January 3, 2018

Jonah 1:3

There are sixteen prophets in the Old Testament who have books named after them. Jonah is the only one who rebels against God. He does so twice. 1:3 describes rebellion #1. God ordered Jonah to deliver a message of judgment to the population of Nineveh. Instead, Jonah hops on a ship heading the opposite way.

Where is Tarshish? No one seems to know. Several Old Testament passages mention this place. Jeremiah 10:9 and Ezekiel 27:12 refer to mining and the refining of metals. Psalm 72:10 says, “Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring him gifts.”

Four places match the two-fold description mentioned above:

1) Tartessus—a city in southwestern Spain. If Jonah intended to get as far away from Nineveh as possible, then Tartessus was that place.

2) Carthage—this port city in North Africa is where many Jewish scholars believe Jonah fled.

3) Sardinia—an ancient Phoenician inscription from around 800 BC suggests Tarshish as a city on this island.

4) Mediterranean Sea—some scholars believe Tarshish has a broader meaning: the open sea. So, Jonah caught any ship headed out to sea, away from Nineveh.