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Jonah 3:4

Context
3:4 When Jonah began to enter the city one day’s walk, he announced, “At the end of forty days, 1  Nineveh will be overthrown!” 2 

Jonah 3:10

Context
3:10 When God saw their actions – they turned 3  from their evil way of living! 4  – God relented concerning the judgment 5  he had threatened them with 6  and he did not destroy them. 7 

1 tn Heb “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown!” The adverbial use of עוֹד (’od, “yet”) denotes limited temporal continuation (BDB 728 s.v. עוֹד 1.a; Gen 29:7; Isa 10:32). Tg. Jonah 3:4 rendered it as “at the end of [forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown].”

2 tn Heb “be overturned.” The Niphal נֶהְפָּכֶת (nehpakhet, “be overturned”) refers to a city being overthrown and destroyed (BDB 246 s.v. הָפַךְ 2.d). The related Qal form refers to the destruction of a city by military conquest (Judg 7:3; 2 Sam 10:3; 2 Kgs 21:13; Amos 4:11) or divine intervention as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:21, 25, 29; Deut 29:22; Jer 20:16; Lam 4:6; BDB 245 s.v. 1.b). The participle form used here depicts an imminent future action (see IBHS 627-28 §37.6f) which is specified as only “forty days” away.

3 tn This clause is introduced by כִּי (ki, “that”) and functions as an epexegetical, explanatory clause.

4 tn Heb “from their evil way” (so KJV, ASV, NAB); NASB “wicked way.”

5 tn Heb “calamity” or “disaster.” The noun רָעָה (raah, “calamity, disaster”) functions as a metonymy of result – the cause being the threatened judgment (e.g., Exod 32:12, 14; 2 Sam 24:16; Jer 18:8; 26:13, 19; 42:10; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; HALOT 1263 s.v. רָעָה 6). The root רָעָה is repeated three times in vv. 8 and 10. Twice it refers to the Ninevites’ moral “evil” (vv. 8 and 10a) and here it refers to the “calamity” or “disaster” that the Lord had threatened (v. 10b). This repetition of the root forms a polysemantic wordplay that exploits this broad range of meanings of the noun. The wordplay emphasizes that God’s response was appropriate: because the Ninevites repented from their moral “evil” God relented from the “calamity” he had threatened.

6 tn Heb “the disaster that he had spoken to do to them.”

7 tn Heb “and he did not do it.” See notes on 3:8-9.



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