Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chapter Four -- Jonah's Anger, God's Mercy

Jacob Steinhardt, "Jonah Feels Pity on the Gourd Plant"

4 But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.

[Finally we begin to learn about Jonah's truancy. He suspected that God's Hesed loving kindness and mercy would trump judgment and that he (Jonah) would be embarrassed.]

3 And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city. 6 The Lord God appointed a bush,

[Jerome translated the word "bush" from the Hebrew as "ivy" which aggravated Augustine who reported that "ivy" nearly caused a riot when it was read at Hippo. He goes on to tell Jerome that the correct translation coming from the Septuegent is "gourd" which anyone should know is correct and that Jerome should but out and leave well enough along.

This a good example of how complicating translation becomes. Jerome is translating from the Hebrew. Augustine is refering to the Greek translation of the Old Testament done in Alexanderia Egypt. Translating simple words get complicated when the flora is different. Imagine the challenge in the South Pacific. JWS ]

and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah Is Reproved

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

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