Reviewing the books of the Bible as I read them seemed like a good idea when most of the books were over 20 chapters long. But I’m now into a patch of shorter books. So, in order to not slip too far behind, I present my quick review of Jonah.
Jonah is one of the more famous stories in the Bible. Guy gets asked to do something for God, guy doesn’t want to so legs it. Guy gets thrown overboard and gets eaten by a fish. Guy then gets asked to do the same thing by God and this time he does it. But he still doesn’t want to really.
All a bit fishy
Like the book of Job, scholars enjoy getting published in journals discussing whether this book is historical or a parable; a story with little basis in fact. And as this is a quick review I’m not going to worry too much about it. The point is, when the Bible (both old and new bits) was put together this book was included. So, for those people it was thought important.
No mass conversion of Nineveh
It is often thought that the main reason people think Jonah is a parable is that the idea of a big fish swallowing someone and then throwing them up, all well and good, three days later is a little hard to swallow (sorry). However, the more interesting reason is that there is no reported mass conversion or turning to God of Nineveh. Added to this is the issue that the people of Israel at this time didn’t ‘go in’ for the evangelism of other nations.
A bigger horizon
The story makes it clear to Jonah and therefore to the readers that God cares for other nations and not just his people. Also Jonah gets upset when God has compassion on the people of Nineveh, perhaps this can serve as a message to all who love to condemn and judge today.
Being much shorter and built around an interesting story Jonah is an easier read than many other books I’ve read so far. It is not surprising that it is so well-known. But it is also much more than a story about a big fish.