Jonah assumed that his God could only work in the Land of Israel. He fled abroad, running from his calling to bring God to foreigners in Nineveh. Some also suspect that Jonah feared a foreign people would repent faster than the chosen people.
All national gods at that time were territorial gods, that was a common concept at that time. In the land of Moab, Chemosh was the supreme deity of the Moabites. In Lebanon, Astarte was the deity of the Sidonians. Milkom was the god of the Ammonites, Dagon the national god of the Philistines, whose main temples were in Gaza and Ashdod. And in Eretz Israel reigned the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Adonai (Jehovah – יהוה).
Verses like the following in Deuteronomy 32 give insights into this time, where it says: “For יהוה is part of his people. Jacob is the region of his inheritance.” Israel also stands for the name Jacob, because God gave him that name. From this verse it is understood in the Hebrew Bible that יהוה reigns in the land of His...
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