Did Jonah Meet Yeshua??

So, I’m studying and preparing to teach a segment on the Memra to a group during their Sukkot gathering.  It is an invitation I am excited about, particularly because they asked me to briefly share on one of my favorite topics, the Memra, and because at least half of the guests are NOT Messianic, but from local churches!  What an opportunity to display the Messiah through Judaic eyes to potential seekers.  May their eyes be opened!

Anyway, I had my whole powerpoint presentation finished and was doing some random browsing in Scripture when I was drawn back to a passage I read a few days ago.  Then something popped off the page!

Jon 1:1 Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Jon 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah; and he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah.

WOW!!  Did that just say what I think it said??

The word of Jehovah‘ said….  And then Jonah flees from ‘the presence?!?’

We know that there are so many other places in Scripture where the Angel of the Lord comes and speaks the words of the Father, and we know that there are dozens and dozens of places in the Targumim where personifications of Yehovah are translated as ‘the Word of the Lord.’

Did Jonah speak with and run from the physical presence of pre-incarnate Yeshua?

What are your thought?

Author: Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!

10 thoughts on “Did Jonah Meet Yeshua??”

  1. It would probably be helpful to have the verses rendered in the Hebrew since oft times what appears one way in English, when reinserted in its original context, seems quite different. I have to say that I’m a very conservative Bible student and unless the use of the word “Word” (in Hebrew) can unequivocally be shown to mean Messiah (in the sense of John 1:1 and 1:14), then I don’t think it’s a “slam dunk”. Ever since Yeshua was compared to Melchizedek in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrew Roots has attempted to see a “pre-incarnate Jesus” in the Torah and the Prophets. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’d have to see a lot more evidence supporting this contention. From my point of view, the opening phrase in the book stating, “And the word of Hashem came to Jonah…” (translation taken from the Stone Edition Tanakh) more likely means that Jonah heard the words, “Arise! Go to Nineveh…” and so on, given the context. This fits the other encounters prophets had with God and to the best of my knowledge, it’s never even been suggested that it was typical or even likely that the prophets of the Tanakh received their words from “the Word made flesh” as opposed to Hashem.

    The most likely meaning of Jonah 1:1 is that Jonah heard from God the way every other prophet heard from God with no Messianic significance.

    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but when it comes to exegesis, I think it’s better to be cautious than enthusiastic.


    1. Jon 1:1 ויהיH1961 דברH1697 יהוהH3068 אלH413 יונהH3124 בןH1121 אמתיH573 לאמר׃H559

      The rabbinic understanding of the Memra is so closely related to Mashiach you can’t slip a cigarette paper between them. It is demonstrated in all of the Targumim. A simple search of Onkelos or Yonatan for ‘word of the Lord’ and you will find that phrase substituted over and over for the Hebrew word ‘YHWH.’

      The Hebrew above clearly states, ‘The word of the Lord came…saying,’ And then Jonah flees ‘the presence.’ I think the CJB supports that as well as dozens of translations equal to the Chumash.

      Genesis 1:27, as an example, ties the Memra and ‘the presence.’

      Genesis 1:27, from Targum JERUSALEM. “And the Word of the Lord created man in His likeness, in the likeness of the presence of the Lord He created him, the male and his yoke-fellow He created them.”

      This is not me, this is the Rabbis. You say that I cannot selectively read the rabbis, but the shoe is now on the other foot… 😉

      Have you read any of my other posts on the Memra? http://natsab.com/?s=memra


      1. 100 years before jesus, if someone read the passages you are referring to in Jonah, would they come to the same conclusion you are implying?


      2. I do not know if there is an Aramaic translation of Yonah like the Targumim. If there is, it would be interesting to compare. Certainly, the Rabbinic understanding of the Memra, while diverse, would point to a ‘physical Presence’ at points.

        A book you may be challenged by, written by Rabbi Itzhak Shapira, is ‘The Return of the Kosher Pig.’ He digs deeply into Talmud, Zohar, and other sources while exploring Rabbinic thought on the Messiah. Very interesting reading!


  2. You still did not answer the question I asked you. If you lived 100 years before jesus, would your reading give you no other choice but to conclude this was talking about the jesus? Or a better way of putting it, if an atheist read Jonah, would they conclude that it was referring to or even implying jesus?


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