Jonah In Nineveh -- By: H. Clay Trumbull

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 049:196 (Oct 1892)
Article: Jonah In Nineveh
Author: H. Clay Trumbull


Jonah In Nineveh

H. Clay Trumbull

Reprint from the Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 11: (1892) Part I.

[We depart from our rule not to publish reprints in the Bibliotheca Sacra, on account both of the intrinsic merits of this paper and to emphasize the importance of taking a broader view of the question at issue than is coming to be current at the present time. The paper deserves a wider circulation than it will get in the Proceedings of the Society.—Eds.]

In the discussion of the question of the historicity of the book of Jonah, two objections urged against its verity, at various times from the days of Lucian until now,1 have had weight with many scholars who find no difficulty in accepting as true the Bible record of miracles generally. These objections are: (1) The seeming lack of a sufficient reason for the unique miracle of Jonah’s preservation in a great fish. (2) The essential improbability of the instant, reverent heed of an entire people to the simple religious message of an unknown visitor from an enemy’s country.

A peculiarity of Bible miracles, that differentiates them from all mere myths and fables and “lying wonders” of any age, is their entire reasonableness as miracles; their clear exhibit of supernaturalness without unnatural-ness. When, for instance, God would bring his people out of Egypt with a mighty hand, he does not tell Moses to wave his rod above their heads, in order that, after the fashion of stories in the Arabian Nights, they should be transported through the air and set down in Canaan; but he brings them on foot to the borders of the Yam Suph, where he tells Moses to stretch out his rod over the sea, in order that its waters may divide and make a pathway for the Hebrews; and again to stretch it out in order that the waters may return for the deluging of the Egyptians.

So, again, the ten “strokes,” or miraculous “plagues,” wrought for the bringing of Pharaoh to release God’s captive people, are successive strokes at the gods of Egypt, beginning with a stroke at the popular river-god, and passing on and up to a stroke at the royal sun-god in the heavens, and terminating with a stroke at the first-born, or priestly representative of the gods, in every household of Egypt, “from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon the throne, even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the [consecrated] first-born of cattle.” The miraculous strokes are, in the light of later Egyptian disclosures, seen to be a reasonable, although a supernatural, exhibit of the sup...

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