The Book of Jonah

The book of Jonah was written around 690 B.C. in the time of Jeroboam II and the early years of Uzziah. Modern critics declare that the book is a "combination of allegory and myth." But the fact that Jonah the prophet was a historic personage is settled by (II Kings 14:25), and the fact that the prophecy, with its great miracle, was referred to by Christ as a type of Himself, places the book in as high a position as any other prophecy. The prophecy of Jonah is literal history, and is besides a twofold type. First, it was a type of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord: see (Matthew 12:40), where "as" and the "so" are sufficient to show us that a man's being miraculously kept alive for a particular period can be no type of another's being dead and buried for the same period. As our Lord was raised from the dead at the end of that period, so Jonah must have been, as miraculously, raised from the dead. Jonah's prayer could have been uttered in the last few moments of life. In any case the words of the prayer were not written down till after he had been vomited up alive (Jonah 2:1-10).

Second, "as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of Man be to this generation." (Luke 11:30), that generation were as grieved and angry at the faith and repentance of those to whom the resurrection of our Lord was proclaimed, as Jonah was at the repentance of the Ninevites. Both these types were hidden in the history by the One Who knew the end from the beginning and are declared to be so by Him of Whom Yahveh said, "I will put My words in His mouth."

Jonah 1

Jon 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying. The Lord gave this message to Jonah, son of Amittai (meaning true), an Israelite. (II Kings 14:25).

Jon 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. Go to the great city of Nineveh and announce My judgment against it because of their wickedness. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, on the left bank of the Tigris. Nineveh was noted for violence and cruelty of all kinds. (Nahum 2:8-13), Called first Nina, from the patron goddess of the city; of Babylonian origin. Nineveh was an important junction for commercial routes crossing the Tigris. Wealth flowed into it from many sources, and it became the capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Nineveh was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. This area was settles as early as 6,000 BC and, by 3,000 BC, had become an important religious center for worship of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar. (Revelation 18:5).

Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. Well, Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction of Nineveh and did not listen to the Lord. He went to the port of Joppa and boarded a ship there hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. Bad move Jonah, he should have know that he could not escape from God. David knew better: (Psalm 139:7-10), you can't get away from God, His presence is everywhere. However, Jonah boarded the boat and started to sail to Tarshish. 

Jon 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. But the Lord brought a great wind over the sea, causing a storm that threatened to break the boat apart. (I think the Lord got Jonah's attention here that he could not escape).

Jon 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. The sailors on board were afraid and shouted to their gods for help as they threw the cargo overboard to lightened the ship. Jonah was asleep down in the hold of the ship, unaware of the trouble he had caused those around him.

Jon 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. The captain of the ship went down after Jonah. "How can you sleep at a time like this?" Get up and pray to your God to help us.

Jon 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. The crew cast lots to see which of them had offended their gods and caused the storm. Notice they wanted to know what offended their gods. It was not their gods that were offended, but Jonah's God. It was not their gods that brought the storm, but rather the true God of Israel. So, they cast their lots and they identified Jonah as the culprit. It was the "true God" (our God), that made the lots fall upon Jonah.

Jon 1:8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? Then they questioned Jonah and wanted to know what was going on and what he had done to bring this storm upon them.

Jon 1:9 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. Jonah answered them, "I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who created the earth and the sea." (Nehemiah 9:6).

Jon 1:10 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. Jonah told them the truth, and the sailors were terrified when they heard that Jonah had disobeyed the Lord and ran away from what the Lord had commanded him to do. "Jonah should have been telling them how to follow his merciful God, but instead he told them how he rebelled against God." What will you do when God calls on you for a task or message to be delivered?

Jon 1:11 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. The storm was getting worse and they asked Jonah: "What should we do with you to please your God and stop the storm?"

Jon 1:12 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 knew that the storm was all his fault, and told them to throw him into the sea so it would become calm again. "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

Jon 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to safe land, but the storm was to violent and they could not make it. Why didn't they throw Jonah over then? Well it seems that they kind of felt sorry for Jonah and were deeply affected with his confession, or maybe they did not want to have his death on their hands. 

Jon 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. The sailors then cried out to Jonahs God. "Don't make us die for this man's sin, or hold us responsible for his death." "You have sent this storm upon him for your own reasons." (It's funny how non-believers can call upon the true God when they are in trouble).

Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. So, the sailors picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the storm stopped at once. (They must have got their answer from God on what to do). "I wonder if they will become believers now?"

Jon 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. The sailors were astonished by the Lord's power to stop the sea, and they offered Him a sacrifice and vowed to serve Him. (They became believers now).

Jon 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three
nights.
Now God had "prepared" (arranged for), a great fish (not necessarily a whale as we all have heard in the story books), to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish for three days and three nights. Now here is where the story gets a little troublesome for many. (Jonahs prayer to the Lord in chapter two was before he was swallowed by the giant fish). When Jonah was swallowed up, he must have died, and thus became a type of Christ. The "as" and "so" in (Matthew 12:40), require Jonah's death. He would have been no type if he had been miraculously kept alive. Just as Christ was dead in the tomb for three days, so was Jonah dead in the belly of the beast for three days. Christ arose from the dead after three days, and Jonah was brought back to life after three days. How do we come to Jonah being a type of Christ? Just as Jonah was a sign to the wicked and adulterous Ninevites; the Son of Man was a sign to the wicked and adulterous generation of His time. Jonah was in the belly of the beast for three days, and Christ was in the heart of the earth for three days. Both defeating death. (Matthew 12:40, Matthew 16:4, Luke 11:30).

Jonah 2

Jon 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly. Jonah's prayer to the Lord.

Jon 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. He cried to the Lord and the Lord heard him. Jonah called to the Lord from the land of the dead. (It seemed like hell to Jonah).

Jon 2:3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Thrown into the sea and sank down to the heart of the sea, and the mighty waters engulfed Jonah; buried beneath the stormy waves. (Psalm 42:7), Let me ask you. If you were in this position, wouldn't you be praying to the Lord? Of course you would, and so did Jonah. He was praying the minute he hit the water.

Jon 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. Then Jonah said; "O Lord, You have driven me from Your presence. (Psalm 31:22), Yet I will look once more toward Your holy Temple." (Sound like he is praying to me).   

Jon 2:5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. Jonah in his prayer says that he sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over him. Seaweed wrapped around his head. (Psalm 69:1-2).

Jon 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. Imprisoned in the earth, who's gates lock shut forever. But, you O Lord snatched me form the jaws of death. (The thought of a drowning man).

Jon 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. My earnest prayer went out to You in Your holy Temple. The word "fainted" here is "swooned" became unconscious to all else. 

Jon 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. In other words: "Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all of the living God's mercies. (Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 10:8, Jeremiah 10:14-15). 

Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. I will offer sacrifices to You with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. "My salvation comes from the Lord alone." (Psalm 3:8).

Jon 2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. (Jonah's rapid thought and words before he died were subsequently written down by him: for all the verbs are in the past tense, not the present).

Jonah 3

Jon 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying. Here comes the second time the Lord spoke to Jonah. Do you think he will listen now?

Jon 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. Now go to Nineveh and deliver the message I have given you. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was situated on the eastern bank of the river Tigris, opposite the present Mosul, about 280 miles north of Babylon, 400 ne of Damascus. It was not only a very ancient, but also a very great city.

Jon 3:3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. This time Jonah listened to the Lord's command and went to Nineveh. The city was so large that it took three days to see it all. It was much larger than Babylon and was about 20 miles long, 12 miles broad, and 60 miles in circumference. This agrees with the account given here of its being a exceeding great city of three days journey. The city was surrounded by large walls 100 feet high, so broad that three chariots could drive abreast on them, and defended by 1,500 towers 200 feet high.

Jon 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The very day that Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed."

Jon 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. The people of Nineveh started to believe the message from God and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. (Matthew 12:41, Luke 11:32), this should bring our attention to what Christ was talking about in (Luke 11:29). What generation? This evil generation (offspring), of Satan who kept asking Jesus for a miraculous sign, but they would only get the sing of Jonah. (Matthew 12:38-39, 16:1-4).  

Jon 3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Even when the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. (How many would take off their robes today and listen to the truth)?

Jon 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water. Then the king and his nobles sent out a decree throughout the city that no one, not even the animals from the herds may eat or drink anything during the fast. 

Jon 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Everyone was to wear garments of morning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. "They must turn from their evil ways and stop the violence." (Isaiah 59:6). Countries around the world, including the U.S. need to repent and turn from their evil ways as Nineveh did.

Jon 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? No one knows what will happen now. Who can tell? "Perhaps God will change His mind and hold back His anger from destroying Nineveh." 

Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. God saw what they had done and how they put a stop to their evil ways. So, He changed His mind and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened against Nineveh. (Jeremiah 18:8, Amos 7:3). "What a revival." An entire major city turns to God. However, it wasn't a lasting revival because during the following generation, the Assyrians would come and wipe out the northern kingdom of Israel and take them into captivity in 722 B.C., the Assyrians carried away thousands of Israelites and resettled them in other parts of the Assyrian Empire. This was a blow from which the nation of Israel never recovered. The ten tribes that were taken to Assyria became the ten lost tribes of Israel. (They went over the Caucasus mountains and settled in Europe and the Americas).

Jonah 4

Jon 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. This change of plan by God not to destroy Nineveh upset Jonah. Now that Nineveh was spared, it might after all be used as God's rod for Israel, and thus destroy the hope held out by him to Israel in (II Kings 14:25-27).

Jon 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. So Jonah spoke to the Lord about it. He told the Lord that he knew that He would do this. "That is why he ran away to Tarshish." Jonah knew that the Lord was merciful and compassionate and slow to anger. Jonah knew that the Lord would be eager to turn back form destroying people. (Exodus 34:6). David knew (Psalm 86:5), Hosea knew (Hosea 11:8), Joel knew (Joel 2:13), Micah knew (Micah 7:18).

Jon 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Just kill me know Lord, Jonah is saying. "I'd rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen." (Jonah wanted them destroyed, not forgiven).   

Jon 4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? The Lord asked Jonah: "Is this right for you to be angry about this?"

Jon 4:5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. Jonah just kind of hung out to see what would happen to the city of Nineveh.  

Jon 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. The Lord arranged for a leafy plant (a gourd or palmcrist), to grow up and spread over Jonah to shade him from the sun. This eased his discomfort and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. (Jonah was hoping that God would change His mind and destroy Nineveh). 

Jon 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. But, God also arranged for a worm. (The crimson grub), would come up in the morning at dawn. The worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. (Jonah was planning on waiting out the remaining forty days). "God considered the wait to be over."

Jon 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. As the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching sultry east wind to blow on Jonah. He grew faint and wished to die. (Little depressed here feeling sorry for himself).

Jon 4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?" Jonah answered, "even angry enough to die." (Jonah was now upset because God disturbed his comfort). 

Jon 4:10 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. The Lord explained to Jonah: "You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there." It came quickly and died quickly.

Jon 4:11 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 Lord said to Jonah: Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city? I believe God was talking of the children in Nineveh. The population would have been around 600,000 people. Jonah didn't even care about the innocent children or animals of Nineveh. He wanted it all destroyed. (He was only thinking of himself). What would Christ say about this? Read (Matthew 5:44-48), "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and do good to them that use you and persecute you." This is the way of a true Christian.

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Keep The Faith,
Bart