Apr 14, 2014

Jonah: Online Commentary (in progress)

[Updated 6/12/2014: Translation edits included]

During the Spring semester, my Hebrew Grammar II class at BMA Theological Seminary translates Jonah.  The below is an ongoing project where I post photo-texts of Jonah Codex L, as well as diplomatic texts, outlines, notes, translations and links to Hebrew audio.  These materials will be variously located on my blog, Twitter feed & SoundCloud and will even correspond to sermons located on our church website.  This post will serve as the primary source/catalog for all of these materials and will gradually (often daily) expand until all of Jonah is covered serving essentially as an online commentary for my students, church members, or any interested in Jonah, particularly Jonah based on the Hebrew text.

I. Hebrew Audio

II. Codex Leningrandensis

A. Jonah 1
B. Jonah 2
III.  Cod L + Diplomatic Text + English Trans.
A. Jonah 1 
Jonah 1.1,2 Diplomatic Text & Trans.; Jonah 1.3,4 Diplomatic Text & Trans.
Jonah 1.5,6a Diplomatic Text & Trans.; Jonah 1.6b-7 Diplomatic Text & Trans.
Jonah 1.8, 9 Diplomatic Text &Trans.; Jonah 1.10-12a Diplomatic Text & Trans.
Jonah 1.14  Diplomatic Text & Trans.; Jonah 1.15, 16; 2:1a Diplomatic Text & Trans.

B. Jonah 2

Jonah 2.1,2 Diplomatic Text & Trans.

IV. Masoretic Notations & Textual Apparatus
Why study the Masorah?  Follow the preceding link for a word from scholars Page H. Kelley, Daniel S. Mynatt, and Timothy G. Crawford. 
Jonah 1:1,2    Jonah 1:3    Jonah 1:4,5    Jonah 1:6,7
V. Preliminary Translation & Notes
  • Jonah Chapter 1
Chapter 1
(1) And the word of Yahweh came to Jonah ben Amittai saying, (2) “Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach against it, for their evil has come up before me.” (3) Then Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh,[1] and he went down to Joppa[2] and found a ship going to Tarshish and paid its fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.  (4) Then Yahweh cast a great wind upon the sea and there was a great storm on the sea, and the ship-men thought it would break apart. (5) Then the mariners[3] were afraid and each cried to his god[4] and they cast the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them.  But Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship and lain down and was sound asleep. (6) Then the captain[5] approached him and said to him, “How are you sleeping?  Get up, cry to your God!  Perhaps your God will take notice of us that we will not perish.” (7) Then each man said to his mate, “Come and let us cast lots that we may know on whose account this trouble is upon us.”  And they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.  (8) Then they said to him, “Tell us now! On whose account has this trouble come to us?  What is your occupation and from where have you come?  What is your land and of what people are you?"[6] (9) And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear Yahweh, God of the heavens who made the sea and the dry land.”[7]  (10) Then the men were greatly afraid and they said to him, “What is this you have done?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Yahweh, for he told them.  (11) And they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was was increasingly stormy.  (12) And he said to them, “Lift me up and cast me into the sea, and it will be calm for you; for I indeed know that it is on account of me that this terrible storm is upon you.”  But the men rowed to return to the dry land but they could not, for the sea was turbulent and stormy upon them.  (14) Then they prayed to Yahweh and said, “O Yahweh, please do not let us perish on account of this man’s life, and do not attribute to us the blood of the innocent.  For you, O Yahweh, have done just as you have desired.”  (15) So they lifted up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. (16) Then the men were exceedingly afraid of Yahweh, and they offered a sacrifice to Yahweh, and made vows.”

[1] This is likely a reference to something like Jonah’s attempt to distance himself from the temple at Jerusalem which represented God's presence. 
[2] Though Joppa was slightly north of Jerusalem, this is not an unusual expression for two reasons: 1.) the temple mount was higher in elevation, and 2.) anytime a person left Jerusalem to go to another city, it was customary to describe him as “going down” due to the importance and prominence of the city. 
[3] The Hebrew term is ~yxiL'M;, (malachim), literally meaning “salts” and is an idiom for sailors due to their close association with salt water.
[4] These men who were almost certainly Phoenicians, believed in a variety of localized deities.  In ANE pagan religions, it was believed that the gods had a beginning and evolved out of primordial stuff.  They held that Absolute Divine reality is upstream of the various finite, personal gods.  Fate was held as an impersonal force that defined laws and the inner workings of the gods.  The gods that the sailors prayed to may have been any in their pantheon including: Yam (meaning “Sea,” i.e. the sea god), Dagon (either referring to a fish god or grain god), Baal (the storm god), Shamash (the sun god), etc.
[5] Translated from lbexoh; br:, literally meaning chief sailor.
[6] These questions were most likely intended to identify the particular god that Jonah worshipped by isolating the particular ethnicity, or land with which that god was thought to have been connected.
[7] Jonah responded with an explanation in terms of Hebrew cosmology.  God was not limited to a particular geographic region as were the pagan gods.  Conversely, the God of the Hebrews was Absolute, Unlimited, and was actually the source of the finite created reality, rather than the opposite. 

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