So, what might Jonah's motivations have been? Below are ten possibilities. If you want to have a wild observational/interpretational time in Jonah, take some sweeps through the book and weigh the different options for his motivation. In my reading, I thought that all 10 were possible motivations, but that reasons 8 and 9 best account for the intra-textual and historical-cultural data. Another way of saying that is that I thought reasons 8 and 9 hit closest to the motivation the author communicated in the story. Happy reading!
1) Fear of failure/embarassment -
What if I prophecy and it doesn't come true?
2) Fear of the Lord's wrath -
What if the Lord destroys Nineveh and I'm caught in the crossfire?
3) Desire for glory -
What if I preached the same message in a more exotic locale, like Tarshish?
4) Misunderstanding of his call -
Did God say Nineveh or Tarshish?
5) Disbelieving his message -
Would a tolerant, loving God really destroy a city?
6) Lack of self-confidence -
Who am I to speak to people for the Lord?
7) Patriotism/fear of the Israelites -
What will happen to my people if I do this?
9) Cynical skepticism/compassionlessness*
10) Fear of the Ninevites+
*covered in Large Group
+covered in a previous blog