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Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at

Jonah Introduction


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Introduction to Jonah

The prophet Jonah gives us the opportunity of applying his history to many sentiments that arise in the human heart in all ages. His personal history-the history of a man who was upright in the main, but who had not courage to follow out the will of God boldly-is so intermingled with his prophecy, as to make this individual application easy and natural. Nevertheless the history of Jonah is that of one who bears testimony on the part of God, rather than that of a believer in his ordinary life. It is the history of the human heart, when the testimony of God towards the world has been committed to it, and that of the sovereign and governmental dealings of God in connection with the workings of that heart. It is on this account that we find in the history of Jonah a picture of the history of the Jews in this respect, and even in some respects of that of the Messiah; only that the latter entered into it in grace, and was always perfect in it. I shall point out the leading features which the Spirit of God has been pleased to develop in this narrative, deeply interesting as it is in this aspect.

It is evident that in this prophecy the prophetic events are but the occasion, and, as it were, the frame of the great principles that flow from them; or rather the prophetic event. For the prophecy is confined to the threat of the destruction of Nineveh in forty days: a threat whose accomplishment was averted by the repentance of that city. Jonah's history forms the chief portion of the book.

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