Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Unarmed Prophets

"Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed. "

Niccolo Machiavelli

God again commands Jonah to visit Nineveh and prophesy to its inhabitants. This time he goes and enters the city, crying, 

“In forty days Nineveh shall be overthrown.” 

After Jonah has walked across Nineveh, the people of Nineveh begin to believe his word and proclaim a fast. The king of Nineveh puts on sackcloth and sits in ashes, making a proclamation which decrees fasting, sackcloth, prayer, and repentance. God sees their repentant hearts and spares the city at that time. 

The entire city is humbled and broken with the people (and even the animals) in sackcloth and ashes. Even the king comes off his throne to repent.

Displeased by this, Jonah refers to his earlier flight to Tarshish while asserting that, since God is merciful, it was inevitable that God would turn from the threatened calamities. He then leaves the city and makes himself a shelter, waiting to see whether or not the city will be destroyed. God causes a plant (in Hebrew a Kikayon) to grow over Jonah’s shelter to give him some shade from the sun. 

Later, God causes a worm to bite the plant’s root and it withers. 

Jonah, now being exposed to the full force of the sun, becomes faint and desires that God take him out of the world.

And God said to Jonah: “Art thou greatly angry for the Kikayon?” And he said: “I am greatly angry, even unto death.”

And the LORD said: “Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night, and perished in a night;
and should not I have pity on Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also much cattle?”

— Book of Jonah, chapter 4, verses 9-11

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