Jonah 4

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Italian: Riveduta Bible (1927)         

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1 Ma Giona ne provò un gran dispiacere, e ne fu irritato; e pregò l’Eterno, dicendo:

2 "O Eterno, non è egli questo ch’io dicevo, mentr’ero ancora nel mio paese? Perciò m’affrettai a fuggirmene a Tarsis; perché sapevo che sei un Dio misericordioso, pietoso, lento all’ira, di gran benignità, e che ti penti del male minacciato.

3 Or dunque, o Eterno, ti prego, riprenditi la mia vita; perché per me val meglio morire che vivere".

4 E l’Eterno gli disse: "Fai tu bene a irritarti così?"

5 Poi Giona uscì dalla città, e si mise a sedere a oriente della città; si fece quivi una capanna, e vi sedette sotto, all’ombra, stando a vedere quello che succederebbe alla città.

6 E Dio, l’Eterno, per guarirlo dalla sua irritazione, fece crescere un ricino, che montò su di sopra a Giona, per fargli ombra al capo; e Giona provò una grandissima gioia a motivo di quel ricino.

7 Ma l’indomani, allo spuntar dell’alba, Iddio fece venire un verme, il quale attaccò il ricino, ed esso si seccò.

8 E come il sole fu levato, Iddio fece soffiare un vento soffocante d’oriente, e il sole picchiò sul capo di Giona, sì ch’egli venne meno, e chiese di morire, dicendo: "Meglio è per me morire che vivere".

9 E Dio disse a Giona: "Fai tu bene a irritarti così a motivo del ricino?" Egli rispose: "Sì, faccio bene a irritarmi fino alla morte".

10 E l’Eterno disse: "Tu hai pietà del ricino per il quale non hai faticato, e che non hai fatto crescere, che è nato in una notte e in una notte è perito:

11 e io non avrei pietà di Ninive, la gran città, nella quale si trovano più di centoventimila persone che non sanno distinguere la loro destra dalla loro sinistra, e tanta quantità di bestiame?"

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Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

By Joe David and Steve David

In this fourth chapter of the Book of Jonah, (Jonah 4), the prophet Jonah has a strange reaction to his success. He's angry, and sulky. He thinks he knows better than God does. What is this story about?

Rev. George McCurdy, in his exegesis of this chapter, offers a summary in his Study Guide for the Book of Jonah, which is available for free as a .pdf, for your use. Below, we've excerpted part of his summary, and edited it for use in this context.

The people of the Jewish church in Jonah's time didn't want to reconsider their belief in their "most-favored-nation status." They challenged the Lord. They couldn't understand why He wanted to save their enemies in Nineveh.

Despite the hard lessons in chapters 1 and 2, and his success as described in chapter 3, Jonah still thought he knew better than the Lord. He thought that God was being too soft and loving -- too forgiving -- and that He needed to come around to Jonah’s tougher view.

Jonah got so angry and vengeful that he preferred to die rather than approve of the Lord’s way to save the Ninevites. His self-love wanted shade -- protection for its concepts. The Lord needed to bring such thinking to an end; the worm brought about death to the gourd from within. The Lord then sent a vehement east wind, that represents a blowing away of the stagnant thinking of the church.

The Lord's heavenly sun shone upon Jonah, but he felt faint. Here, Jonah's insistence on his own troubling view of things made him uncomfortable with the Lord’s view. The Divine guidance offered him a way to learn to enjoy the success of his neighbors as his own, but he wouldn't take it.

For us, then -- what? This story is telling us that we can't just keep the truths of the Word for ourselves; we have to go to Nineveh and share them. And then, if people start to hear them, and use them to turn their lives around, we can't allow ourselves to get resentful that the Lord accepts their repentance and forgives them. It's a very human reaction; think of the disciples vying to be first in the Lord's command structure (Luke 9:46), or the brother of the prodigal son (Luke 15:28-29), or the workers in the vineyard who had worked all day for a denarius (Matthew 20:10-12). But... it's not a good reaction. The Lord doesn't admire it in Jonah, and doesn't admire it when it crops up in our minds, either.

Rev. Martin Pennington recommends several explanatory passages from Swedenborg's theological writings:

"Shade or shadow means the perception of good and truth lies in obscurity." (Arcana Coelestia 2367)

"A vine is spiritual good (the spiritual church)". (Arcana Coelestia 217)

"A worm represents falsity gnawing away and tormenting one." (Arcana Coelestia 8481)

"'And the sun grew hot' in the contrary sense means self-love and love of the world." (Arcana Coelestia 8487)

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

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 214


Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 10441

Dottrina sulla Sacra Scrittura 51

True Christian Religion 226


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 401, 419

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Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 4:6, 41:6

1 Kings 19:4, 21:4

Job 7:2, 15, 16

Psalms 86:15, 145:9

Ecclesiastes 7:9

Hosea 13:15

Jonah 1:2, 3:9

Matthew 2:10, 20:15

Luke 15:28

Word/Phrase Explanations

Giona
'Jonah' represents the Jewish nation.

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

benignità
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

male
'To hurt,' as mentioned in Revelation 6:6, signifies violation and profanation. 'To hurt' as mentioned in Revelation 9:4, signifies perverting the truths and goods of...

vita
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

l’eterno
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...

disse
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...

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

sotto
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

ombra
'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

vedere
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

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

gioia
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

verme
'A worm' denotes falsity of evil in the good derived from the proprium or selfhood. 'That dies not,' denotes infernal torment related to falsity. 'Worm'...

sole
The 'sun' signifies celestial and spiritual love. The 'sun' in the Word, when referring to the Lord, signifies His divine love and wisdom. Because the...

Vento
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...

morire
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

Crescere
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

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...

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 by following this link.


 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

 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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