The Bible

 

Jonah 4:2

Greek OT: LXX [A] Accented         

Study the Inner Meaning

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2 καὶ προσεύξατο πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπεν ὦ κύριε οὐχ οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου ἔτι ὄντος μου ἐν τῇ γῇ μου διὰ τοῦτο προέφθασα τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς θαρσις διότι ἔγνων ὅτι σὺ ἐλεήμων καὶ οἰκτίρμων μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος καὶ μετανοῶν ἐπὶ ταῖς κακίαις

   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

By 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.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 214


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 10441

Sacred Scripture 51

True Christian Religion 226

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Psalms 86:15

Jonah 3:9

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.


 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

Commentary

 

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

By 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.

The Bible

 

Luke 15:28-29

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 15      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-2. That all come to the Lord for instruction who are desirous to be delivered from their natural evils, but that it is otherwise with those who have no such desire.

Verses 3-8. Therefore the Lord came into the world to establish a new spiritual Church, in the place of the celestial Church which perished, in which spiritual Church a good might be formed superior to that of the celestial Church.

Verses 8-11. In which Church too the. affection of truth might be excited, and thus by inquisition and self-examination the knowledges of truth, which had been lost, might be restored, and might be thus seen in greater lustre than before.

Verses 11-17. Which knowledges of truth are often perverted by application to evils of life, in which case they are taken away, and man becomes enslaved by evil cravings.

Verses 17-20. Until through Divine mercy he is excited to repentance of heart and humiliation.

Verse 20. On which occasion he is elevated to a perception of the supreme good of the Divine Love, and to all the blessing of reciprocal conjunction with it.

Verses 21-22. And through self-acknowledgement and self-abasement becomes gifted with general and primary truths, and is admitted to the blessedness of the conjunction of truth and good in the internal or spiritual man, and also in the external or natural man, and thus to regeneration.

Verse 23. Also to a participation of heavenly love and charity, together with heavenly consociation and joy.

Verse 24. Thus from being immersed in the love of infernal evil, he is elevated into the love of heavenly good, and from being destitute of the light of heavenly truth, he is made partaker of all its comforts.

Verses 25-29. But these blessings bestowed on the good of repentance excite the evil of envy in those, who are in meritorious good, and who therefore are incapable of tasting them.

Verses 29-30. Pleading their own innocence, and at the same time condemning those who have fallen away from innocence.

Verses 31-32. Until they are instructed, that it is agreeable to Divine order, that they who have departed from that order both in will and understanding should by repentance of heart and humiliation be restored to it, and to a participation of all its joy and gladness.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Scriptural Confirmations 13, 82

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Jonah 4:4, 9

Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

answering
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

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...

serve
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

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

friends
A friend, as in John 15:14, 15, signifies the spiritual man.

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.


 Coming Home
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Does the Lord Forgive?
Lesson and activities looking at the Lord's love and mercy in forgiving us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Dramatize the Parable of the Prodigal Son
While a teacher or parent reads the story from Luke 15:11-32, others can dramatize the story. Suggests props and preparation for the dramatization.
Activity | Ages 4 - 17

 Family Worship: The Prodigal Son
Religion Lesson | All Ages

 For Reflection: The Prodigal Son and His Brother
When do we identify with older brother rather than the prodigal son?
Activity | Ages over 15

 Getting A Second Chance
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Guardian Angels
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Imagine the Lord's Joy!
 Picture the Lord's joy each time we take a step toward heaven. 
Activity | Ages over 15

 Little Lost Lamb (song lyrics with hand motions)
Song | Ages up to 10

 Lost Sheep
Activity | Ages over 18

 Overview of Hands of Love Levels A B C for ages 3-14
Overview of the Youth Journey Program Hands of Love Inherit the Kingdom, Levels A, B and C, for ages 3-14 for Sunday schools, camps, classrooms and families.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Overview of Sunday School Projects and Activities to accompany the Journey program Practicing Forgiveness
Overview of a book of Activities and Projects to accompany the Journey program Practicing Forgiveness. Includes activities for five stories on forgiveness for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Picture the Prodigal Son and His Father
This project helps children retell the story while moving the father and son toward each other. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Prayers for Children: The Good Shepherd
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Teens and Adults: The Good Shepherd
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: The Lord Loves Everyone
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Remember the Sabbath
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Repentance
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Son Feeding Swine
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Bottom Line
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Good Shepherd
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Little Lost Lamb (sheet music)
Song for children about the man who searched for the little lost lamb . Sheet music with lyrics and guitar chords.
Song | Ages 4 - 14

 The Lord Is Mercy Itself
What is the true nature and quality of the Lord?
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is Our Shepherd
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lost Son
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Parable of the Lost Sheep
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Parable of the Prodigal Son Retold
Retelling of the parable of the prodigal son with some teaching ideas.
Story | Ages 4 - 8

 The Prodigal Son
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Prodigal Son
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

 The Prodigal Son
If we stop doing a wrong thing, the Lord will always forgive us and help us make a new start.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Prodigal Son
The story of the prodigal son is the personal story of our rebirth and regeneration.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Prodigal Son
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Shepherd Rescuing His Sheep
Project | Ages 11 - 17


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