Jonah 4

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1 And it was·​·evil to Jonah, a great evil, and he was·​·incensed by it.

2 And he prayed to Jehovah, and said, I pray Thee, O Jehovah, was not this my word, when I was yet upon my own ground? Therefore I went·​·before to run·​·away to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a God gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and of much mercy, and repenting concerning the evil.

3 And now, O Jehovah, take, I pray Thee, my soul from me; for my death is better than my life.

4 And Jehovah said, Doest· thou ·well to be·​·incensed?

5 And Jonah went·​·out from the city, and sat from the east to the city, and there made for himself a shelter, and sat under it in the shadow, until he might see what would become of the city.

6 And Jehovah God provided a kikajon*, and it went·​·up over Jonah, and it was a shade over his head, to rescue him from his evil. And Jonah was·​·glad on·​·account·​·of the kikajon, with great gladness.

7 But God provided a worm when the dawn came·​·up on the morrow, and it smote the kikajon, and it dried·​·up.

8 And it was, as the sun rose, that God provided a drying east wind; and the sun smote upon the head of Jonah, and he was·​·fatigued, and asked·​·for his soul to die, and said, My death would be better than my living.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest· thou ·well to be·​·incensed for the kikajon? And he said, I do·​·well to be·​·incensed, even·​·to death.

10 And Jehovah said, Thou wouldst spare the kikajon, on which thou hast not labored, and didst not cause to grow·​·up; which is the son of a night, and the son of a night perishes;

11 and should not I spare Nineveh, the great city, in which are multiplied more than twelve myriads* of man* who knows not between his right·​·hand and his left; and also many beasts?



Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff

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.

   Studovat vnitřní smysl

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff

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

Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 51

True Christian Religion 226


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 401, 419

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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

Významy biblických slov

jonah
'Jonah' represents the Jewish nation.

great
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;...

jehovah
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...

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...

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...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

Tarshish
Elishah, Tarshish, Kitthin, and Dodanium (Gen. 10:4) signify so many several doctrinals respecting ritual observances, and derived from external worship prevailing with Javan.

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

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

much
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

mercy
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...

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

soul
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...

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

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

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...

under
In the Bible, things that are lower down, or under, physically, generally represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases, the...

shadow
Since the sun’s light represents the Lord’s Divine Truth, “shade” represents a spiritual state in which that light is blocked. The Writings often use the...

might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

see
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...

jehovah god
Many different names for the Lord appear in the Bible, and they all have different shades of meaning. “Jehovah” is the actual name of God,...

God
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

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

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

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

worm
'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'...

smote
'The smitten' signify people who are oppressed by the falsities of ignorance.

dried
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

sun
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...

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...

Wind
In the Bible, the wind represents the power of the Lord working on us through the heavens. The Lord is love itself, and by extending...

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

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

To
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

Grow
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

son
Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of...

nineveh
'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...

twelve
'Twelve' and 'twenty-four' signify "all" or "everything", and refer to truths.

thousand
As children, most of us at some point frustrated our mothers into using the phrase “if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand...

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

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

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...

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 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


Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.


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