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volgadon

Jonah the Messiah

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The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

-Matthew 16:1-4.

I don't remember if this was part of last Sunday's lesson or not, but for whatever reason, I was reading this for myself in Sunday School.

some Pharisees join together with some Sadducees, seeking a sign that Jesus is the messiah who will herald in the eschatological age. Signs in the New Testament are an indication that this age is approaching. Jesus rebukes them for their inability to discern the signs, though they seem to do alright with barometry. The only sign that Jesus will show them is that of Jonah. Earlier, in Matthew 12, the sign of Jonah is defined as his three days in the fish. This is symbolic of three days in the grave for the Son of Man.

Seems to me that this sign goes beyond the obvious parallel between death and resurrection. A sign is meant to show the messiah.

There are traces in Jewish literature of Jonah being a messiah. Sometimes he is described in terms that fit the Messiah of David, and in other places, the Messiah of Joseph of Ephraim, who will suffer and die.

When I get home from work, I plan to post more on these traces.

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There are traces in Jewish literature of Jonah being a messiah. Sometimes he is described in terms that fit the Messiah of David, and in other places, the Messiah of Joseph of Ephraim, who will suffer and die.

When I get home from work, I plan to post more on these traces.

Ha'Mashiach ben Yona, or Yona Ha'Mashiach?

Crazy Israeli anyway...

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Ha'Mashiach ben Yona, or Yona Ha'Mashiach?

Crazy Israeli anyway...

Yes, I must be. Your second suggestion works.

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Yes, I must be. Your second suggestion works.

Could it be that these sources are simply viewing Jonah as a figurative "Savior on Mount Zion" (something all temple-attending LDS ought to understand)?

Perhaps there is a deeper meaning why the entire Book of Jonah is read during Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement for all of you Gentile readers).

By the way, we need to plan another Danite meeting this summer.

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By the way, we need to plan another Danite meeting this summer.

I'll bring the pork rinds and Near-Polygyny-Porter©.

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Could it be that these sources are simply viewing Jonah as a figurative "Savior on Mount Zion" (something all temple-attending LDS ought to understand)?

No, he is being described as an actual messiah, or eschatological figure. My computer crashed as I was posting some. =(

Perhaps there is a deeper meaning why the entire Book of Jonah is read during Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement for all of you Gentile readers).

That is part of it.

By the way, we need to plan another Danite meeting this summer.

I'd love that. I promise to post pictures sooner next time.

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There are several traditions about Jonah's messianic role. Seder Eliyahu Rabba 18 relays an account of how the sages were debating Elijah's lineage. Some thought he was from Leah, others from Rachel. Elijah appears and declares himself a Benjaminite. They then try and show from scripture that Elijah was a priest, and thus a descendent of Leah. 1 Kings 17:13 has Elijah instructing the widow to give him bread first. Priests recieved the first portion.

Elijah answers that her son was the Messiah son of Joseph.

Elijah in this account is hinting at his role as forerunner to the messiah.

In the Palestinian Talmud, t. Sukkah 22b, the widow's son is identified as Jonah.

Luke 11:29-30 describes the sign of Jonah as Jonah himself.

There is more, but bedtime beckons.

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I hope everyone will forgive my legthy quotations of Jerome. While the commentary is obviously not a Jewish interpretation, Jerome was well acquainted with Jewish traditions and teachings. Jerome views Jonah as a Christological type, yet his interpretation is not far removed from many Jewish ones.

Therefore I retake up my commentaries with Jonah after such a long absence. Jonah, a type of Saviour, who prefiguring the resurrection of the Lord by spending "three days and three nights in the belly of a whale (Mt. 12:40)", was able to attain the first ardour so that we might deserve the arrival of the Holy Spirit to us. If indeed Jonah is to be translated as 'dove', and if the dove can be seen as the Holy Spirit, then we can also interpret the Dove as signifying the dove's entrance into us. I know that some classical authors, both Latin and Greek, have spoken much about this book, and through all of their Questions have less enlightened than obscured the ideas, so that in effect their interpretation needs to be interpreted and with the result that the reader comes away feeling less sure of the meaning than beforehand. I am not saying this to criticise these great minds, to abase others in order to extol myself, but rather because it is the place of the commentator to clarify in short and clearly what is obscure; they should be less concerned with displaying their eloquence than with explaining the meaning of the author. We ask therefore where else the prophet Jonah appears in the Holy Scriptures apart from this book and the allusion made to him by the Lord in the Gospels. And if I am not mistaken he is mentioned in the book of Kings in this way: "in the fifth year of Amasiah, the son of Joash, King of Judah, began to rule the son of Jeroboam son of Joash King of Israel in Samaria, for forty-one years. He did much wickedness before the Lord and did not distance himself from all the sins of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He re-established the frontier of Israel in Samaria from the entrance of Emathia to the Sea of Solitude, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which was spoken by the mouth of his servant Jonah, son of Amittai the prophet, from Gath which is in Ofer. (2 Kings 14:23-25)" The Hebrews recount that he was the son of the widow of Sarepta, incited by the prophet Elijah; his mother later said to him, "I know now that you are indeed a man of God, and that the word of God is truly in your mouth (1 Kings 17:24)"; on account of this the child was called Truth. For Amittai in Hebrew can be rendered 'truth' in our language, and because Elijah spoke true, he who was encouraged was called the son of Truth. And Gath is located two miles from Sepphoris, which is now called Diocaesarea, when you are travelling to Tiberia: there is a small castle where his tomb can be seen. Others, however, prefer to place his birth and tomb near Diospolis, which is in Lydia. They do not see that when he writes 'Ofer', this is to distinguish Gath from other towns of this name that can be seen now near to Eleutheropolis or Diospolis. The book of Tobit, though not in the canon, is all the same used by the men of the Church, and he mentions Jonah when Tobit says to his son, "my son, I am old and ready to leave this life. Take your sons and go to Media, my son. For I know what the prophet Jonah has said about Nineveh: she will be destroyed (Tob. 14:3)". And, indeed, according to the Hebrew and Greek historians, Herodotus in particular, we read that Nineveh was destroyed in the time of King Josiah according to the Hebrews, and King Astyage of the Medians. From this we understand that in the past Jonah predicted that the Ninevites would repent and seek pardon; but afterwards, as they persisted in their sins,they brought the judgement of God upon themselves. The Hebrew tradition is that Hosea, Amos, Isaiah and Jonah prophesied at the same time. This is historical tradition. Not forgetting the others of course: the venerable Pope Chromatius, who took great pains to recount to the Saviour the story of the prophet: he flees, he sleeps, he is thrown into the sea, he is swallowed by a whale, thrown back onto the shore and prays for repentance. And saddened by the safety of this town of many people, he finds comfort in the shade of a fig tree. There he is reproached by God for having taken more care of a green vine which had dried up, than of such a great number of men, and the other details I will try to explain in this volume. But to grasp the complete meaning of the prophet in this short preface there is no better interpretation than that which inspired the prophets and which marked out the lines of the truth of the future for its servants. He therefore speaks to the Jews who do not believe his words and are ignorant of Christ, the son of God: "the men of Nineveh will rise up at the time of judgement with that generation and they will condemn it, for they repented as Jonah required, and here there is more than Jonah! (Mt. 12:41)". The generation of the Jews is condemned, while the world has faith and Nineveh repents, Israel the disbeliever dies. The Jews have the books themselves, we have the Lord of books; they hold the prophets, we have an understanding of the prophets; "the letter kills them", "the spirit makes us live (2 Cor. 3:6)"; with them Barabbas the robber is released, for us Christ the Son of God is freed.

Jerome, in the prologue to his commentary on Jonah.

The next post will compare an interpretation of Jerome's with the Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer.

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In the Hebrew we read "a great fish", which the Septuagint and the Lord in the Gospel call a whale, to explain the matter in short. For the Hebrew says dag gadol that we translate as 'a big fish'. Evidently this means a whale. We must note too that where he awaited death, he found his salvation. And when it says, "he had prepared", this is even right at the beginning of creation, the animal which is mentioned in the psalm: "this dragon which you have created to play with him" (Ps. 103:26).

-Jerome on Jonah 2:1.

Chapter 10 of Pirkei de--Rabbi Eliezer discusses the account of Jonah in the whale, and provides many eschatological hints. Chapter 32 even identifies Jonah as the widow's son. Anyway, in chp. 10 R. Tarphon states that "the fish was appointed already from the six days of creation to swallow Jonah." Jerome identifies the fish with Leviathan. In PRE they aren't conflated, and the messianic overtones are even clearer. R. Meir relates an exchange between the fish and Jonah. "'Don't you know that my time has come to be devoured by the mouth of Leviathan?' Jonah replied: 'Lead me to him.' Jonah said to Leviathan: 'It is for your sake that I've descended here, to see your dwelling place as in the future I shall put a rope through your tongue and draw you up and offer you up for the great feast of the righteous.' He showed him Abraham's seal and said: 'Behold the covenant.' Leviathan saw and fled from Jonah two days distance."

Jonah wasn't swallowed up by the fish in the sea as punishment for rebellion, but he had a mission.

He discovered Leviathan's dwelling place, declared his future triumph over Leviathan, giving him a sign of it. According to a very persistent Jewish tradition (see the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Bathra 75a) Leviathan will be served to the righteous at the messianic banquet.

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I'll bring the pork rinds™ and Near-Polygyny-Porter©.

I have some good Montana wild sage and some elk steak. Also, we got in the new enchanted claymores and torcs.

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There are traces in Jewish literature of Jonah being a messiah. Sometimes he is described in terms that fit the Messiah of David, and in other places, the Messiah of Joseph of Ephraim, who will suffer and die.

The Messiah of Joseph of Ephraim?

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What is the Messiah of Joseph of Ephraim?

A typo. It should read the Messiah of Joseph or of Ephraim.

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A typo. It should read the Messiah of Joseph or of Ephraim.

I've read something about the Messiah of Joseph somewhere before (I think in reference to the dead sea schrol community, and John the Baptist's question concerining "art thou He who was to come, or should we expect another"?), but I can't reacall what it was.

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In the Hebrew we read "a great fish", which the Septuagint and the Lord in the Gospel call a whale, to explain the matter in short. For the Hebrew says dag gadol that we translate as 'a big fish'. Evidently this means a whale. We must note too that where he awaited death, he found his salvation. And when it says, "he had prepared", this is even right at the beginning of creation, the animal which is mentioned in the psalm: "this dragon which you have created to play with him" (Ps. 103:26).

-Jerome on Jonah 2:1.

Chapter 10 of Pirkei de--Rabbi Eliezer discusses the account of Jonah in the whale, and provides many eschatological hints. Chapter 32 even identifies Jonah as the widow's son. Anyway, in chp. 10 R. Tarphon states that "the fish was appointed already from the six days of creation to swallow Jonah." Jerome identifies the fish with Leviathan. In PRE they aren't conflated, and the messianic overtones are even clearer. R. Meir relates an exchange between the fish and Jonah. "'Don't you know that my time has come to be devoured by the mouth of Leviathan?' Jonah replied: 'Lead me to him.' Jonah said to Leviathan: 'It is for your sake that I've descended here, to see your dwelling place as in the future I shall put a rope through your tongue and draw you up and offer you up for the great feast of the righteous.' He showed him Abraham's seal and said: 'Behold the covenant.' Leviathan saw and fled from Jonah two days distance."

Jonah wasn't swallowed up by the fish in the sea as punishment for rebellion, but he had a mission.

He discovered Leviathan's dwelling place, declared his future triumph over Leviathan, giving him a sign of it. According to a very persistent Jewish tradition (see the Babylonian Talmud, Bava Bathra 75a) Leviathan will be served to the righteous at the messianic banquet.

To continue this thought, there are strong messianic overtones to Jonah's encounter with Leviathan, though typically either God or Gabriel does the slaying.

This image of Jonah battling Leviathan representing evil and death, is taken up by the kabbalists, including the medieval R. Isaac ha-Cohen, and Nathan of Gaza, the Sabbatian priest.

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