Wenstrom Bible Ministries Marion, Iowa Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom www.wenstrom.org. Wednesday November 3, 2010 Jonah: Jonah 3:1-3a-The Lord Commands Jonah A Second Time To Go Immediately To Nineveh To Proclaim A Message And The Prophet Obeys Lesson # 36.
Wednesday November 3, 2010Jonah: Jonah 3:1-3a-The Lord Commands Jonah A Second Time To Go Immediately To Nineveh To Proclaim A Message And The Prophet ObeysLesson # 36
This evening we will study the fourth scene in the book of Jonah that appears in Jonah 3:1-3a, which records the Lord commanding Jonah a second time to go immediately to Nineveh in order to proclaim a message from Him to the Ninevites and this time the prophet obeys.
Jonah 3:1, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 ‘Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.’
6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
7 He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.
8 But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.
10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (NASU)
Jonah 1:1-3a contains the fourth scene in the book of Jonah and transitions to a new scene that presents a new subject, namely the Lord recomissions Jonah to go to Nineveh.
This scene is transitional since in the previous scene we have Jonah either at sea, on board the ship or inside the stomach of the great fish but in the fourth scene, the prophet is back on dry land.
This scene, which is brief, is almost identical to the wording that appears in the opening scene, 1:1-3 with only the phrase בן אמתי “son of Amittai” in 1:1 being replaced with שׁנית “a second time” in 3:1.
Rather, we have simple reiteration of the command by the Lord, which speaks of His grace policy towards Jonah in that though he was worthy of death for disobeying the Lord, the Lord gives him a second chance, which teaches us that God is a God of the second chance.
Now, this fourth scene does not say whether Jonah went back to Jerusalem or his hometown, Gath-Hepher and wait for the Lord to recomission him.
The text simply says that the Lord communicated a message to Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh immediately and proclaim a message that the Lord will give him when he arrives in that great city.
This is indicated by the statements in Jonah 3:3-4, which record Jonah obeying the Lord’s command to go to Nineveh and pronounce judgment against it.
However, Jonah has not repented concerning his hateful attitude towards the Ninevites as indicated by the statements he makes to the Lord as recorded in Jonah 4:2-3.
The expression “the word of the Lord came to Jonah” emphasizes with the reader that Jonah received divine authority to proclaim a message of judgment against the city of Nineveh.
God chose to speak to His prophets in various ways whether through dreams or direct communication or through a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:9-13) or through a whirlwind (Job 38) or earthquake.
It also speaks of God’s grace and mercy, which flows from His attribute of love since it indicates that the prophet is getting a second chance.
“Arise, go” is the second person masculine singular qal active imperative form of the verb qum (קוּם) (koom), “arise” and the second person masculine singular qal active imperative form of the verb halak (הָלַך) (haw-lak), “go.”
Nineveh was one of the capitals of the Assyrian Empire and was located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River in northeastern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, in the area of the city of Mosul).
After Jonah’s day it was made the capital of Assyria by Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.), the successor of Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) who destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Ancient Greek and Roman writers state that it was in the shape of a trapezium and was the largest city in the world in that day, which is confirmed by modern archaeological excavations.
The New American Commentary writes, “According to the usual manner of transport (camel or donkey caravan), it would have taken approximately one month to traverse this distance. Going by foot would have taken even longer.” (The New American Commentary: Amos, Obadiah, Jonah; page 256)
Jonah 3:1, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 ‘Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.’”
“The great city” is composed of the articular feminine singular form of the noun îr (עִיר) (aw-yar), “the city” and the articular feminine singular form of the adjective gadhol (גָּדֹול) (ga-dol), “great.”
As was the case in Jonah 1:2, the adjective gadhol in 3:2 emphasizes the size of the city of Nineveh highlighting its importance so that just as is the size of the city, so is the magnitude of its wickedness (The JPS Bible Commentary: Jonah, page 4).
“Proclaim to it” is composed of the second person masculine singular qal active imperative form of the verb qārāʾ (קָרָא) (kaw-raw), “cry” and the preposition ʾěl (אַל) (ale), “to” and the third person feminine singular pronomial suffix hî(ʾ) (הִיא) (hoo), “it.”
The verb qārāʾ means “to announce” and unlike in 1:2 when the word was used with the preposition ’al (עַל), “against,” this time it is used here with the preposition ʾěl (אַל) (ale), “to,” which is a marker of persons benefited by an event.
The latter suggests that this message will be “for the benefit of” the Ninevites since it will lead to their believing in God and repenting of their wicked conduct.
So the verb qārāʾ means “to announce,” i.e. to make a public announcement of an impending event that will take place in Nineveh, namely its destruction.
“The proclamation” is composed of the object marker ʾēṯ (אֵת) (oath) and the articular feminine singular form of the noun qerî∙ʾā(h) (קְרִיאָה) (ker-ee-aw), which means “proclamation,” i.e. an official communication which makes appeals for persons. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament)
“And” is again the conjunction wa (וָ) (wa), which is joining the verb qum (קוּם) (koom), “rose up” with the second person masculine singular qal active imperative form of the verb halak (הָלַך) (haw-lak), “went” to form a verbal hendiadys.
“According to the word of the Lord” indicates that Jonah went immediately to Nineveh, which corresponds to the message communicating to him by the Lord.