Sunday, September 5, 2010

Two Things I Didn't Know About Jonah

So, among the interesting odds and ends that continue to turn up during my reading through the Bible is the discovery (new to me, anyway), that the prophet Jonah does not just appear in the Book of Jonah but also makes a passing appearance in the second book of Kings, where it is said of King Jeroboam that "He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher (2nd Kings 14.25).

At first I thought this might well be another Jonah -- there are certainly many people in the Bible who share the same name, such as all the Marys and Josephs of the New Testament -- but checking the opening line of the Book of Jonah shows it's definitely the same guy: "Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai . . ." (Jonah 1.1). There's not a lot of cross-referencing between the later parts of the Old Testament, so this reference took me a bit by surprise. A nice little detail to know about, and something I missed during the previous time I read all the way through the Bible (where I didn't read the books in order but skipped around a good deal*).

The second was a piece of Jewish legendry I came across,** recounting that there was an old tradition that Jonah is the boy Elijah the prophet raised from the dead, the widow's son (cf. 1st Kings 17.17-24). This is just a tradition, like the idea that Mary Magdalen might be the woman in the 'cast the first stone' story, but it's an intriguing one, I thought.


current audiobook: The Book of Esther

*also, that time I did the chapter-a-night approach and took about two and a half years to read the whole thing, by which time my memory for the details of some of the parts I'd read earlier on had somewhat faded.

**in wikipedia, 'the source of all knowledge'

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