Jonah Tries to Run Away from God
1:1Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah1 the son of Amittai,2 saying, 1:2Arise, go to Nineveh,3 that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 1:3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish4 from the presence of Jehovah; and he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah.
1:4But Jehovah sent out a great wind5 upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 1:5Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god; and they cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it unto them. But Jonah was gone down into the innermost parts of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 1:6So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
1:7And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 1:8Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; what is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 1:9And he said unto them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear Jehovah, the God of heaven, who hath made the sea and the dry land. 1:10Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, What is this that thou hast done? For the men knew6 that he was fleeing from the presence of Jehovah, because he had told them.
1:11Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 1:12And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 1:13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to get them back to the land; but they could not: for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 1:14Wherefore they cried unto Jehovah, and said, We beseech thee, O Jehovah, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for thou, O Jehovah, hast done as it pleased thee. 1:15So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea;7 and the sea ceased from its raging. 1:16Then the men feared Jehovah exceedingly; and they offered a sacrifice unto Jehovah, and made vows.
- Jonah. Jonah represents a phase of spiritual consciousness which sees the enormity of evil and the dire consequences of evil. Jonah fell short because he allowed himself to be intimidated by the seeming mightiness of evil, and failed to appreciate the redeeming power of eternal Good. So Jonah represents a state of mind without divine love, set in cause and effect, under which error sowing cannot be redeemed or forgiven.
- Amittai. Tendency to adhere to Truth but on an intellectual level alone.
- Nineveh. Seat of natural, animal forces in man's body consciousness. Nineveh’s people, though not willfully wicked, awaited spiritual instruction to turn away from the outer and material.
- Tarshish. Unyielding, argumentative, pure intellectual and reasoning nature in man.
- Wind. Life currents that come from within and surround the whole being; the executive power of mind clearing the way to higher states of consciousness.
- For the men knew. It is evident that Jonah was fully aware of his actions, clearly choosing pure reasoning and intellect away from God, which already was bringing trouble.
- and cast him forth into the sea. The sea is the waters of the subconscious mind. "There are two realms of thought; the thoughts of the mind working in the subconscious—that is called in the Scripture letting the waters bring forth abundantly—that is, in the waters of the mind."
- great fish. The great fish (whale) has been interpreted both negatively and positively. The negative view was held by Charles Fillmore and Elizabeth Sand Turner, who viewed the great fish as a disastrous state of affairs into which we fall because of negative thinking. (Charles Fillmore sermon August 20, 1916 and Let There Be Light p.236) In contrast, Ed Rabel spoke of the great fish positively. He says that Jonah requests to be thrown into the sea as a solution to a bad situation resulting from his choice, but God rescues him by sending a fish, or a very great truth idea, which totally consumes Jonah. Despite terrible circumstances, God provides Jonah an opportunity to emerge transformed. Ed Rabel, Old Testament Lectures, Jonah.
- three days and three nights. Cf. The Sign of Jonah. "12:40for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matt. 12:41-42
Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Eduardo Rodriguez.
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