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Old 08-30-2012, 06:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perry335654 View Post
The people of Nineveh were saved despite Jonah's defying of God
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juliet Bravo View Post
Jonah carried out his task. He complained and tried to hide from it, but in the end he did it.
Good posts!

Most people, when they hear of the Book of Jonah (a mere 4 chapters), only remember the whale - or the big fish. It has overshadowed the true point of the story, especially after the imagery of his 3 day stay in the belly of the fish was adopted by Christianity and put in the mouth of Jesus as a typology of his own death and resurrection - his own journey to the Underworld.

In a mere four chapters we are treated to an example of the only real successful prophet in the Hebrew Bible - and an unwilling prophet at that. And his success did not occur with his own people - the Israelites - but with the dreaded Assyrians, that same historical people who filled the Ancient Near East with such terror and violence and were responsible for the annihilation of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and turning the Southern Kingdom of Judah into one of it's vassal-states. Just imagine the emotional impact of a Jew reading this work - knowing that the destruction of Israel could have been averted if YHWH (God - or Allah, according to Muslim tradition) had not changed his Divine Will in the matter. Keep in mind that the book is entirely unhistorical and written many hundreds of years after Assyria actually DID fall (Ninevah was the capital of Assyria for a very short time) - but that's a sidenote for the moment. Imagine how the remaining refugee Israelites would have felt hearing such a work, hearing that the dreaded and hated Assyrians - supposedly entirely deserving of destruction, according to the story - were spared that fate and were spared by a God who was entirely willing to change his mind concerning a non-Israelite people. In a way - it might have been an anti-Nationalist work, intended to demonstrate to the Chosen People that they were not the sole priority of YHWH. There are so many layers in these four short chapters - so many questions of Justice, Nationalism, Prophecy and the ability of God to change his Divine Will.

Is it Justice for God to decree a nation's downfall, and then not follow through with it - simply because they repented? In the book, repentance is never a part of the prophecy that Jonah delivers - it's simply a message of Doom and Gloom within a specific time period.
When Yahweh's command to Jonah the son of Ammitay was, "Set out for Ninevah, that large city, and declare doom upon it; the wickedness of its citizens is obvious to me"...

When once more Yahweh's command to Jonah was, "Set out for Ninevah, that large city, and report to it the message I tell you"...

Hardly had Jonah gone into town a day's journey when he called out, "Forty more days, and Ninevah overturns."
(Jonah 1:1-2; 3:1-2, 4 - AB 24b, J. Sasson - [with vocalized Tettragrammaton inserted])
Many people believed the Will of God to be forever, unchangeable and absolutely unstoppable (though there are instances where he did change his mind - for one, see his wish to destroy the unfaithful Israelites during the Exodus and Moses' ability to avert the disaster by causing God to "repent" of his plans. Moses would proably have been great in hostage situations - stutter or no stutter). He decreed that Ninevah would fall in 40 days, and that's that. No way out of it. But as we know - the Ninevites managed to escape their fate by repenting, fasting, dressing in sackcloth and hilariously making all of their animals do the same thing! The book is certainly humorous and ironic at points, in my opinion. The King proclaimed:
In Ninevah,
On the authority of the king and his counselors:
People and beasts - hered of flock -
must taste nothing,
must not graze
and must not drink water.
They must wrap themselves in sackcloth
- people and beasts alike - and
must appeal to God with fervor.
Each person must forsake his evil conduct and
all must turn away from the
violence they plan against others.
Who can tell? God himself may consider a change of mind and draw away from his anger, so that we may not perish.
(Jonah 3:7-9)
Not only did God "consider a change of mind a draw away from his anger", he went through with it and spared the city. After Jonah throws a royal hissy fit, the theme of animals (and now children: "those who cannot discern between their right and their left") and the plight of the innocent is invoked against Jonah's bloodthirsty prophetic wish to be right and actually ends the book:
Yahweh then said...
"yet I myself am not to have compassion on Ninevah, that large city, where there are more than twelve myriads of human beings, who cannot discern between their right and left hands, and animals galore?"
(Jonah 4:11)
Peta would would be proud of Yahweh, here, thinking of the innocent animals for once in his recorded career (lest we forget about the Flood), and parents everywhere of Yahweh's consideration for the innocent children (lest we forget the many cities he either directly destroyed or their destruction he sanctioned via another party, which included many who could not discern between their right and left hands).

If you remember the original question I asked (Is it Justice for a people deserving of punishment to escape Justice by merely saying "I'm sorry"?), another question now comes up into the light - one that Abraham posed to Yahweh all those years ago on the eve of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction:
Will you really sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?
Perhaps there are fifty innocent within the city,
will you really sweep it away?
Will you not bear with the place because of the fifty innocent that are in its midst?
Heaven forbid for you to do a thing like this,
to deal death to the innocent along with the guilty,
that it should come about: like the innocent, like the guilty,
Heaven forbid for you!
The judge of all the earth - will he not do what is just?
(Genesis 18:23-25, SB, E. Fox)
Is it Just for "the judge of all the earth" to punish a city, if there are innocent people within? The Book of Jonah extends this question to include animals, but the same idea is present there. Perhaps the author of the Book of Job wondered the same thing, considering that Job was supposed to have been innocent (well, according to the Narrator who puts Job's innocence on the very lips of God), when he has Job declare the following, concerning his own status and God's actions concerning Justice:
I am innocent;
I care not for myself;
I loathe my life.
'Tis all the same. Therefore I say,
"Guiltless as well as wicked he destroys."
When the scourge slays suddenly,
He mocks the despair of the innocent.
(Job 9:21-23, AB 15, M. Pope)
Many more interesting questions could be raised concerning the book, but the idea of Divine Justice is an especially interesting one for me. I like to ignore the whale/big fish problem as destracting from the much more important issues of the book. So many people focus on the fish, and forget how endlessly fascinating a small four-chapter book can be. If the fish signifies anything important, it's the Biblical writer's changing view of how far God's power can extend to. What would be interesting is to see the comparison of the Prayer of Jonah with the various Psalms it is said to be related to, if one must absolutely focus on the big fish.

Below: Worst Prophet Ever learns that he needs a two-week notice to quit.

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Old 08-30-2012, 10:43 AM
 
1,860 posts, read 1,529,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
Three days. One would think he would've been pretty ripe and well into the process of being digested by then. Doesn't say which land he was barfed up on, just dry land, presumably somewhere along the Persian Gulf. He was then told to go to Nineveh which is in northern Iraq.

thank you.

Allah ordered the Whale not to digest him .
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:56 AM
 
1,860 posts, read 1,529,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred314X View Post
Jonah 2:1, "And the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."

So before anyone debates how long, at least stop perpetuating the silly mis-translation that there was a whale. There was no whale. Only a big fish.

it was a whale .

the original language of the bible is not english .

the one who translated the original word to big fish did not give the exact translation or the one who recorded the original word was wrong.

the Quran is the final holy book and its original language is Arabic and it has the word الحوت and it means the whale .
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Long Island
1,622 posts, read 1,268,271 times
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The origional language wasn't Arabic either.
Doesn't matter what the Quran says it was.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:36 PM
 
4,981 posts, read 7,758,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truth_teller View Post
thank you.

Allah ordered the Whale not to digest him .
Sure, why not? Seems as reasonable as the wolf that ate Red Riding Hood's grandma, and granny being rescued alive by the woodsman. The story seems pretty clear that Jonah didn't end up as ambergris, but it doesn't take much stretch of the imagination to think he was probably pretty ripe and stinky after being barfed up on dry land. Hmm, makes me wonder how the whale managed to puke him up on to dry land, unless the whale beached itself and died. It's pretty unbelievable that anyone could survive by avoiding being drowned by seawater and smothered from the enveloping tissues of the esophagus while going down the hatch, not to mention smothered by the stomach itself. But if Red Riding Hood's granny could survive after being eaten by a wolf...

Maybe it wasn't actually the belly of a whale or large fish at all that Jonah was trapped in. Perhaps, as Giorgio A. Tsoukalos would probably suggest, it was the interior of an alien submarine that only resembled a large sea creature to ancient people.

http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/...4/yesitis2.gif
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,061,524 times
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Default Watch out for the sub-eating sea monsters!

No. Even better! This!

http://www.thethemeparkguy.com/park/...marine-big.jpg

And just like the bible, there's even an inerrant historical book previously written about it. And just like that bible, it's author was very credible! Jules Verne!

The God-Captain was, if I'm remembering correctly, Kirk Douglas!

Wow! Thanks for the memories, guys. Now of course, I was a gullible little kid back then, and now I can separate the truth from unbelievable & fictional imaginary fables....
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:14 PM
 
4,480 posts, read 4,218,541 times
Reputation: 3986
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonsun;13101015

and do you think that any one can [COLOR=#000080
survive from the belly of the whale with a miracle from [/color]Allah?!
Ahhhhhh.......No.
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:49 PM
 
4,981 posts, read 7,758,835 times
Reputation: 2859
Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
No. Even better! This!

http://www.thethemeparkguy.com/park/...marine-big.jpg

And just like the bible, there's even an inerrant historical book previously written about it. And just like that bible, it's author was very credible! Jules Verne!

The God-Captain was, if I'm remembering correctly, Kirk Douglas!

Wow! Thanks for the memories, guys. Now of course, I was a gullible little kid back then, and now I can separate the truth from unbelievable & fictional imaginary fables....
The only sensible explanation is that Jules Verne was a steampunk alien. Note the alien swimming on the right side.
Is such a thing even possible? YES IT IS!
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:23 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,147,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juliet Bravo View Post
The origional language wasn't Arabic either.
Doesn't matter what the Quran says it was.
That's correct! It was written in Late Biblical Hebrew, with some Aramaisms thrown in for good measure (both points that many scholars use to assign the book a later date than it's historical setting might imply).

While the Quran is interesting in adding to the tradition that we have in it's earliest form in the Hebrew Book of Jonah (it's always fun to read how other religions see older works), it only supersedes it interpretationally in the minds of those who follow Islam - just as later Christian interpretations of the Book were merely a later tradition's interpretation as well. Heck - even Judaism would get into the game with it's own interpretations after the advent of the Common Era.

Quote:
Originally Posted by truth_teller View Post
it was a whale .

the original language of the bible is not english .

the one who translated the original word to big fish did not give the exact translation or the one who recorded the original word was wrong.
You've set up quite a paradox for yourself. Either:
A- The original translator (why you think it's a single person is beyond me, seeing as there were many translations from the original Hebrew) did not give the exact translation of the word (which is not just one word, but two: dāg gādl), or
B- The "one who recorded the original word" (you mean the author??) didn't understand how to write Biblical Hebrew, even though the book is a masterful example of Late Biblical Hebrew.

That's kind of a contradiction when you offer those two suggestions as an either/or proposition (with both propositions having weaknesses, as I pointed out).

Does the exact type of animal matter?
Most people are happy to understand that according to the story, it was a miraculous occurence - so therefore, it's useless to try to ascertain the exact type of "great fish" that swallowed Jonah. It just doesn't matter: whale, flounder, minnow, etc. It was gādl ("great") and therefore we don't have to find a naturally occuring animal that was capable of both swallowing Jonah and enabling him to live within it. Its seems like an exercise in folly, given that it's clearly presented as a miracle and is thus fabulous already.

A little about the animal.
There's a reason why the majority of competent and well-trained translators choose "great/big fish" over the very specific "whale", and that is because literally means dāg gādl (דָּג גָּדוֹל) "great/big fish".

dāg (דָּג ) means "fish" and is found in numerous places in the Hebrew Bible, which tended to not use specific names for different types of fish - so you won't find terms for, say, "minnow", "halibut" or "whale" in the Hebrew Bible; usually just the catchall term dāg. They knew there were differences between fish - of course - but they just didn't bother to go into the specifics. A good example of this can be found in the dietary laws of the Torah, with the only distinguishing features being whether the dāg had scales, no scales or "crept" (like a lungfish). It certainly would be strange for the Israelites to be prohibited from eating scalelsss, non-scaleless or creeping "whales"!! Many other instances of dāg are readily available from any concordance. There are quite a few derivatives from the root dg in Hebrew which mostly have to do with "fishing", "fisherman", etc.

If we wanted a cognate term from another language to help ascertain a more specific reading of the Hebrew, one only needs to look at Ugaritic for the word for "fish": dg (Ugaritic was written without vowels, just as Biblical Hebrew was initially - they were both consonontal scripts). Same word - same meaning. Makes sense, as they were both Semitic Languages, and specifically West-Semitic. Again, it specified a mere "fish" - not a specific "whale".

gādl (גָּדוֹל ) means "great", and is used to denote the size of things. It is used for animals, things, mountains, cities. In fact - occurs quite frequently in the Book of Jonah as a running theme word ("great fish", "great city", etc.). It also has the lovely fortune of being a nice wordplay with the word for fish - the Biblical authors were fond of playing with root sounds: dāg gādl.

So in the end, דָּג גָּדוֹל, means "great fish" - and is not a specific term for "whale". In the book of Tobit, the exact same term is used for a fish that jumped out of the water to bite Tobit's foot, only to end up having it's internal organs used as a cure for blindness and to ward off demons (see Tobit 6:2).

Quote:
Originally Posted by truth_teller View Post
the Quran is the final holy book and its original language is Arabic and it has the word الحوت and it means the whale .
That is your personal opinion (the whole "the Quran is the final holy book") and you'll have to forgive the rest of us if we prefer going to the earliest source we have for the Jonah tale, are part of a different tradition or are not interested in letting traditional interpretations (no matter the source) read the Book of Jonah FOR us. But don't feel bad - starting with the Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Hebrew into Greek, the translators attempted to become more specific with the exact type of "great fish" (the miraculous nature of the story, apparantly, just wasn't good enough for them). The LXX used kētos, as did those writers influenced by the LXX (Josephus, Gospel of Matthew 12:40 and even the Arabic t). The previous information comes from Jack Sasson and his Translation and Commentary in the Anchor Bible series, where he adds
In Greek literature, however, the is an kētos aquatic animal that, as we follow its attestations chronologically, exhibits a progressively larger size, changing from Homer's "seal" to Pliny's "whale".
(Jack Sasson, Anchor Bible 24b: Jonah: A New Translation With Introduction, Commentary, and Interpretations, Doubleday, 1990, p. 149)
I don't read Arabic, so I am unable to tell whether the transliteration given above (t) is how one would pronounce the Arabic word للحوت for "whale". Is this how one would pronounce it, or did t refer to a different Arabic word? Long story short, however, the original Hebrew meant "great/big fish" and was not specific as to it being a "whale". If we admit the miraculous nature of the event, then we must also admit that any speculation of what kind of "great fish" it was is kind of futile in the end, isn't it?
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:28 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,147,309 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
The only sensible explanation is that Jules Verne was a steampunk alien. Note the alien swimming on the right side.
Is such a thing even possible? YES IT IS!
I knew they would come one day.... I just KNEW IT!!!!

Hopefully my unending worship of Daffy Duck (as long as he was under the creative control of the greatest Warner Bros. director of all time: Bob Clampett) will spare me when the invasion begins and everyone else gets quacked!

Just check out how "animated" Daffy is below (one of the greatest cartoons ever made... the other one is a bit too...err.. unnacceptable by today's modern politically correct standards haha) - he never retains the same boring, static form (such as Chuck Jones would become famous for, that lazy b-word) and is always moving in interesting and animated ways. I better stop, before my inner Golden Era Warner Bros. dork takes over....


1946 Great Piggy Bank Robbery, - YouTube
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