Searchfortreasure's Blog

…a Bible student's notes…

What’s in a word……….

Remember the heading: “Paradoxes in the Saga of Jonah?”  Well, my husband informs me that a “paradox” is two doctors!  There are no doctors in Jonah.  So, we went on a word hunt.  One can easily do this on a computer connected to the Internet.          Serious email from my husband: 

Dictionary: par·a·dox   (păr’ə-dŏks) –
  1. A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true: the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.
  2. One exhibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects: “The silence of midnight, to speak truly, though apparently a paradox, rung in my ears” (Mary Shelley).
  3. An assertion that is essentially self-contradictory, though based on a valid deduction from acceptable premises.
  4. A statement contrary to received opinion.

[Latin paradoxum, from Greek paradoxon, from neuter sing. of paradoxos, conflicting with expectation : para-, beyond; see para–1 + doxa, opinion (from dokein, to think).]


So that isn’t the word I want – do I mean “irony?”     Another serious email from my husband:

Dictionary: i·ro·ny   (ī’rə-nē, ī’ər-) – 

  1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
  2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
  3. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See synonyms at wit1.
    1. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland’s copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain).
    2. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.
  • [French ironie, from Old French, from Latin īrōnīa, from Greek eirōneia, feigned ignorance, from eirōn, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say.]


    Nope.  “Irony” is not the word. 

    Brainstorming is next.  Now, putting two brains like ours together to “storm” is a dangerous thing!  Most of the time.  This time?  No lightening, nor enlightening, no thunder – just “duh,” what are these “things” in Jonah that I have noticed?  And, last night, we are talking (as he is painting in our “spare room”), I say, “What I want to do is point out some contrasts and comparisons in Jonah.”  Wouldn’t ya’ know – whew, I finally got the word(s) needed for this title. 

    (Just thought I would let you know that it is not easy to write.  When writing, one must come up with the best, shortest word and I most certainly am not the best at that!  And, I must warn you that my husband has gone to work and I am here, alone, writing.  Take that back – I am not alone!  I will rely on my “Helper.”)

    Comparisons and Contrasts in the Saga of Jonah

    You must read Jonah again.     

     Did you notice:

    – that “great”is used 14 times in this book?  The first chapter has 7 of them (2 in verse 4).  Chapter 2 has none.  Chapter 3 has 4, and chapter 4 contains 3.  They are not all translated “great.”  Find them.  Take note of what is described as “great.”  The root word for the Hebrew, “great,” is:  “A primitive root; properly to twist, that is, to be (causatively make) large.”  Does that definition help you understand God’s use of this word in each case?  (If you have been inclined to study numbers in scripture, “14” is interesting.)

    – that there is a marked contrast in the way the sailors relate to their “own gods” and the way Jonah responds and relates to his One True God?  Jonah ran away from His Lord’s command, and it is not mentioned that he said anything to His God – at this point -just that he “ran away.”  The sailors, when afraid, (note that they have fear – Jonah does not display fear) cry out to his own god and at the same time do all they can to lighten the ship.  They are praying and working.  What is Jonah doing? Sleeping!  The sailors awaken him and in essence say, “we need one more god – yours.”  The pagan captain has concern for his perishing seamen and Jonah is refusing to carry God’s warning to perishing Nineveh.  (You are getting the idea of “comparisons and contrasts – right?)  Keep in mind that verse 10 says that they already knew Jonah was running away from the Lord.  But, in verse 8, they have a gush of questions for their “guest.”  ONE sentence answers their 5 questions: “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of Heaven who made the sea and the land.”     – now, compare that God to your own gods!!     They knew the difference:  They were terrified!!  The sea gets worse, what to do to Jonah to make the sea calm down for us?  Throw Jonah into the sea!  Instead, the men row the best they can back to land.  The sea grows wilder.  THEY CRY OUT TO JONAH’S GOD! – DO NOT LET US DIE FOR TAKING THIS MAN’S LIFE – DO NOT HOLD US ACCOUNTABLE FOR KILLING AN INNOCENT MAN.  “FOR YOU, O LORD HAVE DONE AS YOU PLEASED.”  Obviously, they (nor Jonah) knew that God was preparing a great fish just for this occasion.  They throw Jonah overboard, the sea calms, men greatly fear and offer a sacrifice to the Lord, making vows to him.  They repent.  Jonah is swallowed.  THEN, from inside the great fish Jonah prays to the Lord, his God!  (Compare the prayers from inside a ship to the prayer inside a great fish.)

    – that in 2:10 that the Lord commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land and it did so.  The great fish obeyed the Lord.  Jonah had not.

    – that when Nineveh heard that the Lord would overturn their city, they believed God.  (Compare the sailors response to the Lord.) They repented, turning from their evil ways.

    – that Jonah had rejoiced in his own deliverance from death (reread his prayer in chapter 2.) and then is angry at God’s mercy to Nineveh and wants to die!

    – that God provides a lesson in the fleeting value of the comforts of our earthly existence – vine today, gone tomorrow – compared to the eternal value of repentance. 



    July 6, 2009 - Posted by | Pages from my journal

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