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Purim – A salvation or a pretext?


While still at Sunday School, the Book of Esther from the Bible, was centred around the storyline that Esther had been elevated to the Queenship of King Ahasuerus by God, in anticipation of the impending troubled times to be raised by Haman against the Jews. And the efficient manoeuvrings of Esther and turning of the tables against Haman.

This storyline was undisturbed till I reached college and met a classmate who told me: If the Jews were interested in saving their own lives and properties, where was the need for the Jews to kill 75,000 persons in the Empire of Ahasuerus, whom the Jews perceived to be their enemies and a further 810 in the Citadel of Sushan? Therefore he concluded that it was not salvation that the Jews were seeking from the unalterable decree, wangled by Haman from the King Ahasuerus, but the Jews with the aid of their new found influence through Esther from the King that the Jews exploited to their benefit by annihilating, probably their business rivals and probably the lenders who had lent money to the Jews inside and outside the Citadel of Sushan.

The line of reasoning forwarded had a ring of truth to it, but I couldn’t rebut it on facts. Rather my sense of Liberty had not matured enough then to gently add facts into the gaps of the story, as he had inserted with unobtrusive elan.

But had I read the Book of Esther a little carefully, with a lot of reading of the Histories of Herodotus in the background, I’d probably have found out the reason as to why the Jews had killed 76,310 of their enemies on that day – in which according to the first decree they should have been the victims.

The answer is that Haman’s indignation towards Mordecai was NOT SEEN by Haman as one between him and the individual Mordecai. This is reflected in the third chapter where Haman decided to not just eliminate the ‘arrogant’ individual Mordecai, who refused to wish Haman in deference to Haman’s higher entitlement in the table of precedence, but Haman wanted to kill Mordecai’s people. In furtherance of his plans Haman had arranged for 10,000 talents of silver to the treasury of King Ahasuerus.

The question is whose silver was that? Why were the Jews as a people hated in the realm of Ahasuerus?

Haman had been promoted to the position of Chief among the Princes almost 7 years after Ahasuerus became the King. And the decree was passed in the 12 th year of the reign of Ahasuerus, which means that it happened almost five years after Esther had become the queen and likewise Haman had also been elevated to the position around the same time.

Esther would have also stabilised her position and would have had enough information of the system.

If we remember, Mordecai had warned Esther NOT TO TELL ANYONE THAT SHE WAS A JEWESS.

Why did Mordecai tell her to be cagey about her stock? Was it because he was apprehensive of the fact that the Jews were those enslaved by the Babylonians and somewhat redeemed only after the arrival of the Persian/Medes? And hence wanted to avoid the stigma of an enslaved lot? I guess not.

If we read Ezra, Cyrus, the grandfather of Ahasuerus, from his mother’s side, had decreed for restoration of the Temple at Jerusalem at least forty years before this event took place. Therefore, it can be reasonably presumed that Jews had by then found favour during the intervening reign of the Persian king Darius before Ahasuerus became king in his stead.

The Jews must have become wealthy, as lending money on usury was not prohibited by their law to people other than their brother Jews! But a wealthy moneylender attracts negativity more than any other professional – as the perception was that Jews could recover their interest and their capital with sternness and efficiency – which is a nightmare to any wayward borrower.

I have reason to believe that Haman must have had a private deal with all those people who had borrowed monies from the Jews and conspired with such borrowers and enriched himself by granting a mechanism to write off their debts to the Jews en bloc.

That is how Haman got his 10000 talents of silver – not a mean sum considering the fact that Herodotus says that some of the vassal states were assessed to only 10,000 talents of silver.

Haman had made a devious plan to get rid of all the Jews who had lent amounts to others by casting Pur, which returned the 13 th day of the twelfth month.

It was these rebellious borrowers who were probably attacked and killed by the Jews as they had conspired and paid huge sum in silver to Haman.

I feel that it was truly a salvation for the Jews to recover their outstanding capital lent to others in the realm of Ahasuerus. This, I believe that Purim is not a pretext but a true story of salvation through self help. No wonder the word God doesn’t appear in the Book of Esther.

Unparalleled Thuglaq‼️


This was a dynasty which was set up by Ghiyassudin Thuglaq and the second ruler in the dynasty was Mohammed Bin Thuglaq.

When the second king in the dynasty ruled the predominant part of India, then in the 14 th century, he undertook a study tour of India- the territories in the present day India which had accepted his suzerainty.

After going through his study tour, this Thuglaq arrived at one of the self discovered principles which he cogitated upon.

During his visits to the towns and villages in India, he noticed that the cows were fed well with cotton seeds and oil-extracted cakes for the milk that was taken out of the cows. Many families made a living out of it. But he also noticed that there were bulls, which had not been made into oxen which were roaming the streets of the villages and towns and were also having a good life though apparently, they had not contributed to the economy of the country. So this Thuglaq, the second in this dynasty, called Mohammed Bin Thuglaq came to a conclusion that these bulls which were roaming around unmolested had to be not just marginalised but has to be decimated.

When Thuglaq voiced his opinion in this matter, he was informed by his courtiers that these bulls were all temple bulls and were gifted by their owners and people revered them and gave it bananas and other eatables from time to time, as such this ‘idea’ of decimating those bulls were undesirable.

It was further informed that these bulls were let loose as nobody wanted to take up the burden of feeding these unproductive bulls. The Second Thuglaq thought, why privilege these bulls when the oxen which have not only gone through the process of painful gelding and also involved in human affairs as draught animals on a day to day basis.

But there were a resentful lot of advisors to this Second Thuglaq who encouraged him to fulfil his resolution and pass a firman that in a given day, all the bulls roaming in the streets are to be impounded and killed and their carcasses disposed of as manure to the fields.

The firman was issued and on a given day all the bulls in India were impounded and slaughtered and disposed of as commanded.

Mohammed Bin Thuglaq was very happy that there was no cattle which was feeding in his country which did not do any apparent work.

The second Thuglaq went back to Delhi, as he had not thought of shifting his capital to Daulatabad by then.

Happily he went to his harem and was sporting with the women in his harem, when not long after the execution of his firman, he heard a lot of mooing by cows in the vicinity. He quickly called his vizier and asked for the reason for such incessant mooing.

The Grand vizier returned after verifying and told the Sultan: My Matchless Sultan, the cows have come to heat and there are no bulls left in the country to cover them. Hence this incessant mooing.

The Sultan asked the Grand Vizier: why did you not tell me that when I ordered all the bulls to be executed?

The Grand vizier replied: My matchless Sultan, you convinced us that these bulls have been having a good time without contributing to the economy of the country. As you are more pleased with people who are aligned with your ideas, none ever thought of weighing the pros and cons of those decisions. Hence our minds never went that far. In fact in our Court we do not have a Devil’s Advocate – a person who views the decisions from the other point of view, as you had consistently eliminated those voices of restraint as voices of dissent.

The Sultan was stunned, he said to himself even though my ideas were for the good of the Nation, why should such things happen?

He called his scribes and told them to proclaim that bulls from Europe – the fresians and the Belgian breeds had been ordered to be imported so that there would be two bulls of such breed in every village and maintained at the cost of the Delhi Sultanate.

The people read the proclamation and were exhilarated at the far reaching acumen of the Mohammed Bin Thuglaq, the Second in the Thuglaq dynasty. The people were very happy and they were waiting for those Fresian, Belgian and other European bulls to arrive. Meanwhile, his scribes were told to let loose another idea that these bulls which sire would bring about calves, which when they become cows ( if they became one) would give them a triple yield of milk. The Sultan called those dead bulls as nondescript bulls. The people got accustomed to the mooing of the cows with a fervent hope that the Fresian and Belgian bulls would arrive anytime.

The effect was that the cows went barren and the prices of milk shot up, till the male calves became bulls by the next three years and got into the field of its forebear bulls- The nondescript bulls.

Still the Sultan never consulted those voices of restraint and still called them the voices of dissent.

The rest of the history as to how the Second Sultan of the Thuglaq dynasty shifted his capital to Daulatabad; how he made copper coins out of the silver coins are well known.

Judgment unto Victory


What is the true meaning of this phrase from the Bible and how could it be edifyingly interpreted in consonance with the Scriptures?

Matt 12:20

20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

John 8:15 & 16

15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

Judgement is determination of the superiority of a claim over another, a position over another, the intrinsic value over another, a right over another right, a person over another, or for that matter any situation over another. A judgement is by a Peer. Jesus by having served the Will of the Father in the flesh and having succeeded in the Flesh as Jesus, had become the only one to be called a Peer to human beings yet the Son of God from the beginning.

God the Father, when He judged man, He had gone by the compliance of the Commandments and judgement was bound to follow, unless a Righteous man were to intercede on behalf of the delinquent or the people themselves repented upon self-contrition or upon being preached to.

In the Old Testament, there were instances where God sent his angels to intimate Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; had there been those number of righteous souls as Abraham thought, probably the cities would have been spared. The people of Nineveh were spared when they repented. When Hezekiah was intimated of his imminent death, his prayers for extension of his life was granted even before Isaiah could leave the palace gates of the King Hezekiah. When King Solomon sacrificed to elicit the attention of God, God appears and grants Solomon his request and more. When Gideon was threshing clandestinely keeping his activity from the eyes of the Midianites, an angel is sent to call him a mighty man of valour. Therefore God the Father was attracted by DEVOTION TO HIM; IMPORTUNATE PLAINTS TO HIM; REPENTANCE & CONTRITION OF HEART. Essentially Man had to connect to God.

This changes with the advent of Jesus. God connects to man.

But God cannot connect from the heavens, He has to subject Himself to the liabilities and the constraints of human living. The curse that entered into the world had to be gone through, yet without being tainted by the evil. A person of perfection was required to both measure up and intercede with God the Father, who had been through the plight of man in those cursed circumstances and yet had remained untainted and DONE THE WILL OF THE FATHER. Only such a person would be worthy to break that curse through His intercession.

Jesus’ Life and teachings are an example on his perfection. A doubting Thomas would not have stayed with a person of dubious dealings; a greedy Judas would not have committed suicide had Jesus not been up to the reputation he was ascribed with. Thomas and Judas were there representing our scepticism and our suicidal provocations. The former was told: Blessed are those who have not seen yet believed and thereby we are all Blessed. Jesus who had said that one has to be pure in heart to see God, carves out a large exception to those who believe in Him (Matt 5:8). Belief takes the place of the Purity in Heart.

Jesus by having intimated Himself with the curse of man and yer having overcome Life successfully, was made the Judge of mankind.

So Jesus judges and it does not remain as a record in the books of the Father, but sends human beings to the Victory podium.

The verse according to me means that though we as human beings might have reached the end of all our capabilities, and become broken and therefore useless, or have lost our fire and enveloped with ashes which are bound to smother the embers of our lives, Jesus resuscitates us and send us to the Podium of Victory, just because we put our complete FAITH in Him.

That I think is sending Judgement to Victory.

Ineffability of Epiphanies!


Whether we like it or not, certain experiences which are either exceptional or derived through a deeper understanding CANNOT BE CONVEYED through words.

Many years back I’d concocted a fable to prove that point and how words are poor conveyors of deeper Truths. The following link would lead to that fable of mine.

https://movid.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/rhino-the-lion-cub/

Now that we as human beings are globally under the threat of the Covid 19 virus; and also aware that the problem is not just confined to some part of the globe but that the problem could tap at our doors has led us to an undesirable and undesired experience of fear and trepidation. We have no certainty of the course of the virus and its impact on us. But hopefully, we are under some deep seated belief that this pestilence would be contained and in due course overcome with prophylactic vaccines.

And after we overcome, in another twenty years, a generation would crop up oblivious to the trepidation this generation had been through and would be raised by every parent sparing their kids from those deep seated fears.

Yet, though I detest to wish a knowledge through an undesirable experience, it is the Will if God which would determine which generation and when they have to be taught that, like a lion cub tough raised as the King of the Forest, there are animals more powerful against which the kings are impotent and avoidance is the only option.

I hope mankind, though endowed with more resources than most other animals, creatures, organisms and viruses would still reckon that it is MODESTY IN THOUGHT & ATTITUDE coupled with compassion which should be integrated into their consciousness as human limits have been severely exposed through covid19.

The world was labouring under a misbelief that if we avoid wars, we could save the world from any calamity of mankind, but it is no more about wars but it is about modesty in thought; austerity in action and preparedness in anticipation of difficult situations which would save mankind.

The prayer of Jonah.


There is no history of any other person who had prayed from the belly of a big fish and survived to narrate the experience, except for Jonah.

Preachers have belittled Jonah in the altar of self-righteousness, stating that he was not of the standard of Abraham, who obeyed God even to the extent of taking his only legitimate son Isaac to the mount for sacrifice.

Obedience to the extent of putting one’s own life and property in line is distinctly different from being obedient to the Word of God in matters concerning directions to prophesy against peoples and kings. It really did not go down well with Isaiah when he prophesied against Manasseh.

Elijah, despite his tremendous zeal after a point, could NOT withstand the onslaught of the political hounding let loose by Jezebel and Ahab. Elijah’s prayer is no less diffident than Jonah’s, towards the end. Yet Elijah’s chutzpah in challenging the worshippers of Baal, knowing fully well the unstinted patronage of the de facto ruler of Israel, Jezebel, is unparalleled.

Yet, Jonah, though classified as a ‘minor prophet’ by the writers for easy slotting, have led the Bible reading public to relegate Jonah to the sidelines of the prophets.

Had not Jesus mentioned Jonah in those two significant instances conveyed in the Gospels, Jonah would have remained a footnote to the Christian understanding of the Hebraic tradition of prophets.

Yet, Jonah’s testimony had a ring of truth to whatever he said.

Firstly, Jonah was chosen by God himself and no substitute was nominated, like in the case of Elijah. God tells the disgruntled Elijah to anoint his successor Elisha; but here Jonah was nominated and God pursued Jonah and made Jonah accomplish the mission to the great satisfaction of God. Maybe Jonah’s attempted truancy, diffidence and reluctance might be a stumbling block for humans to set him up as an example, but we should also consider why God did not relent and made only Jonah complete the task?

I’m sure that Jonah had the skills of an eminent speaker who could bring out the immediacy of the impending calamity and also make the people to repent, otherwise Jesus would not have compared Himself and said that one greater than Jonah was there about Jesus himself. Almighty God, in the flesh as Jesus, who was before Abraham was, certifies of Jonah – a no mean certification.

Besides this comparison, rather a contrast, Jesus says that there would be no sign given except that the Son of Man would be in the hades for three days and three nights like Jonah was in the belly of the fish.

The sanctification of Jonah was complete. So why did Jesus exalt the stay of Jonah in the belly of the fish?

When Jonah was swallowed up by the big fish, the finality through Death, which Jonah preferred to the travel to Nineveh, did not happen. Jonah was swallowed whole. Jonah was in a situation where death could be preferred – Jonah did not faint but was fully conscious. For a human being, the most terrible situation is when – one doesn’t know where one is; one doesn’t know any way out; one doesn’t have any Hope for anything and the only Hope could be a long drawn out death or a remote possibility of divine intervention for relief. Jonah finally faced a situation where his preferred destination of Death was not only denied to him but he had to experience the ordeal with full consciousness, solitarily and hopelessly.

It is at this moment that Jonah prays to God and comes up with gems distilled for mankind.

No man could have been distressed to that extent that Jonah was. Jesus, who would have seen that, while still with the Father, compares His stay in the Hades for those three days and nights with that of the stay of Jonah – and we belittle Jonah’s experience by denominating him derogatorily as a ‘minor’ prophet? Who are we to judge Jonah, he was another man’s servant and he rose in the estimation of his Master.

I am compelled to repeat portions of the prayer of Jonah:

“I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

(Pl. read my blog : https://movid.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/lying-vanities/ )

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”

Today, this world that we know and still continue to think we know, is confronted with COVID 19 and we are all locked down. Yet we have human interaction, electronic connectivity, hope that a cure would be invented, fervent hope that a vaccine would be concocted for future protection; but Jonah had NO ASSURANCE WHATSOEVER. Jonah was locked down not knowing where he was, whether he would live, if so how long; would he ever get back to where he once was… and the hopeless fears were endless. Those three days would have been the most endless passage of Time in Jonah’s consciousness.

It is in those circumstances that Jonah understands many distilled Truths and embedded it in his prayer. There could not have been a more authentic prayer in distress except for the prayers of Jesus Christ both in the cross as well as in the Gethsemane.

The greatest realisation of human existence is realisation of his own insignificance; followed by an AFFIRMATION that one will follow God and BE obedient to His will.

Jonah’s second excerpted passage relates to Human Understanding and the paradigms with which one lives in the comfort of those perceptions. Jonah recognises the falsity of it. Man needs Mercy and not vain formulae.

The third excerpted portion relates to a PERSONAL ASSERTION that one would Praise God; perform the vows with a RESOLUTE BELIEF that Salvation CAN come only from God.

These prayers of Jonah are totally relevant for us in today’s scenario. There might be over-beliefs like :THIS TOO SHALL PASS, but we should be conscious of the unknown time limit each mortal is subjected to and therefore should not be dragged into all these nice little pithy sayings, which are Timeless.

Therefore, it is time to seek His Mercy and stop following the Lying Vanities from the assumed comfort of our flawed perceptions.

Shipmaster’s God in Jonah’s ship.


The words of the Shipmaster of the ship bound for Tarshish from Joppa, carrying as one of its passengers Jonah, said the following, as is narrated in the first chapter of the Book of Jonah:

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

The Shipmaster found Jonah slumbering on the side of the lowest part of the ship he was travelling wilfully unmindful of the terrible storm the ship was caught up in.

Jonah had resigned to his fate, he was feeling guilty that the storm had brewed because of his disobedience to God’s command that he go to Nineveh. Instead he had taken this ship bound for Tarshish.

The Shipmaster was probably an atheist or a secular person as is evidenced from the statement. He tells Jonah: Call upon THY GOD. This is because the Shipmaster either thought that there would be GREATER SINCERITY IN THE PARTICIPATION IN THE PRAYERS OF THE HUMAN BEING, if each were to call his own God, instead of the God of the Shipmaster.

The Shipmaster was lost, he had no specific idea to counter the storm. The storm in the middle of the sea was raging beyond his capacity to steer the ship. Goods had been jettisoned to lighten the ship. All human efforts had been exhausted. The lives of all the passengers and the very survival of the ship was at stake.

That is when he realises that there could be a force majeure situation which could be corrected by someone other than himself or the efforts of his crew. The Shipmaster does not bring in an idol like Nebuchadnezzar and place it on the deck and tell the passengers to fall prostrate or pray to the God he had brought on the ship or even to the God, in whom he probably believed.

The Shipmaster says: CALL UPON THY GOD.

It is that sincere prayer by each, which was sought and expected by the Shipmaster. Had he compelled gently by coaxing the passengers through subterfuge that the idol the Shipmaster had brought was capable of saving the ship and its people, many would not have believed. There would have been no unity of purpose. It is that dispersion which the shipmaster didn’t want. A true Leader of men.

The reason is that there is a deep-rooted Faith in each. In those moments, it is the Faith one holds which is called out. If we believe in Humanism, we have to appreciate the Shipmaster who had the good sense to instruct the passengers to call upon their God and not to call upon the god whom the Shipmaster believed in. In simpler terms it was not the time for evangelism – the urgency of the situation demanded a mature approach.

The shipmaster does not use plural also, as in dire and dangerous situations where Time is running out, a certain SINGULARITY seizes the mind and the mind latches on to that one Faith, which is the ultimate repository of one’s beliefs. At that point the mind loses all its distributive nature – a peace-time pastime – and finds Singularity. In mathematical terms a Function suddenly takes an Infinite value.

It was that Singularity of purpose that the Shipmaster was aiming at. The Shipmaster had the maximum at stake – besides the lives of his passengers, the Ship too had to be saved from the disaster.

Passengers who were on board did not ask him, neither is there a record to say that the passengers asked him as to why they should pray when he is going to be the greatest beneficiary? Once the storm is past the Shipmaster may have the maximum CROWING RIGHTS, yet none dared to ask, as the situation was of one’s own life or death – each was holding on to one’s own life.

When all the prayers failed, they hit upon an Idea- the most erroneous idea that someone must be guilty within the ship and therefore the storm had been caused because of that person, but fortunately, without arbitrarily naming the delinquent, in this ship a lot was cast to determine who that ‘trigger person’ was.

It is nothing new, Moses, Joshua and many others had ‘detected’ the persons who triggered those unpleasant situations, usually after a defeat in a battle or the start of a plague. Human beings introspect when calamities strike them.

The lot is drawn.

It happens to be Jonah.

The same Jonah to whom the shipmaster had said: Pray to thy God.

Did Jonah pray? There is no evidence to show that he prayed fervently for the storm to subside. But when his name turns up, he boldly tells the people that the storm would subside if he were jettisoned out of the ship. Jonah thought that he would end his life and be done with the directions he had received from God.

But Salvation had to come to Nineveh, to the ship, to the passengers – and Jonah too!

But the Shipmaster was a great human being – he said PRAY TO THY GOD. I presume, it was that Wisdom which helped him unite the spiritual forces within the storm battered ship and made the passengers come up with the idea of casting lot. But God had already reckoned whose name would turn up. Whether the decision to cast lots wise or foolish, the die was cast – against Jonah, but by hindsight in favour of the people of Nineveh.

JONAH – Wrong question, but the Right answer‼️


Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. Jonah ch 1 The Bible

This was the conclusion arrived at by the mariners in the ship that was sailing from Joppa to Tarshish, when it was caught up in a storm. Prophet Jonah was one of the passengers of that ship.

The premise was a deep rooted belief, especially by the Captain of the ship, who instead of steering the ship in times of trouble using his skill, knowledge and resources, had arrived at a ‘belief’ that the turbulence of the seas surrounding his ship was caused by a human being, who was present in the ship when it was caught in the storm.

Based on that belief, the mariners and all the other passengers, including the merchants had arrived at a conclusion that the causal creature (a passenger) had to be firstly identified.

Prior to this, the mariners, as mentioned in the Bible probably included the whole lot of travellers in the ship, had taken action by firstly wailing and supplicating to their gods, hoping probably that they and their merchandise would be saved. When their mere prayers went unanswered and the storm showed no signs of abating, probably at the instance of the “shipmaster”, the merchants and passengers started throwing overboard the merchandise on a belief that the lightening of the ship would save the ship and their lives at least. Quite logical, considering the fact that the ship would float higher and consequently the billows would have to be higher if the ship were to be still drowned by those stormy waves. That marginal reduction of the risk is understandable and reasonably scientific. In my layman’s understanding the plimsoll line would have gone up better and the risk of keeling over considerably reduced.

The observing part of their brains did NOT get the desired result. Their initial action of merely praying but salvaging their merchandise gratuitously being of no avail, decided to throw the merchandise overboard. Even that did not bring down the storm. Following is the relevant excerpt:

“the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.”

But in all this commotion and finally engulfed with a fear for their own lives, the shipmaster is taking rounds to identify if he could do something which might further lighten the ship and he chances upon a man sleeping peacefully on the sides of the ship. The Captain – as I would like to dignify him, a democratically inclined man- rouses Jonah and chides him thus:

What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

The Captain is still under the belief that everything humanly possible had been done and PRAYERS probably by each passenger might alter the external turbulence of the storm. There’s no evidence that Jonah followed his instructions. Jonah could NOT ASK GOD. The clearest sign of an unrepented sinner. Cain could not ask God for forgiveness, because the sin of fratricide was hanging round his neck. Cain could only ask God for eliminating the paranoia, the unremitted sin still underlying his consciousness. Such was the case of Judas Iscariot, who could NOT seek repentance for his behaviour as his conscience was still laden with guilt.

Jonah had on the other hand been raised on a belief that sins OUGHT TO BE PUNISHED, come what may. Probably his premise had kept him within the banks of righteousness and but he also prescribed the same exacting standards to the people he preached to. Further, Jonah did not believe that the judgement HAS TO BE LEFT TO GOD- Jonah believed that the consequences of action should follow willy nilly. Secondly, Jonah believed that if he pronounced a consequence to certain behaviour, in consonance with the scriptures, there should no Mercy be applied by God despite repentance by the guilty person. Jonah believed that the punishment SHOULD BE INFLICTED. In fact he says that as a reason to God and how God’s Mercy would interfere in his prophetic credibility.

When Jesus says that one greater than Jonah was here, Jesus was referring to Himself as a sinless person – who in the flesh was not only sinless but also submitting to the will of the Father. That is why, when John & James sought Jesus’ permission to bring down fire from heaven like Elijah, Jesus says at Luke 9:

55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

That spotlessness alone could beget a response like that. Jesus was sinless and He told his disciples to ignore and move on.

Jonah couldn’t have responded like Jesus did, as he was already imbued in that paradigm of sinful action being followed by punishment, he had not entered the dispensation of Grace. That was heralded by Jesus and Jesus alone.

Thus caught up in this paradigm, Jonah submits himself to the dictates of those passengers and provides his name for the purposes of the lot.

We as Christians are not any superior to Jonah, we also submit ourselves to become a party being named in the lot to be drawn. What a pity – and we believe we are better than Jonah. I shudder when people talk disparagingly, especially the preachers, about Jonah. Even when Jesus compares Himself with some of the best like the temple, or Solomon, Jesus names Jonah therein. We need to develop modesty – spiritual modesty. We can’t talk of our ancestors for their shortcomings disparagingly – even in those days when the dispensation of Grace had NOT DESCENDED they had led a life of probity, which probably was more exacting.

So Jonah, being a prophet of the Almighty God, should have volunteered himself to be offloaded in the middle of the sea even before the lot, believing that he was responsible for the storm – he didn’t. He submitted to the game of chance to be named. But when Jonah’s name came out in the draw, he is convinced that he was the offender and requests them to offload him in the middle of the seas.

That takes us back to the proposition if the line of reasoning of the mariners was right. That is whether “Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.” was right?

I believe that it was wrong because Jonah, a Prophet, if convinced of his own guilt and the consequent divine disapprobation should have volunteered and stepped out to confess his guilt before the mariners, but Jonah did not.

That is when God had to sanctify the outcome of the draw and ensure that Jonah’s name is drawn.

The line of reasoning was wrong – as the outcome under the theory of probability could have gone against anyone else, and if a weak person’s name had turned up, the mariners could have ferreted out his/her guilt and could have been made a SACRIFICIAL LAMB.

That is where God works. God sanctified a wrong question with an appropriate answer. As in the words of Francis Thompson in THE HOUND OF HEAVEN:

From those strong feet that followed, followed after

But with unhurrying chase and unperturbe d pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat, and a Voice beat,

More instant than the feet:

All things betray thee who betrayest me.

……

Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

…….

To all swift things for swiftness did I sue,

Clung to the whistling mane of every wind,

But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,

The long savannahs of the blue,

Or whether, thunder-driven,

They clanged His chariot thwart a heaven,

Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn of their feet,

Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.

Still with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

Came on the following feet, and a Voice above their beat:

Nought shelters thee who wilt not shelter Me.

I sought no more that after which I strayed

In face of Man or Maid.

Jonah had to be pursued and had to be taken to Nineveh, no matter whether the route was wrong, no matter whether the transport was wrong, no matter whether the persons involved were stupid, no matter whether the logic was flawed, or no matter whether the question was wrong – the RIGHT ANSWER ALWAYS TURNS UP. That’s the law ordained by God.

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