The Bible

 

Jonah 4:2

English: World English Bible         

Study the Inner Meaning

← Previous    Full Chapter    Next →

2 He prayed to Yahweh, and said, "Please, Yahweh, wasn't this what I said when I was still in my own country? Therefore I hurried to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and you relent of doing harm.

   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

Word/Phrase Explanations

Yahweh
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...

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.

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...

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
Anger is an emotion so common to people that it requires no definition. However a couple of points of interest can be raised. 1) The...

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...

harm
To do “harm” in the Bible specifically means attacks and injury by evil and falsity against what is good and true. The reverse is never...

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

 

Matthew 20:10-12

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

← Previous   Full Chapter   Next →

10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

← Previous   Full Chapter   Next →

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Matthew 20      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1, 2. That Truth Divine derived from Divine Good, is the inmost principle of the life of those who constitute the church, and a source also of all their joys and delights, their thoughts, words, and works.

Verses 3, 4, 5. That by this principle, as he becomes obedient to it, man is led from a natural state into a spiritual state, and this under every period of his natural life.

Verses 6, 7. Even to the period immediately preceding a full reception of good and truth.

Verses 8, 9. On which occasion he is gifted with all the joys, delights, and blessednesses arising from that reception.

Verses 10, 11, 12. But this recompense does not satisfy those who in their works have sought to establish their own merits, therefore they reject the Divine Good, because its joys are imparted to others as well as to themselves.

Verses 13, 14. When yet they ought rather to be more satisfied with that good, from the consideration of its impartiality and universality, and of its willingness to impart its joys to all.

Verse 15. Since the Divine Good and the Truth thence derived must needs act in the best manner, and to suppose otherwise is to change good into evil, and truth into the false.

Verse 16. Which all do who place merit in their works, and therefore not they who know the truth, but they who love its good, and ascribe thereby all merit to the Lord, are accepted of Him.

Verses 17, 18, 19. That in the church where mere falsities of doctrine and evils of life have rule, Divine Truth will be blasphemed, its truth perverted, and its good destroyed; nevertheless the Humanity of the Lord will attain to plenary glorification.

Verses 20, 21. That they of the church, who are principled in charity, and in the good of charity, supplicate eternal confirmation in those principles from the Divine Being.

Verses 22, 23. And are instructed for this purpose, that they ought to prepare themselves to endure temptations, that they may thereby be purified from evils and falsities, since none can be confirmed in heavenly good, but such as receive the above preparation from the Supreme Good.

Verses 24, 25. For they who are unprepared, reject heavenly good, seeking to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, like those who are uninstructed in the nature of heavenly life.

Verses 26, 27, 28. Whereas they ought rather to make themselves the least, since heavenly life consists in serving others from love, or in doing good for the sake of good, after the Lord's example.

Verse 29, to the end of the chapter.Who out of His Divine Mercy communicates spiritual understanding to those who are ignorant of truth.

Verse 30. If they ask it of Him out of the pure love of truth.

Verse 31. And are the more urgent to receive, in proportion as they meet with opposition to their desires.

Verses 32, 33. And besides explore diligently the end or intention they have in view, when they seek the knowledge of the truth.

Verse 34. For in such case their understandings receive light by communication with the Lord's Divine Humanity, and are elevated into the sphere of heavenly wisdom which they obey.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1069, 2788, 8002, 9139

Apocalypse Revealed 463

True Christian Religion 462, 708


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 194, 919

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Ecclesiastes 4:4

Word/Phrase Explanations

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

penny
A penny,' as in Revelation 6, signifies something so small that it is barely anything.

hour
The Writings tell us that time and space are aspects of the physical world, but do not exist as we know them in the spiritual...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

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.


 Joy, Sadness, and Joy
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Laborers in the Vineyard
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 No Thought Of Reward
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Overview of Five Parables of Heaven Levels A, B, C Ages 3-14
Overview of the Youth Journey Program Five Parables of Heaven featuring the parables of the Sower, Pearl of Great Price, Wise and Foolish Virgins, Workers in the Vineyard and The Great Supper. For ages 3-14, Levels A, B and C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 The First Shall Be Last
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Sense of Touch
Touch is an important aspect of relationships with others. When we touch another person we should keep in mind what's best for others as well as what's best for ourselves.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


Translate: