The book of Jonah is an adventurous story of a prophet chosen by God to go preach denouncement to a heathen nation. With the exception of stating that Jonah is the son of Amittai, the book itself fails to reveal any background information. Nevertheless, a plorthea of scholars have attempted to provide us with some insight to the, who, when, where, and what of the book. This paper will utilize four scholarly commentaries in a quest to determine the author or authors of the book, the time when it was written, the original audience it spoke to, the occasion, the historical, social and cultural context in which it was written. It will also address the historical, social and cultural context of the book and that of the pericope of 3:1 – 10.
The narrative of Jonah and the Whale, one of the most bizarre records in the Bible, opens with God addressing Jonah, child of Amittai, charging him to lecture contrition to the city of Nineveh.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible YHWH’s chosen people, more popularly known as Jews continually find themselves being driven out of their homeland by a foreign power only to return again. Furthermore, these chosen people struggle to find ways to maintain their identity in a foreign land. As the cycle of being driven out and returning repeats itself, YHWH’s people eventually come to identify themselves as living in diaspora—maintaining their identity and more importantly, their religious identity in foreign lands among foreign powers. Joseph, Esther, and Daniel are figures whose books in the Hebrew Bible are considered Jewish novella—short works of fiction that have a historical setting, but contain inaccurate details—figures. These three chosen people find themselves part of the aforementioned cycle, however, each has a different story to tell. Although these three figures share fundamental similarities in plot reversals and instruction on faithfulness in diaspora, there are more essential dissimilarities in the role that God plays and how each individual identifies himself/herself.
Metzger, B.M. & Coogan, M.D. “The Oxford Companion to the Bible”. Oxford University Press. New York, NY. (1993). P. 806-818.
James L. Mays.Harper Collins Bible Commentary,with society of biblical literature. HarperSanFransico.United states of America.New York. 1988 .985.
"Open Book Newsletter No. 1: The Bible and Western Literature by Peter J. Leithart January, 1991." Biblical Horizons » No. 1: The Bible and Western Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2014.
In addition to using logic, Jonah also uses some emotion. The one emotion that stuck out was the sarcastic tone in the writing, and there are two examples of this. The first was referring to the lunchbox incident, “…but I am sure that the parents would very much like someone equipped to solve some violent problems with violence should the need arise.” The second identified and in a way mocked how even Jesus, Muslims, and some Hebrew prophets saw violence as a way to solve some problems. I believe that he was using this to further prove his point that violence cannot be seen as