Textual Clues to Consummating Rebellion: Reading Jonah in Light of Israel’s Adultery in Hosea

This paper starts with the issue of the feminine suffix in Jonah 1:3, then traces several instances of wordplay that is used to cast the ship as a character in the story, one with whom Jonah consummates his rebellion. This understanding follows other scholars and their work in Jonah (for instance, Constantin Oancea notes several metaphors in Jonah 1, and Annette Schellenberg identifies multiple cases of intertextuality in her 2015 article). Most of the wordplay concerning the ship as a character occurs in 1:5, highlighted with a shift from אֳנִיָּה to a hapax legomenon (סְפִינָה). Connected to Nah 3:4 where Nahum declares Nineveh is a prostitute, it is possible to read the first chapter of Jonah with a basic message that by Jonah refusing to preach against the sins of one prostitute, he finds himself consummating his rebellion with another. Read in this way, a pattern can be established between Jonah and Hosea: Hos. 4:4 (men sleeping with cult prostitutes), Hos 5:15 (seeking God in distress), 6:2 (raised up on the third day), 9:7-9 (The prophet is a fool).

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