14 February, 2017
Search The Scriptures —Study 1 — Jonah: 1 and 2
Study 1 From the Book of Jonah is: Jonah 1 and 2
The key to Jonah’s flight is found in 4:2. He feared the tenderness of God. If he went to Nineveh as commanded, Nineveh might repent, and be spared (cf. Je. 18:8) to become later the destroyer of Israel. If he did not go, God’s judgment would fall upon Nineveh, and Israel would be saved.
1. ‘But Jonah’ (verse 3); ‘But the Lord’ (verse 4). Cf. Acts 11:8, 9 (where the context also concerns Gentiles). Of what truth had Jonah lost sight? Cf. 1 Tim. 2:4. How did the Lord retain control of the situation? With 1:7b cf. Pr. 16:33, and notice ‘appointed’ in 1:17.
2. Jonah (like Adam and Eve, Gn. 3:8-10) tried to escape from the presence of the Lord. (1:3, 10; cf. 2:4). Why was this impossible? In the light of this passage, look up Ps. 139:23, 24 and apply it to yourself.
3. Jonah’s prayer, remarkable for its lack of direct petition, speaks of distress and passes into thanksgiving. What was the fundamental cause of his distress? What caused the transition?
1. 1:3. ‘Flee…from the presence of the Lord’: this amounted to renouncing his vocation, for the prophet stood in the presence of the Lord (cf. 1. Ki.17:1).
2. 1:17. “three days and three nights’: cf. Mt. 12:40. According to Jewish reckoning this may mean one full day with the night before and the night after.
3. 2:7. To the Hebrews, ‘remembering’ could be much more than a bare mental process; he could mean recreating to the imagination the historic deeds of the Lord; the use of the word repays detailed study. With this passage cf. Pss. 77:11, 12; 105:4-6; 143:5.
4. 2:9. The vow was probably some sort of sacrificial thank-offering. Vowing is a biblical practice; but the Old testament counsels against hasty (Pr. 20:25) and empty (Ec. 5:5) vows.