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Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 13:22:16 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Sign from the fish's belly


         Well, there is a lot more going on in Jonah than appears to modern 
readers, because we don't read as ancient writers wrote. The sea is the 
gentiles, and the fish is a gentile nation. Israel is in a few years going 
to be tossed into the gentile sea and swallowed by the big fish of Assyria. 
While there she will repent and then be cast back up on the land, returning 
from exile. Jonah's mission, actually, is to make Assyria into a place that 
will be more friendly to the Israelites they will conquer and capture in a 
few decades, for there will be some residual respect for Israel's God.
         The gourd plant also signifies Assyria: springing up rapidly 
(under Jonah's preaching), temporarily providing protection for Israel in 
captivity, but destined to collapse, at which  point protection for Israel 
also collapses. God shows the good things that can come to Israel when the 
Gentiles convert, and then rebukes him for his stingy attitude.
         Other literary touches include chapter 1, which shows Jonah 
already down in the sea in the sense of being in "deep sleep" in the hold 
of the ship. When he awakens and comes up,  the sailors listen to him and 
praise Yahweh. This narrative sequence duplicates by anticipation the 
conversion of Assyria after Jonah comes up from "deep sleep" in the sea. 
("Deep sleep" is a specialized noun in Hebrew, used rarely. It means 
         Whether one views the book of Jonah as predictive prophecy or as 
allegory after the fact, the book is an almost incredible literary work. 
Not only are there all the parallels, a few of which I have just mentioned, 
but each chapter is a neat literary unit styled as a complete and very 
elaborate chiasm (ABCDEFGFEDCBA).
         All of which is interesting, but not necessarily relevant at all 
to what Wolfe has done with his brief allusion. Since there are numerous 
aspects to the Jonah story, and what Jesus means by alluding to it, we have 
to try and discern which of these Wolfe intended.



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