Septuagint: Jonah

August 5, 2020|
Septuagint: Jonah by Scriptural Research Institute
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The Book of Jonah is generally considered by scholars to be fictional tale written in the Persian era, however, the version in the Septuagint indicated the story likely dates back to the Assyrian era, between 720 and 612 BC. There are several reasons why Jewish, Christian, and secular scholars have questioned the book's origin, not the least of which is the fact that Jonah spent several days inside some sea creature, and survived. As such, it reads more like a fictional tale, such as the Words of Ahikar, and the book of Tobit which was connected to Ahikar by its author.

The concept of free will is central to all Judeo-Christian religions. Although refusal to follow God's directions will lead to some kind of negative consequences, the right nevertheless exists. However, in the book of Jonah, Jonah had no free will and was forced to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, to tell the Assyrians that the Jewish God was going to destroy their city, three days after the prophecy. Naturally, no one would be enthusiastic about being told to do that, however, in the Greek translation, the issue is compounded by the fact that Jonah is a slave. In the Masoretic Texts, the expression 'Slave of a master I am' was replaced with 'Hebrew I am,' which makes no sense, as he was talking to the sailors of the ship he boarded in Jaffa, who would have known he was a Hebrew.

Furthermore, the reaction of the Assyrians when Jonah reached Nineveh is contrary to all recorded and archeological evidence about the Assyrians. The Assyrians considered the god of the people they conquered to also be conquered by their God Ashur. Unless Jonah was a prophet of Ashur, they simply wouldn't have cared at all about what he had to say, and as he was Samaritan, they would have likely captured him as a runaway slave. However, the Book of Jonah reports that they immediately accepted the prophecy and fasted, even forbidding their animals from eating. This fasting made Jonah's god change his mind, and so the city was not destroyed after three days. This issue of why the Assyrians would have cared about Jonah's prophecy has driven much of the debate about the historical dating of the texts, and as it appears in the Masoretic Text, it is clearly a much later fictional tale added to the other 11 minor prophets for some reason.

The earlier Greek translation indicates that Jonah's god was not Yahweh, the Hasmonean national god, but the Canaanite god Shamayim, whose name is still retained in the Masoretic texts, but misinterpreted as meaning the 'skies' as in the Masoretic Jonah, his god has already been identified as the geographically challenged Yahweh. The fact is, if Jonah went to Nineveh and stated he was a prophet of Shamayim, everyone, including the king would have paid attention, as described in the Book of Jonah, as the national god of Assyria, Asshur, had been transformed into Ansar, meaning 'whole sky,' around the time that Samaria had been conquered. As Jonah repeatedly claimed to be worshiping his master's god, and his master would have been an Assyrian, it is clear that he was referring to Ansar (Ashur) when he said Shamayim, the Canaanite equivalent.

Title:Septuagint: JonahFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:August 5, 2020Publisher:Scriptural Research InstituteLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1989852475

ISBN - 13:9781989852477

Appropriate for ages: All ages

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