Saturday, January 28, 2012

Revisiting Jonah, The Day 3:1-5

If you look in the table of recurring roots, you will see a name for this section that is more specific than what I had initially, 'The Call'. The first two verses recapitulate the opening of the story (with a little variation, showing that Nineveh is like the Sea-farers and has changed since chapter 1). You might say that יְהוָה has already prepared them for Jonah's 'call'. So you will note the recurrence of mortal applied to the Ninevites. If I had used men, you might not have noticed. But the unique word in this section is Day. Day should therefor be its title.

The Day

וַיְהִי דְבַר יְהוָה אֶל יוֹנָה שֵׁנִית לֵאמֹר
3.1
and the word of יְהוָה happened to Jonah again saying
קוּם לֵךְ אֶל נִינְוֵה הָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה
וּקְרָא אֵלֶיהָ אֶת הַקְּרִיאָה
אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי דֹּבֵר אֵלֶיךָ
3.2
Rise, walk to Nineveh the great city
and call out to her the call
that I was speaking to you
וַיָּקָם יוֹנָה וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל נִינְוֵה
כִּדְבַר יְהוָה
וְנִינְוֵה הָיְתָה עִיר גְּדוֹלָה לֵאלֹהִים
מַהֲלַךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים
3.3
and Jonah rose and walked to Nineveh
according to the word of יְהוָה
Now Nineveh happened to be a great city belonging to God
a walk of three days
וַיָּחֶל יוֹנָה לָבוֹא בָעִיר
מַהֲלַךְ יוֹם אֶחָד
וַיִּקְרָא וַיֹּאמַר
עוֹד אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם
וְנִינְוֵה נֶהְפָּכֶת
3.4
and Jonah let himself come into the city
one day's walk1
and he called out and he said
yet forty days
and Nineveh will be changed
וַיַּאֲמִינוּ אַנְשֵׁי נִינְוֵה בֵּאלֹהִים
וַיִּקְרְאוּ צוֹם
וַיִּלְבְּשׁוּ שַׂקִּים
מִגְּדוֹלָם וְעַד קְטַנָּם
3.5
and the mortals of Nineveh believed in God
and they called out for a fast
and they put on sackcloth
from the greatest of them and to the least of them

1Jonah only gets part way into Nineveh, the great city that belongs to God. One day in was enough. (Also compare psalm 34 and the frame of 'taste / madness'.)
Jonah 3:1-5 A three days walk. Jerusalem today is a 12 day city as a minimum, if you want to see even a small part of it. Nineveh must have been quite the tourist town of its day.
Selected recurring words in relative order (1 to 5)

Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234VsRoot
ויהי and happened
1היה
דבר the word of
1דבר
יהוה יהוה
1יהוה
יונה Jonah
1יונה
לאמר saying
1אמר
קום rise
2קום
לך walk
2ילך
נינוה Nineveh
2נינוה
העיר the city
2עיר
הגדולה great
2גדל
וקרא and call out
2קרא
הקריאה the call
2קרא
דבר was speaking
2דבר
ויקם and rose
3קום
יונה Jonah
3יונה
וילך and walked
3ילך
נינוה Nineveh
3נינוה
כדבר according to the word of
3דבר
יהוה יהוה
3יהוה
ונינוה Now Nineveh
3נינוה
היתה happened to be
3היה
עיר a city
3עיר
גדולה great
3גדל
לאלהים of the gods
3אלוה
מהלך a walk of
3הלך
ימים days
3יום
יונה Jonah
4יונה
בעיר into the city
4עיר
מהלך a walk
4הלך
יום day's
4יום
ויקרא and he called out
4קרא
ויאמר and he said
4אמר
יום days
4יום
ונינוה and Nineveh
4נינוה
נינוה Nineveh
5נינוה
באלהים in God
5אלוה
ויקראו and they called out for
5קרא
מגדולם from the greatest of them
5גדל