I don’t know why it bothers me that the Apostle Paul never cited the Book of Jonah in defense of his Gentile mission, but it does. When I was taking my biblical Hebrew sequence in seminary we chose Jonah for our exegetical exercises. I had to write a couple papers on the book as well as a half dozen translation assignments. By the end of the semester I wrote the following (in “Exegetical Exposition of Jonah 4”, p. 10):
Yet Jonah 4 shows that the problem that Jesus sought to address was already apparent
even before the return from exile. Jonah is the Jews par excellence. He boasts in his relationship with YHWH. He sees himself as loyal to the God of the temple. He even sings Psalms (see Jonah 2) regarding YHWH‟s deliverance and mercy. Yet he refuses to announce to the pagan world that YHWH is a God of mercy and grace for all people
I know the Apostle is fond of using characters are represent Israel (i.e. Adam) so why not use Jonah? Would there have been a better representative of a pious Israelite who missed the point? Couldn’t he have slipped a metalepsis into Rom. 9-11 somewhere?!
I guess there is no way to answer this question, but it is one I have had for a long time. Thoughts?