a 3 dimensional picture. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah Disobeys the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah in the Great Fish
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah Swallowed by a Fish
Another way to make a 3 dimensional fish that can swallow Noah. 
Project | Ages up to 6

 Jonah Thrown Overboard
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Mighty Tempest on the Sea
Coloring Page | 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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