Jonah Was Kind of a Whinny Little Shit
Making fun of the damn Bible is easy, because talking to snakes and virgin births and resurrecting hundreds of dudes from their bleached skeletons and stuff doesn't make much sense. Don't remember that last one? It's Ezekiel 37. Hey, no problem: I got your back on this random-Bible-story stuff. That's the problem that some ‘religious’ people have -- beyond Adam and Eve, Noah, and the basics of Moses and Jesus, a lot of Christians don't know their Bible stories. And that’s for a good reason: the actual Bible itself is super boring. Seriously, there's an entire book that is supposed to be nothing but literotica, and I swear nothing could leave you less aroused. It is just the worst.
But what the hell, we’re here. Let’s pick apart a Bible story at random. I know! Let's talk about Jonah. He was eaten by a whale. That's hilarious! But not really. Because Jonah actually is super lame, as is his story. And before we get much further and someone complains, yes, I know it depends on your translation; some say "whale", some say "big fish", as if it matters because somehow one is more believable than the other. Right, okay Bible Nerds, whatever. It doesn't matter. We'll pretend your little fantasy actually happened and that a human being wouldn't suffocate/be digested/drown/most likely be chewed up given either possibility. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt mostly because it amuses me. So without further ado…
|This is what Wikipedia says he looked like. Bald and sad. Pathetic.|
God's all pissed off about something, AS USUAL. There's this place called Nineveh. It's the capital of the Assyrians, which wouldn't mean much except that its 3,000 years ago, back when everything was shitty. Apparently there's 120,000 people who lived there, which isn't all that impressive if you ask me (where I live has that many people in it), but back then that was like friggin' New York. As such, I assume they had Broadway and hookers and a high soda tax, and Yahweh loves him his Big Gulp.
So since God couldn't possibly make a complaint in person, he hires a new hobo henchman, Jonah, and he's all "Go to Nineveh, and tell those guys to stop being rad and awesome and having gay pride parades or else I'm gonna smite those muthafuckas with my righteous ass anger and shit!" I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote.
So Jonah is freaked out a bit because, hello, creepy voice in his head telling him to do crazy shit! That is the textbook definition of losing your mind! But hey, when you've already become a crazy person, you might as well start using crazy person logic. A creepy voice in his head was telling him to go to Nineveh, so Jonah decides to head straight in the opposite direction of there. I guess his crazy person plan was to keep running until the voices stopped or something.
God's obviously annoyed by this because God always has to have his way, but the big guy's feeling a bit theatrical today, so he doesn't just bitch more at Jonah or strike him down with lightning or anything. No, God waits for Jonah to get on a boat, because why just terrorize your intended victim when you can terrorize them when they're stuck in a confined space with other people? Excellent!
The boat goes out to sea, doing boat stuff, and then God decides to pummel it with a Hurricane Sandy-level storm. Everyone on the boat starts to freak out because, let’s face it, they're all about to die. Except for Jonah: he’s not freaking out, but that’s because he's asleep below deck. That's right, he's just sleeping through this whole aquatic nightmare until the captain finds him down there and smacks him around for not freaking out enough.
Everyone on the boat is all, "Oh shit, why is this horrible storm happening?!?!" And Jonah is all, "Umm, so yeah, guys, so I might be actively defying the will of God right now." And the crew is all, "Say what?!" and Jonah goes, "Yeah. Sorry about that, you guys." And someone asks, "So if God's attacking us to punish you, what are you gonna do about it?" And Jonah thinks for a minute and says, "I've got it! Maybe if you throw me off this boat into the hellish maelstrom that's bearing down on us, maybe God will give you guys a free pass?" And the crew goes, "Sounds good!"
Now in case you've confused Jonah's actions as, say, a heroic gesture of self-sacrifice, well, that's a nice sentiment. But rest assured that suicidal tendencies are kind of Jonah's whole deal. Also, they don't matter, because God STILL needs Jonah to tell everyone in Nineveh that he's about to smite them all, so he sends a whale/big fish/whatever to swallow Jonah whole. This, uh, this works because the stupid story says it does, in defiance of natural law or a decent understanding of biochemistry.
So after a few days of living inside the large marine mammal/whale shark (I guess?), breathing oxygen that presumably came from somewhere and eating whatever gross shit his new landlord consumes, Jonah is all, "Well, okay, this blows like a 2 dollar hooker, but apparently I am not dead yet, in defiance of all reason. Clearly God still wants me to deliver that message and is willing to just go crazy making his point to me, so... God? It’s me, Jonah. If you stop making my life so completely insane, I guess I'll go tell all those people that you're gonna kill them?"
This works, because of course it does. Oy.
So later, Jonah gets to Nineveh and starts walking around town, just yelling out doom-sayings. Like: "Yo! God's gonna smite you bitches in, like, 6 weeks, if you don't stop being awesome and having bitchin' sex parties and stuff right now!" This, inexplicitly, works like a friggin' charm. In one friggin’ day, everyone in town turns into a super-lame party-pooper right away, including the goddamn king of the city, all because of Jonah’s crazed hobo doom ravings. The King makes a proclamation that "no man, woman, or livestock (???) is allowed to eat or drink anything at all, no one can have fun of any kind, and maybe God won't kill us all?"
Having totally ruined everything for everyone in the city, God- the supposedly kind and just ruler of the universe- finds himself pleased by their suffering, and decides not to kill everyone after all. Now normally, that would be the end of the story, because ending the story with God being an omnipotent jackass is kind of my point with these stories. But wait! It gets better!
Six weeks later, Jonah is still hanging out around Nineveh, where he notices a total lack of abject horror. No one is getting smote AT ALL, and that pisses him off. So he calls out to Yahweh, "Yo, God! This is bullshit! You told me to tell these assholes they were going to die! I knew you'd pussy out! Fuck you, man!"
And God's all, "Whoa, wait, what dude? You were, like, an astonishingly efficient prophet! You got the entire city to stop partying and being rad dudes in, like, a day! Frankly, I'm astounded. Once we got past your- I admit- serious level of bullshit, you were probably the best prophet ever. I've got this other guy, Amos, and man, you make him look like a handicapped orangutan!"
Jonah can't take a compliment though. "Fuck it, you suck, God. Why don't you just kill me?"
And God's like, "What? Why do you want me to kill you?" Because apparently God didn't notice the previously stated suicide wish, which is probably the only reason Jonah stayed in Nineveh in the first place: he wanted to get hate-murdered with the rest of the city.
And Jonah's like, "Just kill me!"
And God's like, "No!"
So Jonah goes and pouts. And then, presumably, everyone in the city dies of malnutrition anyway, because no one told the citizens they passed God’s test. But that's not fully explained in the damn Bible. The end.
... So. Jonah was an amazing prophet, except that he was a total suicidal crybaby who spent a lot of time whining. I mean, yeah, sure, God's an asshole…because he's God. It's expected. But man, Jonah... no one likes a whiner. I was on his side during the whole "avoiding doing what the crazy voices say" thing. But his emo bullshit crying? Oy. "Life’s so hard because no one died like I said they would!" Asshole.
So, there you have it. Jonah isn't really about a whale. Or a big fish. It’s about a little crybaby who actually is making me root for God for once.