Jonah's preaching

Dear all,
I came across an interesting fact on the holy Bible in Coptic Facebook page. I think an admin if I am not mistaken said that in the Septuagint translation and one of the Coptic translations too, Jonah preached to the Nineveh people saying after three days rather than forty the city is going to be destroyed. I'd like to hear more from you about this please..
oujai khan ebshois


  • Here is the Coptic version of Jonah 3:4

    Ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲁϥⲉⲣϩⲏⲧⲥ ⲛ̀ϫⲉ Ⲓⲱⲛⲁ ⲉ̀ϣⲉ ⲉ̀ϧⲟⲩⲛ ⲉ̀ϯⲃⲁⲕⲓ ⲛⲁⲩ ⲫ̀ⲟⲩⲱϣ ⲛ̀ⲟⲩⲙⲱⲓⲧⲙ̀ⲙⲟϣⲓ ⲛ̀ⲧⲉ ⲟⲩⲉ̀ϩⲟⲟⲩ ⲛ̀ⲟⲩⲱⲧ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲁϥϩⲓⲱⲓϣ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲉⲧⲓ ⲕⲉⲅ̅ ⲛ̀ⲉ̀ϩⲟⲟⲩ Ⲛⲓⲛⲉⲩⲏ̀ ⲥⲉⲛⲁⲟⲩⲟϫⲡⲥ.

    Here is the LXX

    καὶ ἤρξατο Ιωνας τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν πόλιν ὡσεὶ πορείαν ἡμέρας μιᾶς καὶ ἐκήρυξεν καὶ εἶπεν ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι καὶ Νινευη καταστραφήσεται

    The Hebew 
    3:4 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex
    וַיָּ֤חֶל יֹונָה֙ לָבֹ֣וא בָעִ֔יר מַהֲלַ֖ךְ יֹ֣ום אֶחָ֑ד וַיִּקְרָא֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר עֹ֚וד אַרְבָּעִ֣ים יֹ֔ום וְנִֽינְוֵ֖ה נֶהְפָּֽכֶת׃
    "And began Jonah to go into the city, journey a of day, and he cried and said Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown

    All English versions based the Mesoretic text (See for a list of parallel English versions) have "forty days". 

    I believe the Syriac and Aramaic Peshitta also have three days. Although I can't find an Peshitta/English version online.

    So all versions except the Hebrew have 3 days. I'd have to do more research to see what the patristics say and what studies have been done on this subject.
  • Thanks @Remenkimi that would be marvellous.. looking forward to that..
    oujai khan ebshois
  •  our priests say '3 days'.

    they are not very worried about the differences.

  • edited February 2015
    It would seem the Septuagint is 3, the Masoretic reads 40. I think the 3 makes more sense in the context of the story than the 40 would anyways. Additionally our own 3 day fast is typically referred to as the "fast of the Ninevites".

    It seems someone as early as St. Justin the Martyr was aware of this,

    "And that He would rise again on the third day after the crucifixion, it is written in
    the memoirs that some of your nation, questioning Him, said, ‘Show us a sign;’ and He
    replied to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and no sign shall
    be given them, save the sign of Jonah.’ And since He spoke this obscurely, it was to be un-
    derstood by the audience that after His crucifixion He should rise again on the third day.
    And He showed that your generation was more wicked and more adulterous than the city
    of Nineveh; for the latter, when Jonah preached to them, after he had been cast up on the
    third day from the belly of the great fish, that after three (in other versions, forty)
    they should all perish, proclaimed a fast of all creatures, men and beasts, with sackcloth,
    and with earnest lamentation, with true repentance from the heart, and turning away from
    unrighteousness, in the belief that God is merciful and kind to all who turn from wickedness;
    so that the king of that city himself, with his nobles also, put on sackcloth and remained
    fasting and praying, and obtained their request that the city should not be overthrown. But
    when Jonah was grieved that on the (fortieth) third day, as he proclaimed, the city was not
    overthrown, by the dispensation of a gourd
    springing up from the earth for him, under
    which he sat and was shaded from the heat (now the gourd had sprung up suddenly, and
    Jonah had neither planted nor watered it, but it had come up all at once to afford him shade),
    and by the other dispensation of its withering away, for which Jonah grieved, [God] convicted
    him of being unjustly displeased because the city of Nineveh had not been overthrown, and
    said, ‘Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest
    it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. And shall I not spare Nineveh,
    the great city, wherein dwell more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern
    between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?’
    St. Justin the Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Chapter CVII. 

  • Very interesting dear @mrpete33, thanks a lot
    oujai khan ebshois
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