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T H E S I G N O F J O N A H c h a p t e r 107 “And these Memoirs also testify to the fact of his resurrection from the dead on the third day after the crucifixion, for it is there recorded that, in answer to the contentious Jews who said to him, ‘Show us a sign,’ he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign and no sign shall be given it but the sign of Jonah.’ 1 Though these words were veiled in mystery, his listeners could understand that he would arise from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. 2. “And he showed that your generation was more evil and adulterous than that of the Ninevites, who, when Jonah, after being cast up on shore from the belly of the whale on the third day, warned them that they would all perish within three days,2 announced a fast for all living creatures, men and beasts, accompanied by the wearing of sackcloth, unrestrained mourning , truly sincere repentance, and a resolution to shun sin, believing that God is merciful and benevolent toward all those who avoid sin. Thus, even the king of that city and his nobles, too, wore sackcloth, and fasted, and prayed constantly, and so through their prayers the city was spared. 3. “Then, when Jonah was vexed because the city had not been destroyed on the third day, as he had announced, a gourd 161 1. Mt 12.38–39 (= Jon 2.1). See Skarsaune, 120; Bellinzoni, The Sayings of Jesus in the Writings of Justin Martyr, Supplements to Novum Testamentum (Leiden : Brill, 1967), 121. 2. Marcovich, 254, reads trei'" hJmevra" but notes in the apparatus: “tessaravkonta hJmevrai Aquila, Symmach., Theodotion, Hebr., Syr., LXX, etc.” plant3 sprang up out of the earth at God’s design, and Jonah sat under it and was shaded from the heat of the sun (now this was a round gourd which had sprung up spontaneously to provide Jonah with shade, and he had neither planted nor watered it), and when at the other design of God, this withered away and Jonah was grieved, God pointed out to him how unjust was his displeasure over the sparing of the city of Nineveh, and he said: 4. “You are concerned over the gourd plant, for which you have not labored, nor made it grow; which in one night came up and in one night perished. And shall not I spare Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and also many beasts?4 c h a p t e r 108 “Now, all you of your [Jewish] race were well acquainted with these facts in the life of Jonah, and though Christ proclaimed to you that he would give you the sign of Jonah,5 and he pleaded with you to repent of your sins at least after his resurrection from the dead, and to lament before God as did the Ninevites that your nation and city might not be seized and destroyed, as it has been; [2.] [yet] you not only refused to repent after you learned that he arose from the dead, but, as I stated, you chose certain men by vote and sent them throughout the whole civilized world, proclaiming that a godless and lawless sect has been started by a deceiver, one Jesus of Galilee, whom we nailed to the cross, but whose body, after it was taken from the cross, was stolen at night from the tomb by his disciples, who now try to deceive men by affirming that he has arisen from the dead and has ascended into heaven.6 And you accuse him of having taught those irreverent, riotous, and wicked things, of which you everywhere accuse all those who look up to and acknowledge him as their Christ, their Teacher, and the Son of God. 3. “And, in addition to this, even now, after your city has been seized and your whole country ravaged, you not only re162 st. justin martyr 3. Sikuwvn, here translated as gourd instead of ivy, as some render it. 4. Jon 4.10–11. 5. See Mt 16.4. 6. See Mt 27.64; 28.13; Massaux, 76–77. The sign of Jonah 163 fuse to repent, but you defiantly curse him and all his followers. But...


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