Let’s spend a brief moment studying the history of this novel. For many, many years, this chapter was the first one in this book. I felt that, as a vision of how The Jonah Cycle would end, this chapter provided a poetic entry point for the series. But my mother felt it more prudent to start the book with the storm and Jonah’s sacrifice, which then ran in The Prophet and the Dove's linear timeline as Chapter 13. When the moment came to publish this novel, I decided to take mom’s advice, adapting this chapter into a dream while Benjamin slept in Tyre.
That leads us back to our study.
This dream depicts what might be a former slave’s worst nightmare – a return to bondage. As the setting sinks in, Benjamin realizes he faces not just a return, but a lifetime in chains, with no respite, no escape.
Have you experienced dreams such as this? How did you respond?
This terror carries Benjamin to Nineveh well before his feet do, all to experience his own trial and execution. It hints of a far-reaching life beyond anything Benjamin imagined and foretells of torture and bondage worse than anything he’s experienced to date. The dream reveals hopes hinging on a past friendship that actually lies in his future, and a fate that turns on the choice he’s made since finding Jonah.
“Renounce the false Hebrew god!” shouts the Assyrian priest. “Recant these desperate prophecies and beg forgiveness for those you led astray!”
Do your dreams ever confront you so, challenging your current positions or seeking to change your mind?
Benjamin chooses death before betrayal, issuing a prophecy of doom far darker than any Jonah shared with him. That prophecy provides a biblical clue to just who Benjamin will grow into, but his reflection and pain leads him back to Jonah. His last thoughts cry out over wounds the Dove carried in sacrificing himself.
What does this scene tell you about Benjamin? About Jonah?
How does death bring deliverance?