Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Revisiting Jonah, The Fury Part Two, aka The Tender Plant, 4:6-10

Here is the story of the tender plant, the worm, and the sultry east wind. Each one was appointed by יְהוָה God, the first to deliver Jonah from his evil, so that he might be glad for himself, the next two to strike so that he might lose his fury over the comfort of others more ignorant than him.

The unique aspect of this section is clearly

The Tender Plant

It is tied by fury to the prior section.

The child of the night, stressing transience, closes the child frame opened in the first chapter. Jonah's patronym makes him a child of truth. The great city, Nineveh, is also a frame for the story.

So at the end of this revisitation of a delightfully serious and comical tale, I have revised my mnemonics for the whole poem slightly. The first two chapters, encompassing the city with the sea and windy (spirit) tempest and the havoc of hurling actions, are comprised of: The Descent, The Dice, The Mortals and The Fish. The Mortals anticipate Nineveh, its turning, and its belonging to God. The second two chapters are comprised of The Day, The Turn, The Fury (not God's but Jonah's), parts 1 and 2. Unlike Jonah, the king leads his people in the turning and God turns in comfort (sighing) to them. Such turning is evil for Jonah. Evil, used as a frame when the seafarers turn and again in this chapter, ties together chapters 1 and 4. Jonah succeeds in bringing evil upon others and in knowing it in himself.

וַיְמַן יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים קִיקָיוֹן
וַיַּעַל מֵעַל לְיוֹנָה
לִהְיוֹת צֵל עַל רֹאשׁוֹ
לְהַצִּיל לוֹ מֵרָעָתוֹ
וַיִּשְׂמַח יוֹנָה עַל הַקִּיקָיוֹן
שִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה
4.6
and יְהוָה God appointed a tender plant
and made it come up over Jonah
to become shade over his head
to deliver him from his evil
and Jonah was glad for the tender plant
he was very glad
וַיְמַן הָאֱלֹהִים תּוֹלַעַת
בַּעֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר לַמָּחֳרָת
וַתַּךְ אֶת הַקִּיקָיוֹן וַיִּיבָשׁ
4.7
and God appointed a worm
as the dawn came up in the morning
and it struck the tender plant and it dried up
וַיְהִי כִּזְרֹחַ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ
וַיְמַן אֱלֹהִים רוּחַ קָדִים חֲרִישִׁית
וַתַּךְ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עַל רֹאשׁ יוֹנָה
וַיִּתְעַלָּף
וַיִּשְׁאַל אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ לָמוּת
וַיֹּאמֶר
טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי
4.8
and it happened when the sun shone
and God appointed a sultry east wind
and the sun struck Jonah's head
and he fainted
and he wished his being to die
and he said
death is good compared with my life
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל יוֹנָה
הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה לְךָ עַל הַקִּיקָיוֹן
וַיֹּאמֶר
הֵיטֵב חָרָה לִי
עַד מָוֶת
4.9
and God said to Jonah
is it good for you to be furious over the tender plant?
and he said
it is good for me to be furious
even to death
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה
אַתָּה חַסְתָּ עַל הַקִּיקָיוֹן
אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָמַלְתָּ בּוֹ
וְלֹא גִדַּלְתּוֹ
שֶׁבִּן לַיְלָה הָיָה
וּבִן לַיְלָה אָבָד
4.10
and יְהוָה said
you yourself showed pity for the tender plant
that you did not toil for
and did not make grow1
that happened as a child of the night
and as a child of the night perished
וַאֲנִי לֹא אָחוּס עַל נִינְוֵה
הָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה
אֲשֶׁר יֶשׁ בָּהּ הַרְבֵּה מִשְׁתֵּים-שְׂרֵה רִבּוֹ אָדָם
אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַע בֵּין יְמִינוֹ לִשְׂמֹאלוֹ
וּבְהֵמָה רַבָּה ש
4.11
and I, will I not show pity to Nineveh
the great city?
for there are in her more than 12 ten-thousands of humans
who cannot tell their right hand from their left
and also many cattle ש

1or make great

Jonah 4:6-11
Selected recurring words in relative order (6 to 11)
Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234567892012 Vs Root
וימן and appointed
6מנה
יהוה יהוה
6יהוה
אלהים God
6אלוה
קיקיון a tender plant
6קיקיון
ויעל and made it come up
6עלה
ליונה Jonah
6יונה
להיות to become
6היה
ראשׁו his head
6ראשׁ
וישׂמח and was glad
6שׂמח
יונה Jonah
6יונה
הקיקיון the tender plant
6קיקיון
שׂמחה he was glad
6שׂמח
גדולה very
6גדל
וימן and appointed
7מנה
האלהים God
7אלוה
בעלות as came up
7בעל
ותך and it struck
7נכה
הקיקיון the tender plant
7קיקיון
ויהי and it happened
8היה
השׁמשׁ the sun
8שׁמשׁ
וימן and appointed
8מנה
אלהים God
8אלוה
ותך and struck
8נכה
השׁמשׁ the sun
8שׁמשׁ
ראשׁ head
8ראשׁ
יונה Jonah's
8יונה
למות to die
8מות
ויאמר and he said
8אמר
מותי death is
8מות
ויאמר and said
9אמר
אלהים God
9אלוה
יונה Jonah
9יונה
ההיטב is it good
9יטב
חרה to be furious
9חרה
הקיקיון the tender plant
9קיקיון
ויאמר and he said
9אמר
היטב it is good
9יטב
חרה to be furious
9חרה
מות death
9מות
ויאמר and said
10אמר
יהוה יהוה
10יהוה
חסת showed pity
10חוס
הקיקיון the tender plant
10קיקיון
אשׁר that
10אשׁר
לא not
10לא
ולא and not
10לא
גדלתו you did make grow
10גדל
שׁבן as a child of
10בן
לילה the night
10לילה
היה happened
10היה
ובן and as a child of
10בן
לילה the night
10לילה
לא not
11לא
אחוס will I show pity
11חוס
הגדולה great
11גדל
אשׁר for
11אשׁר
הרבה more than
11רב
אשׁר who
11אשׁר
לא cannot
11לא
רבה many
11רב
This petulant prophet appears to be devoid of tenderness. But at least he is forthright. He knows his fury. God's mercy lies outside the human idea of fair or due reward. Jonah does not really like the good of creation, though he is glad enough for himself. His reaction is quite different from Job's. Job is ultimately seen to be both tender and right. Job changes. We don't know about Jonah. We are left with a question probably directed at ourselves. The inconsequential child of the night, the tender plant, is given to deliver Jonah from his evil.

Does the technique of observing the sequences and circles of repeating words help in memorizing this story? It has certainly made me read it with greater care than I did 40 odd years ago when I was asked to present this book at a conference (O how unprepared I was for that experience).

There are still many questions for me when I consider Jonah as 'the only sign to be given to this generation' (Matthew 16:4, Luke 11:29). What, for example, about the 'pilot', the chief of the encumbered band of seafarers? Why that phrase רַב הַחֹבֵל, surely an odd word for the quartermaster, or what is the significance of the one who descends paying the fare for the ship - her fare? Perhaps there are mortals who could comment. Is the foot-washing modeled after the actions of the king of Nineveh?

Halleluyah from the heart of God (Christopher Smart Jubilate Agno)
And from the hand of the artist inimitable,
And from the echo of the heavenly harp.
In sweetness magnifical and mighty.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jerusalem Imax Video

It is likely that we will visit Jerusalem again in 2013 - to an as yet unannounced festival at Hebrew University. This film in the meanwhile is a nice piece of work. What is the monastery to the west? (HT James McGrath)

Jerusalem | Filmed in Imax 3D from JerusalemTheMovie on Vimeo.

Revisiting Jonah, The Fury Part One 4:1-5

Rather than The City, which we have already met, there is a new keyword, The Fury. It seems that when The Day is announced, and The Turn accomplished, The Fury belongs to someone other than God. So much for the Dies Ira. The Gospel is in the TNK.

The Fury

וַיֵּרַע אֶל יוֹנָה
רָעָה גְדוֹלָה
וַיִּחַר לוֹ
4.1
and this was evil for Jonah
great evil
and he was furious
וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֶל יְהוָה וַיֹּאמַר
אָנָּה יְהוָה
הֲלוֹא זֶה דְבָרִי
עַד הֱיוֹתִי עַל אַדְמָתִי
עַל כֵּן קִדַּמְתִּי
לִבְרֹחַ תַּרְשִׁישָׁה
כִּי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אַתָּה אֵל חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם
אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב חֶסֶד
וְנִחָם עַל הָרָעָה
4.2
and he prayed to יְהוָה and said
I beseech you יְהוָה
was this not my word
even in my own humanity about what would happen?
therefore I stalled
and ran away to Tarshish
for I told you that you are a gracious and compassionate God
slow to anger and of much kindness
and who sighs over evil
וְעַתָּה יְהוָה קַח נָא אֶת נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנִּי
כִּי טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי ס
4.3
and now יְהוָה take please my being from me
for death is good compared with my life ס
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה
הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה לָךְ
4.4
and יְהוָה said
is it good for you to be furious?
וַיֵּצֵא יוֹנָה מִן הָעִיר
וַיֵּשֶׁב מִקֶּדֶם לָעִיר
וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ שָׁם סֻכָּה
וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחְתֶּיהָ בַּצֵּל
עַד אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה מַה יִּהְיֶה בָּעִיר
4.5
and Jonah went out from the city
and he sat east of the city
and he made a shelter for himself there
and he sat under it in the shade
to see what would happen in the city
I wrestle whether to allow verse 5 to stand on its own, or to include it with verses 6 to 11 or to leave it with verses 1 to 4. Compare and see, The chunk from verses 6 to 11 is too large with verse 5. Verse 5 is temporizing and has its own simple structure. [Verses 1 to 4 are Jonah's reaction to the turning of Nineveh and they could be seen as part of that chapter - suggestion from LaCocque & LaCocque (no index)]
Selected recurring words in relative order (1 to 4)

Word and gloss * first usage12345VsRoot
רעה evil
1רע
ויחר and he was furious
1חרה
יהוה יהוה
2יהוה
ויאמר and he said
2אמר
יהוה יהוה
2יהוה
כי for
2כי
כי that
2כי
הרעה evil
2רע
יהוה יהוה
3יהוה
כי for
3כי
ויאמר and said
4אמר
יהוה יהוה
4יהוה
חרה to be furious
4חרה

Selected recurring words in relative order (5 to 5)

Word and gloss * first usage12VsRoot
העיר the city
5עיר
וישׁב and he sat
5ישׁב
לעיר of the city
5עיר
וישׁב and he sat
5ישׁב
בעיר in the city
5עיר

Selected recurring words in relative order (1 to 5)

Word and gloss * first usage12345678910123VsRoot
יונה Jonah
1יונה
רעה evil
1רע
ויחר and he was furious
1חרה
לו --
1לו
יהוה יהוה
2יהוה
ויאמר and he said
2אמר
יהוה יהוה
2יהוה
עד even
2עד
היותי what would happen
2היה
קדמתי I stalled
2קדם
כי for
2כי
כי that
2כי
הרעה evil
2רע
יהוה יהוה
3יהוה
ממני from me
3מן
כי for
3כי
ויאמר and said
4אמר
יהוה יהוה
4יהוה
חרה to be furious
4חרה
יונה Jonah
5יונה
מן from
5מן
העיר the city
5עיר
וישׁב and he sat
5ישׁב
מקדם east
5קדם
לעיר of the city
5עיר
לו for himself
5לו
וישׁב and he sat
5ישׁב
עד so
5עד
יהיה would happen
5היה
בעיר in the city
5עיר

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Revisiting Jonah, The Turn, 3:6-10

This section is about turning. Note how turning is not part of the language of the seafarers. It occurs for the mortals in their unsuccessful effort to turn the ship before hurling Jonah overboard (1:13). No escape that way.

The Turn

וַיִּגַּע הַדָּבָר אֶל מֶלֶךְ נִינְוֵה
וַיָּקָם מִכִּסְאוֹ
וַיַּעֲבֵר אַדַּרְתּוֹ מֵעָלָיו
וַיְכַס שַׂק
וַיֵּשֶׁב עַל הָאֵפֶר
3.6
and the word touched the king of Nineveh
and he rose from his throne1
and put aside his majesty from him
and covered in sackcloth
and sat on an ash-heap
וַיַּזְעֵק וַיֹּאמֶר
בְּנִינְוֵה מִטַּעַם הַמֶּלֶךְ
וּגְדֹלָיו לֵאמֹר
הָאָדָם וְהַבְּהֵמָה
הַבָּקָר וְהַצֹּאן
אַל יִטְעֲמוּ מְאוּמָה
אַל יִרְעוּ
וּמַיִם אַל יִשְׁתּוּ
3.7
and he proclaimed and he said
in Nineveh out of the taste of the king
and his great ones saying
the human and the animal
the heard and the flock
let none taste anything whatever
let none pasture
and water let none drink
וְיִתְכַּסּוּ שַׂקִּים
הָאָדָם וְהַבְּהֵמָה
וְיִקְרְאוּ אֶל אֱלֹהִים בְּחָזְקָה
וְיָשֻׁבוּ אִישׁ מִדַּרְכּוֹ הָרָעָה
וּמִן הֶחָמָס אֲשֶׁר בְּכַפֵּיהֶם
3.8
but let them them be covered in sackcloth
the human and the animal
and call out to God forcefully
and let each turn from its evil way
and from the violence that is in their palms
מִי יוֹדֵעַ
יָשׁוּב וְנִחַם הָאֱלֹהִים
וְשָׁב מֵחֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ
וְלֹא נֹאבֵד
3.9
who knows
this God may turn and sigh
and turn from his fierce anger
and we will not perish
וַיַּרְא הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם
כִּי שָׁבוּ מִדַּרְכָּם הָרָעָה
וַיִּנָּחֶם הָאֱלֹהִים עַל הָרָעָה
אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לַעֲשׂוֹת לָהֶם
וְלֹא עָשָׂה
3.10
and this God saw their deeds
that they turned from their evil ways
and this God sighed over the evil
that he intended to do to them
and he did not do it

1compare John 13:4 for the sequence of actions

Jonah 3:6-10
Selected recurring words in relative order (6 to 10)
Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234567VsRoot
הדבר the word
6דבר
מלך the king of
6מלך
נינוה Nineveh
6נינוה
ויכס and covered in
6כסה
שׂק sackcloth
6שׂק
ויאמר and he said
7אמר
בנינוה in Nineveh
7נינוה
מטעם from the taste of
7טעם
המלך the king
7מלך
לאמר saying
7אמר
האדם the human
7אדם
והבהמה and the animal
7בהם
יטעמו let taste
7טעם
ויתכסו but let them be covered in
8כסה
שׂקים sackcloth
8שׂק
האדם the human
8אדם
והבהמה and the animal
8בהם
אלהים God
8אלוה
וישׁבו and let turn
8שׁוב
מדרכו from its way
8דרך
הרעה evil
8רע
אשׁר that
8אשׁר
ישׁוב may turn
9שׁוב
ונחם and sigh
9נחם
האלהים this God
9אלוה
ושׁב and turn
9שׁוב
ולא and not
9לא
האלהים this God
10אלוה
מעשׂיהם their deeds
10עשׂה
שׁבו they turned
10שׁוב
מדרכם from their ways
10דרך
הרעה evil
10רע
וינחם and sighed
10נחם
האלהים this God
10אלוה
הרעה the evil
10רע
אשׁר that
10אשׁר
דבר he intended
10דבר
לעשׂות to do
10עשׂה
ולא and not
10לא
עשׂה he did do it
10עשׂה
The pattern is prepared by the action of the king. Then all turn from evil, and God sighs, breathing out the Spirit, the Comforter.

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Revisiting Jonah, The Fish, 2:1-11

Chapter 2 is a psalm. It is good to read the psalms. The word rendered brought up is the same word used in chapter 1 for the ascending of the evil of Nineveh. I am sure this is not an accident. This word is also used for whole burnt offerings. The ascension is the visible manifestation of the completion of the offering. In this case יְהוָה is the agent who effects the completion of the offering. It occurs once in each of chapters 1 and 2 but we will see it again in this story (4:6-7).

וַיְמַן יְהוָה דָּג גָּדוֹל
לִבְלֹעַ אֶת יוֹנָה
וַיְהִי
יוֹנָה בִּמְעֵי הַדָּג
שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים וּשְׁלֹשָׁה לֵילוֹת
2.1
And יְהוָה appointed a great fish
to swallow up Jonah
and it happened
Jonah was in the innards of the fish
three days and three nights
וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל יוֹנָה אֶל יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו
מִמְּעֵי הַדָּגָה
2.2
and Jonah prayed to יְהוָה his God
from the innards of the fish1
וַיֹּאמֶר
קָרָאתִי מִצָּרָה לִי אֶל יְהוָה
וַיַּעֲנֵנִי
מִבֶּטֶן שְׁאוֹל שִׁוַּעְתִּי
שָׁמַעְתָּ קוֹלִי
2.3
and he said
I called out from my trouble to יְהוָה
and he answered me
from the belly of the grave2 I cried
you heard my voice
וַתַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מְצוּלָה
בִּלְבַב יַמִּים
וְנָהָר יְסֹבְבֵנִי
כָּל מִשְׁבָּרֶיךָ וְגַלֶּיךָ
עָלַי עָבָרוּ
2.4
and you cast me from the depth
into the heart of the seas
and torrent surrounded me
All your breakers and your waves
have passed over me3
וַאֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי
נִגְרַשְׁתִּי מִנֶּגֶד עֵינֶיךָ
אַךְ אוֹסִיף לְהַבִּיט
אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשֶׁךָ
2.5
and I, I said
I am driven out from before your eyes4
surely I will again be attentive
in your holy temple
אֲפָפוּנִי
מַיִם עַד נֶפֶשׁ
תְּהוֹם יְסֹבְבֵנִי
סוּף חָבוּשׁ לְרֹאשִׁי
2.6
they enveloped me
waters - ever - self
abyss surrounding me
reed wrapped round my head5
לְקִצְבֵי הָרִים
יָרַדְתִּי
הָאָרֶץ בְּרִחֶיהָ בַעֲדִי לְעוֹלָם
וַתַּעַל מִשַּׁחַת חַיַּי
יְהוָה אֱלֹהָי
2.7
to the roots of the hills
I descended
the earth with her bars about me forever
but you brought up my life from destruction
יְהוָה my God
בְּהִתְעַטֵּף עָלַי נַפְשִׁי
אֶת יְהוָה זָכָרְתִּי
וַתָּבוֹא אֵלֶיךָ תְּפִלָּתִי
אֶל הֵיכַל קָדְשֶׁךָ
2.8
when I in myself was disabled
I remembered יְהוָה
and my prayer came to you
in your holy temple
מְשַׁמְּרִים הַבְלֵי שָׁוְא חַסְדָּם יַעֲזֹבוּ
2.9
those who keep futile emptiness abandon their kindness6
וַאֲנִי בְּקוֹל תּוֹדָה אֶזְבְּחָה לָּךְ
אֲשֶׁר נָדַרְתִּי אֲשַׁלֵּמָה
יְשׁוּעָתָה לַיהוָה ס
2.10
so I in a voice of thanksgiving will offer you
what I have vowed to recompense
salvation ה to יְהוָה belongs ס
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה לַדָּג
וַיָּקֵא אֶת יוֹנָה אֶל הַיַּבָּשָׁה פ
2.11
and יְהוָה spoke to the fish
and it vomited Jonah onto the dry land פ

1Fish is both masculine and here feminine
2Jonah has died
3Psalm 42:8b
4As with all psalms, there is a space where the poet realizes that things have changed. In this psalm there are two such gaps that move from death to life.
5the keyword structure surrounds the middle of this verse
6No participation in the recurrence pattern of this psalm
Selected recurring words in relative order (1 to 11)
Word and gloss * first usage123456789101234 Vs Root
יהוה יהוה
1יהוה
דג a fish
1דג
יונה Jonah
1יונה
יונה Jonah
1יונה
במעי was in the innards of
1מעה
הדג the fish
1דג
שׁלשׁה three
1שׁלושׁ
ושׁלשׁה and three
1שׁלושׁ
ויתפלל and prayed
2פלל
יונה Jonah
2יונה
יהוה יהוה
2יהוה
אלהיו his God
2אלוה
ממעי from the innards of
2מעה
הדגה the fish
2דג
ויאמר and he said
3אמר
יהוה יהוה
3יהוה
קולי my voice
3קול
יסבבני surrounded me
4סבב
ואני and I
5אני
אמרתי I said
5אמר
היכל temple
5היכל
קדשׁך your holy
5קדשׁ
נפשׁ self
6נפשׁ
יסבבני surrounding me
6סבב
יהוה יהוה
7יהוה
אלהי my God
7אלוה
נפשׁי I
8נפשׁ
יהוה יהוה
8יהוה
תפלתי my prayer
8פלל
היכל temple
8היכל
קדשׁך your holy
8קדשׁ
ואני so I
10אני
בקול in a voice of
10קול
ליהוה to יהוה belongs
10יהוה
ויאמר and spoke
11אמר
יהוה יהוה
11יהוה
לדג to the fish
11דג
יונה Jonah
11יונה
The focus of the chapter is on Jonah's whole self, his nephesh. The frame for the section is threefold as can be seen in the table. One verse (see which is missing from the table) has words that do not recur. In fact four of the five words in the verse are unique in the whole book of Jonah. The fifth recurs in chapter 4, showing this story to be like Psalm 86, yet another meditation on Exodus 34:8.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Revisiting Jonah, The Mortals, 1:10-16

From the prior post, this is really the third section of Jonah. The first two were The Descent, and The Dice. Initially I had called this section The Sea, but we have met the sea already in verses 5 and 9 and will again in chapter 2. The sea could gather in all four of these subsections, so I ought not to name only one of them after it but rather chose a word that recurs here and is unique, and one such word is readily to hand so I have renamed it:

The Mortals

וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים יִרְאָה גְדוֹלָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו מַה זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ
כִּי יָדְעוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים כִּי מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה הוּא בֹרֵחַ
כִּי הִגִּיד לָהֶם
1.10
and the mortals feared, a great fear, and they said to him
what is this you have done?
for the mortals knew that from the face of יְהוָה he had run away
for he had made it clear to them
וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו
מַה נַּעֲשֶׂה לָּךְ וְיִשְׁתֹּק הַיָּם מֵעָלֵינוּ
כִּי הַיָּם הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר
1.11
and they said to him
what will we do to you that the sea may be quieted for us
for the sea worked up a tempest
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם
שָׂאוּנִי וַהֲטִילֻנִי אֶל הַיָּם
וְיִשְׁתֹּק הַיָּם מֵעֲלֵיכֶם
כִּי יוֹדֵעַ אָנִי
כִּי בְשֶׁלִּי הַסַּעַר הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה עֲלֵיכֶם
1.12
and he said to them
lift me up and hurl me onto the sea
and the sea will be quieted for you
for I, I know
that it is from me that this great tempest is upon you
וַיַּחְתְּרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים לְהָשִׁיב אֶל הַיַּבָּשָׁה
וְלֹא יָכֹלוּ
כִּי הַיָּם הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר עֲלֵיהֶם
1.13
But the mortals dug hard to turn to the dry land
but they could not
for the sea worked up a tempest against them
וַיִּקְרְאוּ אֶל יְהוָה וַיֹּאמְרוּ
אָנָּה יְהוָה
אַל נָא נֹאבְדָה
בְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה
וְאַל תִּתֵּן עָלֵינוּ דָּם נָקִיא
כִּי אַתָּה יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר חָפַצְתָּ עָשִׂיתָ
1.14
so they called out to יְהוָה and said
we beseech you יְהוָה
please, let us not perish
in the being of this man
and do not make us pay for innocent blood
for you יְהוָה have done according to what you wanted
וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת יוֹנָה
וַיְטִלֻהוּ אֶל הַיָּם
וַיַּעֲמֹד הַיָּם מִזַּעְפּוֹ
1.15
and they lifted up Jonah
and they hurled him onto the sea
and the sea stood back from his rage
וַיִּירְאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים יִרְאָה גְדוֹלָה אֶת יְהוָה
וַיִּזְבְּחוּ זֶבַח לַיהוָה
וַיִּדְּרוּ נְדָרִים
1.16
and the mortals feared יְהוָה, a great fear
and they offered an offering to יְהוָה
and they vowed vows
Jonah 1:10-16
Selected recurring words in relative order (10 to 16)

Word and gloss * first usage1234567891012345678VsRoot
וייראו and feared
10ירא
האנשׁים the mortals
10אנושׁ
יראה a fear
10ירא
גדולה great
10גדל
ויאמרו and they said
10אמר
מה what
10מה
עשׂית that you have done
10עשׂה
כי for
10כי
ידעו knew
10ידע
האנשׁים the mortals
10אנושׁ
כי that
10כי
יהוה יהוה
10יהוה
כי for
10כי
ויאמרו and they said
11אמר
מה what
11מה
נעשׂה will we do
11עשׂה
וישׁתק that may be quietd
11שׁתק
הים the sea
11ים
כי for
11כי
הים the sea
11ים
הולך worked up
11הלך
וסער a tempest
11סער
ויאמר and he said
12אמר
שׂאוני lift me up
12נשׂא
והטילני and hurl me
12טול
הים the sea
12ים
וישׁתק and will be quieted
12שׁתק
הים the sea
12ים
כי for
12כי
יודע I know
12ידע
כי that
12כי
הסער that tempest
12סער
הגדול great
12גדל
הזה this
12זה
האנשׁים the mortals
13אנושׁ
כי for
13כי
הים the sea
13ים
הולך worked up
13הלך
וסער a tempest
13סער
יהוה יהוה
14יהוה
ויאמרו and said
14אמר
יהוה יהוה
14יהוה
הזה this
14זה
כי for
14כי
יהוה יהוה
14יהוה
עשׂית you have done
14עשׂה
וישׂאו and they lifted up
15נשׂא
ויטלהו and they hurled him
15תטל
הים the sea
15ים
הים the sea
15ים
וייראו and feared
16ירא
האנשׁים the mortals
16אנושׁ
יראה a fear
16ירא
גדולה great
16גדל
יהוה יהוה
16יהוה
ויזבחו and they offered
16זבח
זבח an offering
16זבח
ליהוה to יהוה
16יהוה
וידרו and they vowed
16נדר
נדרים vows
16נדר
This section is definitely framed by the repeated use of mortals, and the frame is strengthened by the surrounding fear. It is therefore one section. Note the recurrence of hurl from section 1. יהוה had hurled the wind, and the seafarers had hurled cargo. Now Jonah is to be hurled onto the sea to calm the tempest. Note also the sequence of recurring roots indicating actions of the mortals. The mortals (no longer just seafarers) take several actions, of which four are visible as recurring words that you can see in the table: they lift up and hurl Jonah into the sea as he had instructed them, then of their own accord, they offer an offering, and they vow vows

5 more posts to come - one per day till the end of the month.