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Jonah 3:8

Context
3:8 Every person and animal must put on sackcloth and must cry earnestly 1  to God, and everyone 2  must turn from their 3  evil way of living 4  and from the violence that they do. 5 

Jonah 3:10

Context
3:10 When God saw their actions – they turned 6  from their evil way of living! 7  – God relented concerning the judgment 8  he had threatened them with 9  and he did not destroy them. 10 

1 tn Heb “with strength”; KJV, NRSV “mightily”; NAB, NCV “loudly”; NIV “urgently.”

2 tn Heb “let them turn, a man from his evil way.” The alternation between the plural verb וְיָשֻׁבוּ (vÿyashuvu, “and let them turn”) and the singular noun אִישׁ (’ish, “a man, each one”) and the singular suffix on מִדַּרְכּוֹ (middarko, “from his way”) emphasizes that each and every person in the collective unity is called to repent.

3 tn Heb “his.” See the preceding note on “one.”

4 tn Heb “evil way.” For other examples of “way” as “way of living,” see Judg 2:17; Ps 107:17-22; Prov 4:25-27; 5:21.

5 tn Heb “that is in their hands.” By speaking of the harm they did as “in their hands,” the king recognized the Ninevites’ personal awareness and immediate responsibility. The term “hands” is either a synecdoche of instrument (e.g., “Is not the hand of Joab in all this?” 2 Sam 14:19) or a synecdoche of part for the whole. The king's descriptive figure of speech reinforces their guilt.

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

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

8 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.

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

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



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