The gemarah (Yerushalmi succa 5:1) and midrash (yalkut shimoni Yona, remez 550) indicate that the prophet Yona ben Amitai descended from Zevulun (father) and Asher (mother). However other sources indicate that he was the 'ben tzarfatit' that Eliyahu brought back to life and was in fact supposed to be Moshiach ben Yosef (see Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 33, tosafos bava metzia 114a-b s.v. Mahu).

So, what exactly is the real lineage of Yona ben Amitai? Is he from Zevulun or from Yosef (Ephraim)?

  • Why are you assuming that Mashiach ben Yosef cannot be from Zevulun? – jake Aug 8 '12 at 15:53
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    @jake the same reason I'm assuming Moshiach ben Dovid cannot come from Zevulun. – not-allowed to change my name Aug 10 '12 at 20:49
  • Mashiach ben David must be from the Davidic dynasty a la "ויצא חטר מגזע ישי", but there are no pesukim regarding Mashiach ben Yosef; he could be anyone or no one. The fact that he is called "ben Yosef" by the gemara can be interpreted however you like. Would you be satisfied with a source that claims his lineage being not necessarily from Yosef as an answer to this question? – jake Aug 12 '12 at 7:37
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    @jake If you can thoroughly explain why Moshiach ben Yosef is called that if he does not have to descend from Yosef I think that would be enough of an answer. – not-allowed to change my name Aug 12 '12 at 17:42
  • I'm conjecturing that the identification of his being from Zevulun is based on his seafaring exploit, (Zevulun is associated with the sea in Jacob's blessing, the talmud states that one who loves the sea is from Zevulun, and I believe his stated insignia in midrash rabah was a ship). Being from Asher is based on the gourd narrative, Asher being blessed with a land of bounty, and I believe having the insignia of an olive tree in midrash rabah. His supposing to be Moshiach ben Joseph could be homiletic, meaning that if he had listened to God, he could have accomplished many great things. – Baby Seal Oct 23 '15 at 12:47

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