Everyone agrees that Jonah rebels in chapter one. But the question is when Jonah repents. Some think that Jonah begins to repent in chapter one, when he has the sailors throw him into the sea. Others think that Jonah repents in chapter two, when he prays and then gets put back on dry land. Others think that Jonah repents in chapter three, when he actually goes to Nineveh to preach. On any of the above interpretations, the traditional reading makes the book of Jonah a story about one man’s redemption, from rebellion to revival. But what if something else is going on?[Preaching note: If you’ve ever heard me preach, chances are you’ve heard me preach on Jonah chapter one. It’s one of my go-to-passages whenever I am asked to preach at a retreat or conference, and I think I’ve preached on the passage around a dozen times. I have often taken the advice of my dear friend Peter: “Just do Jonah, man.”
Our church, however, just wrapped up a sermon series on the book of Jonah, which obliged me to preach a sermon on Jonah TWO! A handful of people have asked about it, so here it is, a minority report* on Jonah 2.
*credit to the professor in whose Hebrew Exegesis class I fell in love with this book, and the mentor whose story I tell at the end.]