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Jona 4

Swedish (1917)         

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1 Men detta förtröt Jona högeligen, och hans vrede upptändes.

2 Och han bad till HE EN och sade: »Ack Herre, var det icke detta jag tänkte, när jag ännu var i mitt land! Därför ville jag ock i förväg fly undan till Tarsis. Jag visste ju att du är en nådig och barmhärtig Gud, långmodig och stor i mildhet, och sådan att du ångrar det onda.

3 Så tag nu, Herre, mitt liv ifrån mig; ty jag vill hellre vara död än leva.»

4 Men HE EN sade: »Menar du att du har skäl till att vredgas?»

5 Och Jona gick ut ur staden och stannade öster om staden; där gjorde han sig en hydda och satt i skuggan därunder, för att se huru det skulle gå med staden.

6 Och HE EN Gud lät en ricinbuske skjuta upp över Jona, för att den skulle giva skugga åt hans huvud och hjälpa honom ur hans förtrytelse; och Jona gladde sig högeligen över ricinbusken.

7 Men dagen därefter, när morgonrodnaden gick upp, sände Gud maskar som frätte ricinbusken, så att den vissnade.

8 När sedan solen hade gått upp, sände Gud en brännande östanvind, och solen stack Jona på huvudet, så att han försmäktade. Då önskade han sig döden och sade: »Jag vill hellre vara död än leva.»

9 Men Gud sade till Jona: »Menar du att du har skäl till att vredgas för ricinbuskens skull?» Han svarade: »Jag må väl hava skäl att vredgas till döds.»

10 Då sade HE EN: »Du ömkar dig över ricinbusken, som du icke har haft någon möda med och icke har dragit upp, som kom till på en natt och förgicks efter en natt.

11 Och jag skulle icke ömka mig över Nineve, den stora staden, där mer än ett hundra tjugu tusen människor finnas, som icke förstå att skilja mellan höger och vänster, och därtill djur i myckenhet!»

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

By Joe 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.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 214

Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Caelestia 10441

Sacred Scripture 51

True Christian Religion 226

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 401, 419

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

  Bible Study Videos:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Mosebok 4:6, 41:6

1 Konungaboken 19:4, 21:4

Job 7:2, 15, 16

Psaltaren 86:15, 145:9

Predikaren 7:9

Hosea 13:15

Jona 1:2, 3:9

Matteus 2:10, 20:15

Lukas 15:28

Word/Phrase Explanations

'Jonah' represents the Jewish nation.

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...

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...

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

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...

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

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

In Psalm 121:6, 'be a shade on the right hand' means being a defense against the evil and falsity.

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...

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

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

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....

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...

'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'...

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....

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...

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

‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

'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...

It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

'Twenty,' when referring to a quantity, signifies everything or fullness, because it is ten twice. 'Twenty,' as in Genesis 18:31, like all numbers occurring in...

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...

"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...

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.

Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Caelestia #10441

Arcana Caelestia (Svenska Översättning)      

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Caelestia 10448

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 433