Below are a few rough paragraphs of a paper I’m working on.
Verse 3: Joppa
The first reference I have found to Joppa within the scriptures is in Joshua chapter nineteen. This is primarily used as a reference to the border of the lands of Israel, specifically the area allotted unto the tribe of Dan. As such, paired with the context of Jonah’s flight from God’s command, it suggests an idea not just of avoiding a duty, but of leaving God’s borders, of leaving Israel itself. However, this idea already exists within the narrative of Jonah without the additional setting of Joppa.
The second idea connected to Joppa within the scriptures is found in two places, Second Chronicles chapter two and Ezra chapter three. In both of these contexts, Joppa, as earlier in the book of Joshua, stands as a border between the gentile world and the world of God’s chosen people, the Jews. However, the concept of import is added: in both cases, timber is brought in through Joppa so as to build the temple. I see no immediate connection to the general idea of importing wood to build the temple and the story of Jonah, at least as far as the Old Testament is concerned.
Moving into the New Testament, we find three chapters of Acts intermittingly referencing Joppa, chapters nine, ten, and eleven. In chapter nine, Peter is brought into Joppa because of the death of Dorcas. Peter revives Dorcas, and stays in Joppa. While there, in chapter ten, Peter receives a vision from God thrice. Before Peter’s vision, however, a centurion, a gentile, receives communication from God via angel. These two events culminate in Peter going into the centurion’s house. Recapitulated in chapter eleven, chapter ten closes on the revelation that Jesus’ salvation is open unto the gentile as well.
This idea fits very neatly into the salvific aspect of the book of Jonah, where Jonah is sent to non-Jews to preach repentance. The body of Christ is then built by “imports” from Joppa as was the temple.
Verse 3: Ship
Jonah boards a ship, and a good portion of the first chapter takes place on this ship. In Proverbs chapter thirty verse nineteen, a ship on the sea is the third in a list of four things too “wonderful” for Agur. This is perhaps contrasted with Jonah’s ship, as the storms which God sends threaten to break the ship apart. In Isaiah, ships seemingly take an adversarial role, something to be humbled by God. Acts and Jonah share similar stories of tempest tossed ships, and The Revelation of Jesus Christ again treats ships, or those who sail them, as opposed to godliness, on the side of fallen Babylon.
In general, a ship is adversarial to God, seemingly connected to kingdoms opposing Israel, or the righteous, such as Tarshish and Babylon; however, the ship is generally humbled. Though in Proverbs a ship’s wonderfulness is expressed, it is shown to be something tossed by God’s winds, “the loftiness of man . . . bowed down” (Isaiah chapter two verse seventeen).