Jonah 1:3-10 – A Chiastic Analysis

In this post, I would like to suggest that these exciting verses in the Jonah narrative can (and should!) be analysed chiastically. 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 Jonah is commanded to do likewise by the ship’s captain) and in which they hurl cargo into the sea, and the other in which they speak to each other, 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:


Categories: Chiastic and Other Structures, Jonah

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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