By Philip Peter Jenson
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Additional info for Obadiah, Jonah, Micah: A Theological Commentary
Edom’s fate is a powerful proof and pledge that the ultimate day of doom is near. The logic of the entire section is summed up in “As you have done, it shall be done to you,” a statement that applies to Edom the classic lex talionis (see Section E, above). The double use of the same verb in complementary forms (active, then passive; Jer 50:29; Ezek 35:11) represents the logic of judgment through grammar as well as content. Edom is responsible for its actions, but must suffer the consequences. “be done” is an example of what is often called the divine passive (cf.
26 For the LORD saw that the distress of Israel was very bitter; there was no one left, bond or free, and no one to help Israel. 27 But the LORD had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Joash. Jonah is a paradoxical ﬁgure, an eighth-century prophet who announces not judgment but salvation to an evil king of Israel. This puzzling mismatch between calling and commission perhaps ﬁts him for this strange story of a reluctant prophet being sent on a mission of mercy to Nineveh.
The interpretation of stories can be didactic, but this takes place within a broader theological framework and the speciﬁc cultural context of the interpreter. This may be seen in studies of the later interpretation of Jonah (Bickerman 1967; Sherwood 1997; 1998). The main value of the “story” classiﬁcation may simply be to prevent a reader being misled by interpreting it too narrowly as one of the genres discussed above. It also alerts us to the literary features of the book (Wolff 1975, 29–58; Magonet 1983; Trible 1994).