Saturday, July 6, 2013

Jonah -- Introduction

Jonah Unlike the other prophetic books, Jonah takes the form of a story. The only other reference to a prophet Jonah is in 2 Kings 14:25. If this is the same Jonah as the central character in the book of Jonah, then it may have been written in the 7th century BC. Some Biblical scholars date it in the 5th Century. The book of Jonah is viewed by many as an extended parable that carries a key message: God’s concern extends beyond Israel to the whole world. This theological concept was not fully developed in ancient Israel and would have been somewhat unique in either the 7th or the 5th Century. Tradition identifies the prophet Jonah and the main character in the book as the author, but many places in the text itself would suggest a writer after Jonah’s time; possibly the book endured some editorial revisions after it was written.

Jonah can be outlined as follows:

·         Jonah 1:1-16                Jonah’s flight by ship
·         Jonah 1:17-2:10           In the belly of the fish
·         Jonah 3:1-10                The conversion of Nineveh
·         Jonah 4:1-11                Jonah’s conversation with God

Key learning: God’s concern extends beyond Israel to the whole world.

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