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De God van Jona

By Anne van der Plicht


In this thesis, the changing names of God in the Book of Jonah are discussed. The names of God in the prayer of Jonah in chapter two are not taken into account, because this prayer is probably a secondary intrusion. In the Book of Jonah, the following names of God appear: YHWH (twenty times), YHWH elohim (two times), elohim (seven times), haelohim (four times), elohim hasjamajim (only once) and el (only once). \ud \ud Literature shows that a lot of explanations concerning the changing names of God are divided into two parts: one system for the first three chapters and one system for the last chapter. It is however hard to say that there is a right solution if there are two (different) systems necessary to have logic in the text. \ud \ud Although a lot of commentators claim otherwise, it seems that there is almost certain one logical system possible to make the usage of the different names of God clear: if it is clear that the God of Israel is meant, then hwhy is used. When this is not clear, YHWH is used. The consequence of this is that the men on the ship (1:5-16) in the first instance do not know who the God of Israel is (because in 1:5-6 the men on the ship speak about (ha)elohim). They know who the God of Israel was later on, because from 1:10 the God of Jonah is called YHWH (instead of (ha)elohim) by the men on the ship. Jona has introduced his God to the sailors in 1:9. The consequence of this is that the inhabitants of Nineveh do not exactly know the God of Jonah, because they use (ha)elohim) all the time.\ud \ud A lot of commentators get stuck on 4:7-9. Contrary to expectations, not YHWH but (ha)elohim is used. Contrary to expectations, because it concerns the God of Jonah. But if the latter system is correct, then the consequence is that God in 4:7-9 approaches Jonah as a foreign and strange God. In other words, as God approaching people who do not know YHWH. It is possible that the narrator tries, in this way, to make clear that God holds Jonah at a distance, to point out to Jonah that he, Jonah, has a wrong argument about having pity on something or someone. The book of Jonah ends with YHWH in 4:10. Possibly, this is done because the Lord approaches Jonah as ‘the God of Israel’ finally.\ud \ud Supposedly elohim hasjamajim is used as a apposition to YHWH. It is meant as a kind of confirmation, to indicate that YHWH the supreme God is. El is used in combination with words which together were used by the Israeli as confession to make clear that God is complete and perfect. Most likely Jonah refers to this confession. \ud \ud The use of YHWH elohim in the Book of Jonah is more difficult to explain. Reasoned from 4:6 (where YHWH elohim possibly is used to show that God is taking distance to Jonah), God also takes distance to Jonah in 2:2. It is certainly possible that this is an explanation for the use of YHWH elohim, but it is not absolutely certain and therefore this interpretation should not be taken as the only or right explanation.\ud \ud The difference between elohim and haelohim can be explained from the idea that haelohim refers to the name of God that has been mentioned before. \ud \ud Of course there are more systems, as this thesis also states, to interpret the changing names of God in the Book of Jonah, but the advantage of this method is the fact that it is not built up by two (or more) systems. Interpreting the changing names of God based on the relation with the God of Israel, is (only) one explanation, but it may be one of the best

Topics: Godgeleerdheid, Jona, gebruik van godsnamen, godsnamen
Year: 2008
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