Wicked Prophet, Righteous Heathens
The following paper was prepared for Dr. Steven McKinion’s Hermeneutics class, with the constraint that it be between 600 and 625 words.
The meaning of the text
Jonah spends the chapter in self-inflicted misery: he hates that Yahweh relented from the promised disaster against Nineveh. He never repents; even after Yahweh provides him an illustration with a pitiable plant, Jonah holds onto his anger rather than praise God for his goodness. This refusal is all the more striking in light of Jonah’s clear knowledge of the character of Yahweh—knowledge that seems to have driven all his actions throughout the book, as he explains in verse 2: he knew that God would forgive and relent, and wanted no part of it.
Righteousness is not a matter of being an Israelite or even a prophet, but in repenting and obeying Yahweh. Read on, intrepid explorer →