Traditionally  on Yom Kippur the story of Jonah is read out to remind us of God’s mercy.

Jonah goes to Nineveh

Jonah goes to Nineveh settings quality on our screen is best on 240p but may differ on different screens and can be adjusted on bottom right of screen by adjusting the little wheel next to youtube symbol on the left

Jonah goes to Nineveh

When GOD told Jonah to go to Nineveh to give the inhabitants a chance to save themselves, Jonah tried to run away from the task that he had been given. So much so that he didn’t really care if he would live or die as long as he did not have to tell the wicked people in Nineveh that they could be saved.

As far as he was concerned they were bad people who deserved what was coming to them and he was not prepared to help save them from their fate.

Jonah tried without much success to hide from GOD; he was thrown out of the boat, swallowed by the whale, spat out on the beach and eventually did as he was told.

Jonah sulked when people were forgiven

Soon after Jonah delivered his message to the people of Nineveh they felt bad enough about their wicked deeds to ask GOD to forgive them. And GOD forgave them. This made Jonah even more upset than he had been before and he went to sulk outside of the city in the shade and told GOD, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah wished death upon himself because he was so very angry that GOD forgave wicked people after they asked him for forgiveness.

Jonah experienced GOD’s compassion himself when he was forgiven after running away from GOD. And when he consequently was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a whale and yet lived. GOD even grew Jonah a large plant to shade him from the hot sun whilst Jonah was feeling sorry for himself. Yet Jonah struggled to understand why GOD would forgive evil people even though they showed some measure of remorse for their bad deeds.

Jonah felt sorry for a plant which withered but couldn’t forgive people who showed remorse after they had done the wrong thing.

GOD is merciful and responds to remorse

Jonah said “I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.”

The book of Jonah teaches us about God’s mercy and is read in its entirety during the Feast of Yom Kippor which is the day of atonement as mentioned in the bible.

Jonah – A Lesson in Compassion by Rabbi Dr Greg Killian

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian tells us in his study “Jonah – a lesson in compassion” that “Yonah son of Amittai was the son of the widow from Tzorphath with whom Elijah the prophet stayed during the years of famine, and that it was this boy that Elijah revived.”

Yonah’s mother was from the tribe of Asher, and his father from Zevulun.

Amittai is derived from the Hebrew word: ‘emet’, meaning truth. From this we understand that Jonah (Yonah means dove in Hebrew) is a man of truth. Truth, as Jonah understands it, demands that evil never be overlooked; evil must be punished. Jonah is the “son of truth”, a man of unbending commitment to the truth. This may explain Jonah’s stance that evil must be punished. He was struggling to comprehend GOD’s compassion for evil people even though he experienced GOD’s mercy himself.

The story of Jonah teaches us to be compassionate towards one and other.

Jesus said, blessed are the merciful because they shall obtain mercy.


– This post about Jonah was first posted on June 24 last year and
reposted today because of the Holy Day of Yom Kippur coming up next week. –


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Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak …

The second time

There are only a few occasions in the bible where heaven and earth are called as witnesses. This is one of these occurrences. You can find another couple here.

Moses calls upon the heavens and the earth to be witnesses

The prophet Moses calls upon the heavens and the earth to be witnesses to his speech before God’s people will enter the promised land. The second time that the words ‘live for ever’ are mentioned in the bible is when both the heavens and the earth are called as witnesses by the prophet Moses. He says,

Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth …

Moses, just before his death, continues to address all of God’s chosen and reminds them that our God is a just God and one of truth. Moses reminds the people that God made and saved his people and led them through the wilderness despite the people being perverse and corrupt. God did so alone without any other gods beside him.

Yet the people rewarded God’s kindness by sacrificing their children unto devils and strange gods.
Moses then prophesises that God will punish the lawbreakers and those without faith and He will reward those that hate Him.

It is suggested that in the day of judgment those people call upon their gods for help and ask for their statues and images to rise up and help and protect them.

It is your life

Moses tells the people that their Maker is pretty peeved with the mediocre loyalty and faithfulness He receives in return for the fierce loyalty and protection He gives to his people always.

Moses finishes his speech and prophesy by saying that our life depends upon following God’s law and we are to tell our children to do the same.

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me:
I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal:
neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say,

I live for ever …

Command your children to observe to do,
all the words of this law.
For it is not a vain thing for you;
because it is your life …

This is the second time in scripture that the words ‘live for ever’ are mentioned.

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