Jonah 1:3-10 – A Chiastic Analysis (Revised Version of this Article!)

In this post, I would like to suggest that these exciting verses in the Jonah narrative can (and should!) be analysed chiastically.

The main article, which is a word document, can be accessed by clicking on the link below. It is actually a somewhat expanded version of the original article, and there is one significant change – I now see the captain’s words to Jonah in a much more positive light than in the original article. In fact, it seems that Paul is almost quoting the captain’s words in Eph. 5:14!

Here (below)  is a synopsis of the analysis:

The verses cover the narrative from the point where Jonah flees from the face of Yahweh to when he tells the sailors in the storm-tossed ship that he has fled from the face of Yahweh. It is this inclusio that, I think, gives the key to the structural analysis.

Within this inclusio, we are told that Yahweh has hurled the storm, and this is matched chiastically by Jonah’s testimony to the sailors about Yahweh, the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. At the centre of the chiasm are two contrasting responses by the sailors – one  in which they cry to their gods, and in which they hurl cargo into the sea, and the other in which the captain and the sailors start progressively to approach Yahweh through Jonah: the captain tells Jonah to pray to his God, the sailors start to speak to each other instead of to their false gods , and as a result, throw lots, (an Old Testament “approved” practice!) resulting in their discovery that Jonah holds the key to their dangerous dilemma.

The chiastic structure “works” both thematically, and numerically (i.e. by word count) –  the thematic and word count centres coinciding. This is a helpful check on the likely plausibility of the analysis.

The article is a Word document which can be accessed by clicking on the link below:


PS If you would like me to also  “re-instate” the original article, please let me know and I will be happy to do this! With very best wishes, Stewart.

Categories: Chiastic and Other Structures, Jonah

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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