Reading Through The Bible - JONAH

Some Books of the bible are very short and some are very long but this one is one of the shortest.


32nd book of the OT 
32nd book of the Bible

It starts with hearing the Word of God -  and immediate disobedience to that Word.

Jonah chapter 1 v 1-2   The Word

"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 

  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." 

Jonah chapter 1 v 3   The Disobedience

"But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."

What is it?

The Book of Jonah is one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament which means it is Prophecy.

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"Jonah is the most widely known of the Minor Prophets, the last 12 books of the Old Testament. When God had a message for the people, He spoke through the prophets. His word came in visions, oracles, dreams, parables, and the like. Most of these book were written to the people of Israel and Judah, but Jonah, Obadiah, and Nahum are more concerned with surrounding nations.

These Minor Prophet books record those messages. They outline the people’s sins, the consequences of those sins, and the proper response to God. 

Well, except the book of Jonah. It’s a story, not a sermon. It focuses on the prophet, not the people. And Jonah contains hardly any prophecy at all . . . only one line: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Among the books of the Bible, Jonah is a bit of an oddball."

How Long is it?

It only has 4 chapters yet the story of Jonah is one of the most famous from the Bible.

The Story of Jonah & the whale is regularly taught to children.

When was it Written?

It is generally said to have been written in 780 BC and the Ninevites repented 
by 775 BC.

Who Wrote it?


The first verse of the book tells us who Jonah was

"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai"


The Book of 2nd Kings also mentions Jonah in 
ch.14 v 25

"He [King Jeroboam the son of Joash] restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher"

telling us that Jonah was a prophet and came from Gath Hepher.

Who was it Written to?

It was written to the people of Nineveh as we see from what God said to Jonah in the second verse of chapter 1:

 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."

Why was it Written? 

It was written because God saw the evil of a nation but wanted to give them the chance to repent and also wanted Jonah to learn more about God's compassion and love.
It is also because it carries a very important message about Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"Jonah’s life events told some of Christ’s story, and his message foreshadowed Christ’s message: repent!
But Jonah isn’t all about repentance. It’s also a story of God’s compassion for all peoples, not just Israel."

Teach Sunday School  tells us the following

"The Book contains not only one of the most famous Bible miracles but it is also a great study on what can happen when we behave like snobs ."

Who refers to Jonah in the New Testament?

Jesus refers to Jonah in Matthew 12 v 39-41 when he is replying to the scribes and pharisees who have asked him for a sign.

"But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 
 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 
 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. "

What other books of the bible would have been written around the same time as Jonah or connected to it?

Hosea & Amos were also preaching during Jeroboam's reign.

Nahum was also written about the wrath of God on Nineveh although this was many years later.

How does it end?

In chapter 4 we see Jonah's anger and how God deals with this using a plant and the heat of the sun.
The message Jonah and the reader gets is that

 God is a compassionate God.

But Jonah should have remembered this because he had experienced this compassion earlier in chapter 2 v 2

Simple Brief Outline

The Overview Bible  gives us the following:

Jonah has only four chapters, which makes it easy to outline the book chapter-by-chapter:
  1. God directs Jonah,  Jonah disobeys (Jonah 1)
  2. God has compassion on Jonah (Jonah 2)
  3. Jonah preaches to Nineveh,  Nineveh repents (Jonah 3)
  4. God has compassion on Nineveh,  but Jonah does not (Jonah 4)