Jonah 4

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1 And it is grievous unto Jonah -- a great evil -- and he is displeased at it;

2 and he prayeth unto Jehovah, and he saith, `I pray Thee, O Jehovah, is not this my word while I was in mine own land -- therefore I was beforehand to flee to Tarshish -- that I have known that Thou [art] a God, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness, and repenting of evil?

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

4 And Jehovah saith, `Is doing good displeasing to thee?'

5 And Jonah goeth forth from the city, and sitteth on the east of the city, and maketh to himself there a booth, and sitteth under it in the shade, till that he seeth what is in the city.

6 And Jehovah God appointeth a gourd, and causeth it to come up over Jonah, to be a shade over his head, to give deliverance to him from his affliction, and Jonah rejoiceth because of the gourd [with] great joy.

7 And God appointeth a worm at the going up of the dawn on the morrow, and it smiteth the gourd, and it drieth up.

8 And it cometh to pass, about the rising of the sun, that God appointeth a cutting east wind, and the sun smiteth on the head of Jonah, and he wrappeth himself up, and asketh his soul to die, and saith, `Better [is] my death than my life.'

9 And God saith unto Jonah: `Is doing good displeasing to thee, because of the gourd?' and he saith, `To do good is displeasing to me -- unto death.'

10 And Jehovah saith, `Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou didst not labour, neither didst thou nourish it, which a son of a night was, and a son of a night perished,

11 and I -- have not I pity on Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than twelve myriads of human beings, who have not known between their right hand and their left -- and much cattle!'



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

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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...

saith
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...

flee
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...

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.

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

merciful
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...

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

abundant
'Sufficiency' relates to the reception of good, because good is the spiritual nourishment of the soul, as natural food is the nourishment of the body.

kindness
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
'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...

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.

sitteth
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...

shade
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...

seeth
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...

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...

gourd
The gourd which God prepared to come up over the head of the prophet Jonah, in Jonah 4:6, signifies the evil and self-love of the...

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....

affliction
Matthew 24:21 mentions an affliction "such as was not from the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be". There, the affliction means the...

joy
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'...

rising
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...

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...

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...

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

son
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....

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.

Right hand
'The man of the right hand,' as in Psalm 80:17, signifies the Lord with respect to the Word. He is called 'the man of the...

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...

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