October 25, 2011

Jonah 2

Then Joan prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying:

I called to the Lord, out of my distress,
and He answered me.
Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and Thou didst hear my voice.

For Thou didst cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas;
and the flood was round about me;
all Thy waves and billow passed over me.

Then I said, "I am cast out from Thy presence;
how shall I again look upon Thy holy Temple?"

The waters closed in over me;
the deep was round about me.
Weeds were wrapped about my head
at the roots of the mountains.

I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet Thou didst bring up my life from the Pit,
oh Lord my God.

When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord
and my prayer came to Thee,
into Thy holy Temple.

Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to Thee.

What I have vowed I will pay;
deliverance belongs to the Lord!
---

And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the land.

3 Comments:

At 11:22 p.m., Blogger Random Arrow said...

Please forgive my absence. Life has reared an ugly head in my work. Note quite in the belly of any fish. And hope to be back in a day or two.

Jim

 
At 12:33 a.m., Blogger forrest said...

I don't so much "forgive your absence" as rejoice to have you back here, silly person!

Tickle its uvula!

 
At 2:28 p.m., Blogger Random Arrow said...

Amazing. This is quite a beautiful prayer. If agonizing. I didn’t catch the beauty when I wrote earlier in my rush to catch up. I can see how exiles find hope in repentance and renewal of vows. The confession and prayer here feels almost like a national anthem. It reminds me a bit of your poem on your personal website -- the poem about national failings.

I’m suspicious at the same time. Priests have gotten their hands on this. It’s a bit Templ-ish. Even if the post-exilic stuff overlays an earlier saga from the 8th or 7th centuries.

I’m guessing that the feeling of inevitability (Jonah cannot really escape) has something to do with addressing the living hell created by Assyrian oppression. Some oppression cannot be ignored. Or shouldn’t. Ironic to confront Nineveh from a position of captivity. And necessary.

 

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