March 23, 2010
Jonah QA Supplied
Jonah Chapter 1
And the speech of Yehovah was unto Dove [Yonah] son of My-Two-Truths [Amee-tai] to say, 2 “Arise! Walk unto Neen-vay the big city! And call upon her that their bad ascended to my faces!” 3And Dove [Yonah] arose to flee to Tarsheesh from the faces of Yehovah!
And he descended to Yaffo. And he found a ship. She went to Tarsheesh. And he gave her wage. And he descended into her to come with them to Tarsheesh from the faces of Yehovah.
4And Yehovah threw a big wind unto the sea! And a big storm was in the sea! And the ship thought to be broken! 5And the saltees feared! And they screamed, a man unto his gods! And they threw the utensils that are in the ship unto the sea to lighten from upon them. And Dove [Yonah] descended unto the thighs of the wainscoting. And lay down. And he slept.
6And the great-one of the company approached unto him. And he said to him, “What is to thee, sleeper? Arise! Call unto thy gods! Perhaps the gods will gleam to us, and we will not perish!”
7And they said, a man unto his neighbour, “Go-ye! And we have thrown-down lots. And we have known on account of whom this bad is to us!” And they threw-down lots. And the lot fell upon Dove [Yonah].
8And they said unto him, “Tell to us, na, via what—for whom this bad is to us. What is thine errand? And from where wilt thou come? What is thy land? And where from this—a people—art thou?” 9And he said unto them, “I am Hebrew. And I fear Yehovah Gods of the heavens Who made the sea and the dry!” 10And the men feared a big fear!
And they said unto him, “What is this thou hast done?” For the men knew that he fled from the faces of Yehovah, because he told to them. 11And they said unto him, “What will we do to thee, and the sea has calmed from upon us?” For the sea is walking and tempestuous. 12And he said unto them, “Lift ye me, and throw me unto the sea. And the sea has calmed from upon you. For I know that this big tempest is upon you on account of me!”
13And the men dug to return unto the dry. And they were not able. For the sea is walking and tempestuous upon them. 14And they called unto Yehovah! And they said, “Oh, Yehovah! We, na, will not perish via the being of this man! And do not give innocent blood upon us! For Thou, Yehovah, Thou hast done just as Thou hast desired!”
15And they lifted Dove [Yonah]. And they threw him unto the sea. And the sea stood from his rage! 16And the men feared Yehovah a big fear! And they sacrificed a sacrifice to Yehovah. And they vowed vows.
I. Walking Orders (verses 1-3)
Yehovah told Yonah the son of Ameetai to arise and walk unto the big city of Nineveh. He must loudly call upon the city that the bad of its citizens ascended to Yehovah’s faces. Upon hearing this, Yonah arose to flee to Tarshish which is in the opposite direction! He desired to get away from the faces of Yehovah.
1. What does Yonah mean? It means dove, referring to the very gentle bird.
2. If Ameetai means My two truths, to what would these truths refer? Yehovah only has one Truth. I don’t know what the parents of Yonah’s father were thinking when they named him My Two Truths. If the dotting of the Hebrew language is wrong, and his name was really Ameetee, which would mean My Truth, that would make more sense, and it would be spelled the same. Then, Yonah would be Dove, son of My Truth. That would describe a gentle person who is a son of Messiah, Who is the Truth.
3. How far was Nineveh from Israel? It was and is about 750 miles!
4. Why did Yehovah desire Yonah to walk to the big city of Nineveh instead of riding? The text doesn’t tell why. I propose that Yonah stayed as a guest of folks on the way, and could speak to guests as a prophet of Yehovah. Walking would mean more stops and more opportunities.
5. How long would a journey of this distance take by foot if a person can walk 25 miles in a day, staying as a guest at each stop for one day? 25 goes into 750 30 times. If Yonah stayed one day as a guest at each place that he stopped, it would double the time to 60 days: two full months!
6. Why was the size of Nineveh so unusual back then? Large cities require services that were just not easily done. For examples,
- There must be a regular and good food supply for folks living in the densely populated parts of the city, since folks there won’t be able to grow all their own food.
- There must be a good way to transport the food to the inhabitants.
- There must be good sewage systems, or else folks will begin to get sick.
- Water supplies must be kept separate from the sewage systems, or else folks will die.
- There must be good law enforcement with a very strong leader (like a king), or else violence and lawlessness will grow rapidly. Good law enforcement usually means that folks know each other (so that they will know if a stranger comes who might rob people and do violence).
- There must be a uniform view of religion and cultures, or else anger will rise as folks disagree, and violence will result.
There are many other requirements that would have made a very large city impossible in most parts of the world. The Nineveh region must have been very fertile, giving excellent crops in order to support such a large city.
7. To what does bad refer in, “And call upon her that their bad ascended to my faces”? It refers to harm, destruction, the results of violence, the results of mistreatment of others, etc. The word never refers directly to sin, but instead to what sin produces: ruin.
8. Why did Yehovah say that their bad ascended to His faces? What does that mean? This describes bad as if it is like smoke that ascends. It comes up into Yehovah’s faces, getting into His eyes and into His nostrils, and it greatly angers Him.
9. Why did Yonah arise to flee to Tarshish, which is in the opposite direction? What did he have against obeying Yehovah? Yonah was a prophet. As a prophet, he knew the speeches of Yehovah against Israel and Israel’s sins. He knew that Nineveh would later attack Israel, and Yehovah would give victory to Nineveh. He knew that the Ninevite warriors were very cruel, because he had heard of how the Ninevite warriors enjoyed being cruel to those they captured. He knew that doing anything to save Nineveh from destruction would be being a traitor against Israel! It would be like saving Nazi Germany from destruction knowing what the Nazis would do to the Jews! Thus, Yonah had no intention of obeying these orders. He would much rather die than help the worst enemies of Israel.
10. Why does the text read, “And Yonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the faces of Yehovah” instead of “And Yonah arose to flee to Tarshish from Yehovah”? Yehovah must have appeared to Yonah. Yonah desired to get away from Yehovah and His faces. The only way he figured to do this was to leave Israel and become part of other peoples.
11. Where is Tarshish? I don’t know the exact location. Some have proposed that it was in Spain! That would be in the opposite direction from Nineveh!
II. Going on a Cruise (verse 3)
Yonah went down to Yaffo in Israel. He found and boarded a ship going to Tarshish; he paid the passenger fare. He went below deck to travel with them to Tarshish from the faces of Yehovah.
1. Where is Yaffo? Find Joppa on the seacoast in the map below (Copyright Access Foundation, Zaine Ridling, Ph.D. Editor):
It is called Yaffo in Hebrew.
2. What does Yaffo mean? It means beautiful. It is really a pretty place with orange groves. (Yaffo oranges are sometimes available in our grocery stores!)
3. What does “and he gave her wage” mean? This means that he paid the fare for the voyage.
4. Who is her in, “And he descended into her”? She is the ship!
5. Identify them in, “…to come with them to Tarshish…”: They are the sailors.
6. Did Yonah really think that he could escape from the faces of Yehovah? Yonah was willing to bet the price of the voyage to find out!
III. The Violent Storm (verses 4-5)
Yehovah threw a big wind unto the sea! That was a terrific storm. Those in the ship thought it would be broken. The saltees (sailors) feared. Each saltee screamed to his own gods.
They then started throwing items overboard in order to lighten the ship.
Yonah went down into the hold of the ship, into the wainscoting. He lay down and went to sleep!
1. Why did Yehovah throw a big wind unto the sea? Yehovah’s purpose was to stop the ship from progressing to Tarshish as long as Yonah was onboard.
2. Why did He add a big storm? Yehovah also desired to cause the sailors much fear. Storms were among their worst fears, since many sailors before them had died in storms.
3. Whenever there are big winds and storms at sea, does Yehovah cause them? Yehovah rarely does this type of action. Big winds and storms can be part of natural weather cycles and seasons. There are angels who are in charge of the four great winds on the planet who also can affect the winds:
Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth so that the wind will not blow on the earth nor on the sea nor on any tree.
These angels only can act in unusual ways when they have commands or permission to do so.
4. What does “the ship thought to be broken” mean? This means that the crew of the ship thought that the ship would be destroyed by the waves tearing the ship into pieces.
5. What is a saltee? This is a sailor who sails the oceans. Since the oceans are salt water, the sailors were called saltees.
6. How many different gods did the sailors use? Each sailor had his own god or gods, though some sailors would use the same gods. They felt that they needed their gods in times of distress and great danger. A few sailors might have been without gods, but when the crisis of death by drowning seemed very possible, even godless sailors usually called out to the gods.
7. Why did the sailors scream? Were they that easily made frightened? They were screaming, but not out of fear as in a scary movie; they were screaming because of the roaring of the winds and the waves! They could not be heard without screaming! Thus, they screamed to their gods, hoping their gods would hear and hearken to them.
8. What are utensils? They are pieces of equipment. The sailors threw utensils (that they were transporting) into the sea to lighten the ship so that it might remain afloat.
9. What is wainscoting? It is like paneling. It is wood that makes rooms more comfortable and practical. In a ship, it would be the wood paneling that covers the ribs, walls and support beams in the hull of the ship so that the hold area (the lower area) can be used for storing goods in a practical way.
10. What are the thighs of the wainscoting? I propose that these thighs are where the ribs of the hull are located. If this is correct, Yonah went behind the wainscoting (paneling) to areas where he could be out of the way, and perhaps not be found.
11. Why did Yonah descend unto the thighs of the wainscoting to lie down and to sleep? Yonah was depressed! Folks who are depressed are often very tired or sleepy. He knew what he was doing, and he knew he was the cause of the problems. He didn’t want to face the problems with the sailors. He just wanted to sleep.
12. How could he sleep though this motion and danger? As I proposed above, he was depressed. That made sleep come easily to him.
IV. Join Us in Prayer! (verse 6)
The captain over the sailors approached Yonah. He said to him, “What is to thee, sleeper? Arise! Call unto thy gods! Perhaps the gods will gleam at us, and we will not perish!”
1. Who is the great one of the company? He is the captain of the ship, since the company is the one to whom the rest are tied (as with a rope), and since he is also the great one of the rope. (The Hebrew word khevel can mean a cord or rope, and can also mean a band or company where band refers to a group held together by some purpose.)
2. How did the great one of the company find Yonah? He went looking for this passenger who disappeared during the storm! The captain was responsible to not lose anyone on the ship if at all possible. Also, he wanted Yonah to also call unto his gods!
3. What gods did the captain think that Yonah had? He thought Yonah had gods just like the sailors and he had: personal gods. (Be wary of the god/gods of anyone who has a personal god, because that god/those gods will be an idol/idols.)
4. What does “gleam to us” mean? This means to shine light to us—give recognize us and give us the reason for this. It is like what one does who knows someone else is in the dark, and turns on a flashlight (torch) for the person.
5. If the gods will gleam on them, according to the captain, what will happen? They will not perish.
V. Lots of Dice (verse 7)
Each man on board spoke to others about throwing dice to find out who is responsible for this bad situation. They did so; the dice indicated that Yonah was responsible.
1. What are lots in the Bible? They are dice—they are used to figure out the will of the gods/Gods (the false gods or the real and living Gods Yehovah).
2. Where lots good indicators of the will of the gods or of Yehovah?
Proverbs 16:33 He casts the lot into a bosom. And all his justice is from Yehovah!
This text refers to a person during the Tribulation. Yehovah has often guided the lot before this time. For example, the apostles (missionaries) of Yehovah used it to determine who would replace Judas Iscariot after he committed suicide:
Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Yehovah commanded Moshe to divide the Land of Israel by lot when the Israelis finally went into the land:
Numbers 26:55 And the land shall be divided by lot.
Those who used false gods also used the lot to determine the will of the gods, and Yehovah sometimes guided those lots so that Yehovah’s desire would be done by idolaters. (This will occur in this text we are considering.)
3. The sailors seemed certain that they could determine who was responsible for “this bad” being to them by casing lots. Were they right to be so certain? They were idolaters, and they were superstitious. Yet, they were right in this case, since Yehovah would make certain that the lot pointed out the right person! This will show the careful reader that Yehovah sometimes uses tools of paganism (tools of beliefs in false gods) to guide pagan idolaters to do Yehovah’s will!
4. How could they throw down lots when the winds were tossing the ship so hard, that it was about to be broken in pieces? They went to a place where the lots wouldn’t be lost or washed overboard, like down in the ship’s hold, and they threw them there.
5. By what process did they use the dice to determine that Yonah was the one? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell what the process was. (If the Bible had shown the process, folks would read this text and would copy the process to find the supposed will of God for their own lives! That would be just like how many use the rest of the Bible for the same purpose, and this is also idolatry! The Bible’s purpose isn’t to teach idolatry, but rather Truth.)
VI. The Interrogation and Fear (verses 8-10)
The men said to Yonah, “Tell to us, na, via what—for whom this bad is to us? What is thine errand? And from where wilt thou come? What is thy land? And where from this—a people—art thou?” His response was, “I am Hebrew. And I fear Yehovah Gods of the heavens Who made the sea and the dry!” This caused the men to greatly fear.
1. What does na mean in Hebrew? It is a little word (classified in grammar as a particle—a word that only has one form) that indicates that the speaker is speaking without anger. These men were shouting very loud because of the winds and the terrible noise. They didn’t want Yonah to think that they were angry with him, so they used the word na.
2. Why does the sentence, “Tell to us, na, via what—for whom this bad is to us” seem so broken up? It is broken up because the men were speaking very fast, and they had to have all the information right away! Several of them were speaking at the same time! They were firing questions at Yonah!
3. What did they mean by, “Tell to us, na, via what…”? They were speaking of the bad (the bad situation), and by whose hand or by what reason this bad was coming against them and the ship.
4. What did they mean by, “Tell to us for whom this bad is to us”? They desired to know who was responsible for this terrible situation.
5. What did they mean by, “What is thine errand?” They meant something like this: “Where are you going, and for what purpose are you going there?”
6. What did they mean by, “And from where wilt thou come? What is thy land?” They figured that they could learn much by finding out the land from which this passenger (Yonah) had come. A land tends to have its own set of gods!
7. What did they mean by, “And where from this—a people—art thou?” This refers to the people, not the land. (I can tell because the word people is masculine singular, the word land is feminine singular, and the word this is masculine singular. It must refer to something that is masculine singular; people is masculine singular.) They were asking Yonah the location of the people from which he came. They figured they could learn why the gods are so angry with Yonah if they knew this information.
8. Which of their questions did Yonah answer when he said, “I am a Hebrew”? He was answering the questions about the people from which he came and the land from which he came.
9. What does being a Hebrew mean? It means that the person is from Avraham, Isaac and Jacob (though it originally meant that the person was from one of Avraham’s ancestors named Ever). Folks knew what a Hebrew was in the days of Yonah. It was like saying, “I am a Jew” or “I am an Israeli.”
10. Which of their questions was Yonah answering when he said, “And I fear Yehovah Gods of the heavens Who made the sea and the dry”? He was indirectly answering, “Tell to us, na, via what—for whom this bad is to us.”
11. Why did the men fear a big fear when they heard Yonah’s answer? Yonah told them more than just which God he feared. The text next states, “For the men knew that he fled from the faces of Yehovah, because he told to them.” That was the information that caused them to greatly fear! (A reader must sometimes read ahead to get answers to questions!)
VII. The Solution (verses 10-12)
Now the men wanted to know what Yonah had done to bring this wrath on them all. Yonah had told them that he fled from the faces of Yehovah. They therefore asked the question, “What will we do to thee, and the sea has calmed from upon us?” The sea kept on walking—with huge waves—and was tempestuous—very violent.
Yonah gave them the steps: “Lift ye me, and throw me unto the sea. And the sea has calmed from upon you. For I know that this big tempest is upon you on account of me!”
1. What did they mean by, “What is this thou hast done?” They wanted to know if Yonah understood what he was causing: that he was causing all the sailors to be killed because he ran from the faces of Yehovah! Yonah was getting them all killed because of this!
2. Why did Yonah tell the men that he fled from the faces of Yehovah? He had no reason to hide this information, and he had no reason to lie. He knew he was endangering them all, and Yonah feared Yehovah. Therefore, he told the truth to these innocent idolaters.
3. What were they asking Yonah when they asked, “What will we do to thee, and the sea has calmed from upon us?” They were asking Yonah to tell them what to do to Yonah in order to stop the fury of this Yehovah the Gods of the heavens Who made the sea and the dry! They were asking Yonah for the solution to the problem that Yonah had caused!
4. What does “For the sea is walking and tempestuous” mean? The sea is walking means that the waves are tall and very active, moving in a particular direction. The sea is tempestuous means that it is dangerously active from storms and winds.
5. Who said, “For the sea is walking and tempestuous”? I didn’t put this into the quotes because I couldn’t tell whether the Spirit of God, Who is the narrator, was saying this, or whether the sailors were saying this. I just know that it is true.
6. Why did Yonah say, “Lift ye me, and throw me unto the sea. And the sea has calmed from upon you”? Was he trying to get himself killed? Yonah did not mind dying (rather than doing the errand that Yehovah assigned to him), and he didn’t want the sailors to die. They were trying very hard to keep themselves and him alive. He therefore candidly (openly) told them the solution to the problem.
7. How did Yonah know that this would calm the sea? Yonah was a prophet! He knew very well that Yehovah was doing all this on account of him, and he also had the very words of Yehovah regarding this situation. He said, “For I know that this big tempest is upon you on account of me!”
8. Why would Yehovah sink a ship, kill all the crew, and cause great loss of the items being shipped just because one person isn’t doing what He wants? Is this fair? First, Yehovah almost never deals in fairness! If He had been fair, humans would have been destroyed long ago! Instead, He often deals in mercy, and He always deals with Grace—that is, with the greatest zeal to do the very best for those who do right, and to bring bad upon those who insist on doing wrong after giving them time to turn. Never view the actions of God from the angle of fairness. Yehovah is far better than that.
Yehovah hasn’t sunk the ship yet, and He hasn’t killed all the crew. The great loss of items being shipped can always occur from a storm at sea, and that price will be very small compared to the good results that will soon occur in this true story. Yehovah will sometimes change entire governments just for the sake and benefit of one person. He does good.
VIII. The Attempt and the Plea (verses 13-14)
The men dug with their oars, pulling as hard as they could to get to dry land. They could not. The Ship didn’t move toward land. The sea walked with huge waves, and the violent winds kept them out at sea.
The men then called to Yehovah. The started with, “Oh, Yehovah! We, na, will not perish via the being of this man!” They didn’t want to die because of what Yonah had done.
They then said, “And do not give innocent blood upon us!” They didn’t want to be held responsible for killing Yonah.
They reminded Yehovah, “For Thou, Yehovah, Thou hast done just as Thou hast desired!”
1. What did they dig? Rowing very hard is like digging into the waters!
2. What does “to return unto the dry” mean? The dry refers to the dry land. They were trying to get to shore!
3. Why weren’t they able (to return to shore)? Yehovah made certain that the winds blew the ship from the land and kept them in danger in order for them to be forced to do what they must do next.
4. Why does the text repeat, “For the sea is walking and tempestuous upon them”? Whenever the Bible repeats something, it tells the reader that this was very important. The sea is fighting against them by walking its waves in the opposite direction from land and in its attacks against the ship! The sea is obeying Yehovah.
5. Why did the sailors call to Yehovah? Didn’t they still have their own gods? Their own gods weren’t working. The Gods of Yonah, Yehovah, was the cause! (Gods is pluralbecause Yehovah is the God of the sea, the God of the land, the God of … In other words, He is all the true Gods in one!) Calling out to Yehovah made sense.
6. What did the sailors mean by, “Oh, Yehovah! We, na, will not perish via the being of this man”? This is the wording for the request in Hebrew. We might say, “Oh Yehovah, don’t let us perish because of the life of this man,” or, “Don’t kill us because this man did wrong,” but the sailors showed much more respect in their answer. “We will not perish” is a request. “…via the being of this man” isn’t accusing Yonah, but it is pointing out him and his physical being as the cause of the problem.
7. What did they mean by, “And do not give innocent blood upon us”? We wouldn’t use the word give in this way; we might say, “And don’t hold us responsible for killing an innocent man.” They knew they had to kill Yonah by throwing him overboard; yet, they knew that this was a very wrong act. If they didn’t do it, however, all would die. It was a terrible dilemma for these sailors. They were asking to not be held accountable for what they were about to do.
8. What where they saying when they said, “For Thou, Yehovah, Thou hast done just as Thou hast desired”? They were saying that Yehovah did exactly what He wanted to do, and throwing Yonah overboard was His will, not their will.
IX. Man Overboard! (verses 15-16)
The sailors lifted Yonah, and they threw him unto the sea! The sea immediately stopped raging! The waters became calm.
The men feared Yehovah with a very big fear. They sacrificed a sacrifice to Yehovah on the ship, and they vowed vows to Yehovah.
1. What does “And the sea stood from his rage” mean? That means that the sea stopped being angry, and became calm.
2. Was the sea truly enraged? The sea was obeying orders from Yehovah! Yehovah had told the winds and the sea to attack that ship! The sea was like an angry dog being told to attack. Once Yonah was thrown overboard, the sea’s work was finished.
3. Does the sea really think and act like a person? If the sea can obey, it can be like a person! Lands can make decisions and do things; that is why the location, Mount Zion, and Yehovah speak together (see Isaiah 49:14—“And Zion said, ‘Yehovah has forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me!’”). If lands can, the sea can also! Yehovah has made these so that they interact with the creatures in them, and they interact with man. The very soil outside is alive, and you can work it and beautify it. (The soil likes that.)
4. Why did the men fear Yehovah with a big fear? The immediate calming of the sea was more frightening than the storm! They now knew that Yehovah truly is the God of the sea in a way that they had never seen any of their own gods perform! Who is this God who can control the sea with such power?
5. How did they do a sacrifice to Yehovah when they were onboard the ship? The deck was quite wet, and the men knew how to safely cook an animal on the ship. They slaughtered a lamb, a goat, or some animal that was on the ship and being transported with them, and they did a sacrifice right there on the deck!
6. What is the purpose of doing a sacrifice? A sacrifice is always a picture of something else. It isn’t about the animal; it is showing something and giving something to a god or to God. The animal represents someone or a group that is far more important than the animal, and eating the animal is identifying with that more important person or group.
The text doesn’t tell me why they did a sacrifice to Yehovah. I can suspect that it was a sacrifice for their own sins. The vows (next) give more information.
7. What did they vow, and why did they vow? The text doesn’t say what they individually vowed, but each sailor made his own vows to Yehovah. They each connected themselves to Yehovah by their vows.
8. What is a vow? It is much more than a promise in this way: it asks for a god or God to watch and see that the vow will be done. If the person doesn’t do the vow, the person is asking the god or God to judge the person guilty for lying to the god or to God! Thus, a vow involves a god or the True God in the promise.
9. Does this mean that the sailors became fearers of Yehovah, including obtaining salvation from their sins and getting everlasting life? The sailors whose faith didn’t fail over time indeed did become saved, and do have everlasting life! When I mentioned above that throwing items overboard was a small price to pay for what happened next, I am referring to the salvation of some of these men (if not all of them). Yonah ran the other way, and the result was the salvation of at least some of these sailors!
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Original page March 2010 | Updated December 7, 2020