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Jonah 3:3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk.

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Jonah 3:4 >

      3. arose and went--like the son who was at first disobedient to the father's command, "Go work in my vineyard," but who afterwards "repented and went" (Mt 21:28, 29). Jonah was thus the fittest instrument for proclaiming judgment, and yet hope of mercy on repentance to Nineveh, being himself a living exemplification of both--judgment in his entombment in the fish, mercy on repentance in his deliverance. Israel professing to obey, but not obeying, and so doomed to exile in the same Nineveh, answers to the son who said, "I go, sir, and went not." In Lu 11:30 it is said that Jonas was not only a sign to the men in Christ's time, but also "unto the Ninevites." On the latter occasion (Mt 16:1-4) when the Pharisees and Sadducees tempted Him, asking a sign from heaven, He answered, "No sign shall be given, but the sign of the prophet Jonas," Mt 12:39. Thus the sign had a twofold aspect, a direct bearing on the Ninevites, an indirect bearing on the Jews in Christ's time. To the Ninevites he was not merely a prophet, but himself a wonder in the earth, as one who had tasted of death, and yet had not seen corruption, but had now returned to witness among them for God. If the Ninevites had indulged in a captious spirit, they never would have inquired and so known Jonah's wonderful history; but being humbled by God's awful message, they learned from Jonah himself that it was the previous concealing in his bosom of the same message of their own doom that caused him to be entombed as an outcast from the living. Thus he was a "sign" to them of wrath on the one hand, and, on the other, of mercy. Guilty Jonah saved from the jaws of death gives a ray of hope to guilty Nineveh. Thus God, who brings good from evil, made Jonah in his fall, punishment, and restoration, a sign (an embodied lesson or living symbol) through which the Ninevites were roused to hear and repent, as they would not have been likely to do, had he gone on the first commission before his living entombment and resurrection. To do evil that good may come, is a policy which can only come from Satan; but from evil already done to extract an instrument against the kingdom of darkness, is a triumphant display of the grace and wisdom of God. To the Pharisees in Christ's time, who, not content with the many signs exhibited by Him, still demanded a sign from heaven, He gave a sign in the opposite quarter, namely, Jonah, who came "out of the belly of hell" (the unseen region). They looked for a Messiah gloriously coming in the clouds of heaven; the Messiah, on the contrary, is to pass through a like, though a deeper, humiliation than Jonah; He is to lie "in the heart of the earth." Jonah and his Antitype alike appeared low and friendless among their hearers; both victims to death for God's wrath against sin, both preaching repentance. Repentance derives all its efficacy from the death of Christ, just as Jonah's message derived its weight with the Ninevites from his entombment. The Jews stumbled at Christ's death, the very fact which ought to have led them to Him, as Jonah's entombment attracted the Ninevites to his message. As Jonah's restoration gave hope of God's placability to Nineveh, so Christ's resurrection assures us God is fully reconciled to man by Christ's death. But Jonah's entombment only had the effect of a moral suasive; Christ's death is an efficacious instrument of reconciliation between God and man [FAIRBAIRN].
      Nineveh was an exceeding great city--literally, "great to God," that is, before God. All greatness was in the Hebrew mind associated with GOD; hence arose the idiom (compare "great mountains," Margin, "mountains of God," Ps 36:6; "goodly cedars," Margin, "cedars of God," Ps 80:10; "a mighty hunter before the Lord," Ge 10:9).
      three days' journey--that is, about sixty miles, allowing about twenty miles for a day's journey. Jonah's statement is confirmed by heathen writers, who describe Nineveh as four hundred eighty stadia in circumference [DIODORUS SICULUS, 2.3]. HERODOTUS defines a day's journey to be one hundred fifty stadia; so three days' journey will not be much below DIODORUS' estimate. The parallelogram in Central Assyria covered with remains of buildings has Khorsabad northeast; Koyunjik and Nebbi Yunus near the Tigris, northwest; Nimroud, between the Tigris and the Zab, southwest; and Karamless, at a distance inward from the Zab, southeast. From Koyunjik to Nimroud is about eighteen miles; from Khorsabad to Karamless, the same; from Koyunjik to Khorsabad, thirteen or fourteen miles; from Nimroud to Karamless, fourteen miles. The length thus was greater than the breadth; compare Jon 3:4, "a day's journey," which is confirmed by heathen writers and by modern measurements. The walls were a hundred feet high, and broad enough to allow three chariots abreast, and had moreover fifteen hundred lofty towers. The space between, including large parks and arable ground, as well as houses, was Nineveh in its full extent. The oldest palaces are at Nimroud, which was probably the original site. LAYARD latterly has thought that the name Nineveh belonged originally to Koyunjik, rather than to Nimroud. Jonah (Jon 4:11) mentions the children as numbering one hundred twenty thousand, which would give about a million to the whole population. Existing ruins show that Nineveh acquired its greatest extent under the kings of the second dynasty, that is, the kings mentioned in Scripture; it was then that Jonah visited it, and the reports of its magnificence were carried to the west [LAYARD].

JFB.


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Jonah Images and Notes

The Book of Jonah

Jonah 1:9-12 - And he said unto them, I [am] an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry [land]. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest [is] upon you.

Jonah 4:10-11 - Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle?

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survey - Jonah
Hebrew Name - Yonah "Dove"
Greek Name - Ionas (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Jonah (According to Tradition)
Date - 862 BC Approximately
Theme - God's Mercy on Nineveh
Types and Shadows - In Jonah Jesus is the One crying out

The First Day. Light.

Summary of The Book of Jonah

Jonah was sent by God to warn the people of Nineveh that God was going to judge them. Rather than go Jonah chose to flee in the opposite direction, because the Assyrians were cruel and wicked. Jonah boarded a ship that was found for the city of Tarshish when a great storm came in a time of the year that the storms do not happen. The sailors finally  agreed at Jonah's request to throw him overboard, and when they did a great sea monster prepared by God swallowed Jonah. After a period of three days Jonah repented and agree to obey the Lord and the sea monster released Jonah on the third morning. Jonah came to the land of the Assyrians and pronounced God's judgment upon Nineveh, and as a result the people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and God spare the city. Afterward Jonah was very upset that God would spare such a wicked city and that he would show mercy on the Gentiles ( non-Jews). Jonah observed a plant and learned a lesson about God's love for all mankind. - The above text is © Rusty Russell - Bible History Online and must be sourced for use on a website.

The book of Jonah is about an event that Jesus said took place in history. The man Jonah was the main character of the book, he was the son of Amittai (Jonah 1:1), and a native of Gathhepher, which was a city of the tribe of Zebulun in the northern Galilee region. Jonah was a prophet of the Lord and he was called to deliver a message of repentance to the city of Nineveh which was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians were among the most wicked peoples of the ancient world, and they were well-known for their cruelty. Jonah refused to go and boarded a ship bound for Tarshish, which at that time was the farthest part of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain. A violent storm emerged out of nowhere and the sailors had no choice but to cast Jonah overboard, at his request. Jonah was suddenly swallowed by a great sea monster which had been prepared by the Lord for this purpose.

Jonah, being alive in the belly of the great sea monster considered himself in the "belly of Sheol" and finally agreed to obey God. After he was released from the great fish he came to Nineveh and preached  God's judgment crying, " yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah 3:4) and when the people of Nineveh heard this they repented and God spared the city. Jonah became very angry at God because a Gentile nation, and such an evil one, would receive mercy from the Lord. God taught Jonah an important lesson about his love and mercy for all mankind, by the lesson of the gourd.

God probably chose the Assyrians to receive his mercy because they were the most wicked, and the lesson needed to be learned that God is a God of mercy to everyone, even the most wicked.

Later Jesus spoke about Jonah as a type of Christ. As Jonah was in the belly of the great sea monster for three days and for three nights and was released the third day (Jonah 1:17 and Jonah 2:10), so Christ was in the heart of the earth (Hades) for three days and three nights and be raised the third day (Matthew 12:40-41).

It is interesting that the very place where Jonah boarded the ship was Joppa, the same city where Peter in the New Testament was called by God to come and share the good news about Jesus Christ to a Gentile man who lived in Joppa named Cornelius (Acts 10).

Outline of the Book of Jonah

The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows:

1 - Jonah hears his call and flees

2 - Jonah cries out to God from the "belly of Sheol"

3 - This time Jonah obeys and Nineveh repents

4 - Jonah's lesson about God's mercy

The First Day. Light.

Jonah Resources

The Divided Kingdom
The Northern Kingdom of Israel
The Southern Kingdom of Judah
The Assyrian Captivity
The Babylonian Captivity
The Return From Babylon
The Prophets
The Messiah

The Book of Jonah

More About the Book of Jonah
Jonah in the Picture Study Bible
Chart of the Prophets of Israel and Judah
Timeline of the Ancient World
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