The Meaning Of Jonah In the Bible

Jonah and the Dove

Israel Institute of Biblical Studies

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In addition to the fish, the other animal in the Book of Jonah, is Jonah himself! The name “Jonah” in the original Hebrew is יוֹנָה yonah and means “dove.” According to the Bible, the dove “makes its nest at the mouth of a cave” (Jer. 48:28) where it spends its time “moaning mournfully” (Isa. 59:11). This is very reminiscent of the lifestyle of the prophet who lives alone at the fringes of society and devotes his days to prayer and lamentation, urging the people to repent their sins.

Delivering a Message of Hope

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But the dove is also one of the Bible’s most famous symbols of peace and compassion. At the end of the great flood, Noah sent out a dove to explore the earth: “when the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth” (Gen. 8:11). Like the dove, Jonah was sent to deliver a divine message of hope and reconciliation.

Return to the Source of Scripture

Doves are complicated. They are timid, mournful creatures who spend their time cooing alone in dark caves. But in times of tragedy, they come out of the dark and provide great hope to those in need. The prophet Jonah was not a perfect individual, but like the dove he was named for, he succeeded in delivering God’s Word to the people. Enroll today in our live, online Biblical Hebrew course so that you can receive the authentic Word of God in its original form.

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