Why Is Nineveh Important
Nineveh was founded by Nimrod shortly after the Flood and as capital of the Assyrian empire, it rose to power about 900 B.C. Jonah likely saw the nation of Assyria as a threat to his own people, fearing what they would eventually do.
That fear would have been a well-founded one. The Assyrians were extremely brutal and cruel, even skinning their captives alive. The prophet Nahum describes them as lions, tearing and feeding on the nations .
Around 740 B.C., just a matter of decades after Jonah delivered his warning to Nineveh, God used Assyria to begin the process of punishing Israel for its sins . By 721 B.C. the Assyrian army had destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel.
Remembering Jonah During Sukkot
We also remember Jonah during the holiday of Sukkot because it is traditionally believed that Jonah received his prophetic gifting during the water-drawing ceremony that was performed each morning of the seven-day feast.
Sukkot is meant to be a feast of great joy, as we read in Isaiah: You shall draw water with joy from the wellsprings of salvation.
According to Jewish tradition, the Ruach HaKodesh only rests on one who has a joyful heart.
Jonah, however, did not have a joyful heart when the Ninevites repented. We read in the last chapter of the Book of Jonah that he went outside of the city and built for himself a sukkah or booth as a shelter from which he could watch what he hoped would be the demise of the Ninevites.
Even after he repented and fulfilled Gods calling on his life, he continued to hold onto his own desire to see Nineveh perishnot the desires of God to see them repent and saved, as another great Prophet proclaimed:
Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.
As a matter of divine law, God does not honor our desires when they conflict with His.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Nevertheless, God in His mercy and love responded to Jonahs distressed heart and entered into dialogue with him.
A Jewish boy decorates a sukkah for Sukkot.
Disobedience Hurts Others Too
His disobedience brought punishment upon himself and others around him. After he boarded the ship to Tarshish there was a great storm. During the storm the men working on the ship began calling upon their gods and idols to deliver them from whatever punishment was being given. The workers found Jonah in the bottom of the ship asleep. They awakened him and asked him to pray to his God to protect them.
The men cast lots to see who had brought this punishment upon them . The lot fell upon Jonah. He confessed that he was a Hebrew and was running away from the Creator God. Jonah asked the men to throw him overboard. Instead they tried harder to bring the ship to land. Jonah finally convinced them that he was the one who had brought judgment from God. Perhaps Jonah thought that if he were dead then God would stop punishing the ones around him. The sailors agreed to throw him into the sea.
As soon as Jonah was tossed into the water the storm broke and everything was calm. The sailors probably had no idea what happened next.
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Jason From Greek Mythology
Campbell also noted several similarities between the story of Jonah and that of Jason in Greek mythology. The Greek rendering of the name Jonah is Jonas , which differs from Jason only in the order of soundsâboth os are omegas suggesting that Jason may have been confused with Jonah. Gildas Hamel, drawing on the Book of Jonah and Greco-Roman sourcesâincluding Greek vases and the accounts of Apollonius of Rhodes, Gaius Valerius Flaccus and Orphic Argonauticaâidentifies a number of shared motifs, including the names of the heroes, the presence of a dove, the idea of “fleeing” like the wind and causing a storm, the attitude of the sailors, the presence of a sea-monster or dragon threatening the hero or swallowing him, and the form and the word used for the “gourd” .
Hamel takes the view that it was the Hebrew author who reacted to and adapted this mythological material to communicate his own, quite different message.
What Happen To Jonah After Nineveh
Apart from the book named after him, Jonah is only mentioned once more in the Old Testament, in 2 Kings 14:25.
He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.
This enables us to date Jonah , and tells us where he lived in Gath-hepher . However, the Bible does not tell us any more than that, and there are no other surviving historical records or reliable traditions about him.
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Jonah : 1116 Jonah Suggested His Own Fate
How do these verses show that Jonahâs running away was not because he was a coward? The men did not accept Jonahâs offer until they had made every effort to save themselves in other ways. Jonahâs willingness also shows his awareness that his actions had displeased God. Jonah 1:14â16witnesses that only reluctantly did the sailors cast Jonah overboard, as he had commanded them to do. In an attempt to absolve themselves from offense against any of the gods, the sailors offered a prayer to the Lord and begged that their deed might not be counted against them.
What Is The Sign Of Jonah
Much later in the Bible, Jesus told His skeptics, 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 .
Jesus said that this sign of Jonah would be the proof of His identity as the Messiah. Jonah had spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish Jesus would spend three days and three nights in the grave .
Some scholars doubt the authenticity of the biblical narrative of the book of Jonah. By acknowledging the sign of Jonah, Jesus was also acknowledging the authenticity of the book of Jonah. He even referred to Himself as One greater than Jonah an odd comparison to make if Jonah had never existed at all.
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Jonah And His Nationalism
Because we often jump straight to the part of the story about Jonah and the whale we often miss some important details. Before we can understand why Jonah does what he does, we need to know a little about how this guy was. Lets backtrack a little.
Jonah was a prophet, basically, a guy that spoke on Gods behalf to others.
But he didnt always support the things God supported. In previous years, Jonah had supported Jeroboams aggressive military policy to extend the power and influence of the nation. In other words, he was a political player He had opinions, power, and influence in the political realm.
Tim Keller says the original readers of the book of Jonah would have remembered him as intensely patriotic, a highly partisan nationalist.
In other words, Jonah loved his country. Which is a good thing. But Jonah took a good thing and turned it into an ultimate thing. He put his nationalism above his allegiance to God.
I dont know about you, but that sounds like much of the western church today.
We see that attitude further displayed when God asks him to do something absurd.
How Did Jonah Survive
As to whether a man could survive three days and three nights under such conditions, there are three possible answers that could be suggested in defense of the Biblical narrative.
NATURAL. In the first place, it has been well established that the phrase three days and three nights in ancient Hebrew usage was an idiomatic expression meaning simply three days, and was applicable even if the beginning and ending days of the period were only partial days. Thus it could refer to a period as short as about 38 hours.There is always some air in the whales stomach, and, as long as the animal it has swallowed is still alive, digestive activity will not begin. Thus, Jonahs experience could possibly have happened entirely with the framework of natural law.
MIRACLE. It is much more likely, however, that the event involved a divine miracle, as the Scripture strongly implies. The great fish was prepared and sent by God, as was the intense storm that threatened the ship on which Jonah was traveling. The storm ceased as soon as Jonah was cast overboard . In like manner, it was quite probable that God preserved Jonahs life miraculously all through the horrifying experience.
This is also implied by Jonahs prayer, when he said:
out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice .
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God Grants Mercy To Jonah And To Nineveh
Jonah was well versed in the Psalms. While in the belly of the fish, he composed a prayer on their basis. He repented of his rebellion, and the fish spat him out on dry land.
God called Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh to convey His Divine message.
This time Jonah obeyed. He traveled a days journey into the city and simply proclaimed, Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
While the language is reminiscent of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jonah, unlike Abraham, made no attempt to negotiate a merciful response to sin.
Jonahs appearance may have been greatly altered by the gastric juices in the stomach of the whale, thereby giving him a perhaps frightful appearance.
Incredibly, the Ninevites did not kill the messenger but believed him. It is possible that they were aware of the miraculous rescue of Jonah from the belly of the whale, or they were fearful of him due to his appearance.
At any rate, the Ninevites chose the path of repentance, proclaimed a fast, and everyone in the city humbled themselves and mourned. Even the king took off his royal robes and everyone from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
Jonah preaching in Nineveh
Jonah fulfilled Gods will, but he was not happy when the people turned from their evil ways. Jonah had hoped to see Gods judgment poured out on His enemies. In his anger, Jonah essentially told God that He was being too nice!
God responded saying: Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?
How Could Jonah Survive Three Days In The Belly Of A Whale
This is one of the Bible stories most ridiculed by people who consider themselves sophisticated and intellectual. Skeptics say that no whale could swallow a man in the first place, and, even if he did, the man would certainly never survive three days and three nights in his belly, as the Bible claims.
Christian liberals have attempted to avoid this problem by saying that the story of Jonah was only an allegory and was never meant to be understood as actual history. However, whenever the Bible writers used allegories or parables or other symbolic stories, they always either said so or else made it evident in the context. The book of Jonah is certainly written as though it were actual history. Jonah was a real prophet who is mentioned also in II Kings 14:25. None of the ancient Jews or early Christians ever doubted the authenticity and historicity of the book of Jonah and its story.
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Jonah : 3 Jonah Rose Up To Flee Unto Tarshish
Jonahâs life and experiences, like Jobâs, provide a universal lesson similar to an allegory, and the application to all men is drawn from one manâs actual experiences.
Jonah was a type of Christ in that he was in the belly of the whaleâin âhell,â in his own words âjust as Jesus was in the grave for three days, and then came forth again. C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch showed that the significance of Jonahâs story is broader than that:
âThe mission of Jonah was a fact of symbolical and typical importance, which was intended not only to enlighten Israel as to the position of the Gentile world in relation to the kingdom of God, but also to typify the future adoption of such of the heathen, as should observe the word of God, into the fellowship of the salvation prepared in Israel for all nations.
Question: What Happened To Jonah After Nineveh
The prophet Jonah was sent by God to preach to the city of Nineveh and call it to repentance. Jonah did not like the city of Nineveh because it was a rival to Israel, and fled to a boat sailing on the Mediteranean Sea. God raised a storm, and to calm that storm, the prophet told the sailors to throw him into the sea. God had also prepared a great fish that swallowed Jonah. In the fish’s belly Jonah himself repented of disobedience, and asked for God’s help. God had the fish spew Jonah out on dry land, and Jonah then went and preached to Nineveh. The people of the city repented and received God’s mercy. When the book of Jonah closes in chapter four, Jonah is speaking with God outside the city of Nineveh.
This is the last reference to Jonah while he was alive. The Bible does not tell us what happened to him, or what he did after these events. Jesus, in the New Testament referred to Jonah in Mt. 12:39-41 and Lk. 11:29-32. Beyond this we just do not know what happened to Jonah. Thank you for your question.
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Jonah And The Rest Of The Story
But the LORD provided agreat fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and threenights.
My Neighbor Totoro
In my distress I called tothe LORD, and he answered me.From the depths of the graveI called for help and you listened to my cry.
Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I willgive you.anexceeding great city of three days journey.Moby-Dicka visitrequired three days.Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.
The Ninevites believedGod. They declared a fast, and all ofthem, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.When the news reached theking of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, coveredhimself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.
When God saw what they didand how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bringupon them the destruction he had threatened.
That is why I was so quick to flee toTarshish,“None of your elf-words, Tollers! This is serious! This is the Bible!”
But God said to Jonah, Doyou have a right to be angry about the vine? I do, he said. I am angry enough to die. But the LORD said, You havebeen concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make itgrow. It sprang up overnight and diedovernight. But Nineveh has more than ahundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from theirleft, and many cattle as well. Should Inot be concerned about that great city?
Jonah : 1 Where And When Did Jonah Live
Sidney B. Sperry, a well-known Latter-day Saint Bible scholar, answered that question by saying:
âWe know little of the life of Jonah, but that little is more than we know about some of the other prophets discussed in this volume. In the first verse of the book under his name he is said to be âthe son of Amittai.â But the Book of Jonah is not the only Old Testament book in which he is mentioned. In II Kings 14:25we are told that Jeroboam II, king of Israel, ââ¦ restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher.â
âThere can be little doubt, therefore, that Jonah was a historical person and was engaged in prophetic activities. The prophetâs home, Gath-hepher, according to Joshua 19:10â13, was located in the territory of the tribe of Zebulun. According to monastic tradition it was the same as the present Arab village of El-Meshed, some three miles northeast of Nazareth, where one of the many Moslem tombs of Nebi Yunus, the Prophet Jonah, is pointed out. St. Jerome also speaks of Gath-hepher as being situated two Roman miles from Sepphoris towards Tiberias.
âJonahâs name means âdoveâ and that of his father âtruthful.â
âSince Jonah lived during the reign of Jeroboam, it is possible to date him at approximately 788 B.C.â
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Jonahs Heart Is Revealed
Jonah is revealing his heart is ultimately for his nation, not his God. Hes upset because Israels enemies were forgiven rather than being taken out. He wanted national security more than he wanted people to be forgiven.
Jonah 4:1-3 sounds like a toddler complaining about a sibling getting off the hook God, I knew youd forgive them. I knew youd be too compassionate. I knew youd give them grace I just knew it.
He ends this tirade with, So just kill me.
Talk about a temper tantrum.
Depressed, Jonah goes and sits down outside the city. And again God shows him compassion. He caused a leafy plant to grow to provide him shade . But then God does something interesting. He sends a worm to kill the plant . And again Jonah loses his mind. Asking again for God to just kill him.
God is revealing Jonahs heart . God is digging into what is really in Jonahs heart.
The word used in verse 10 and 11 for compassion is a word that means to grieve over someone or something, to have your heart broken for, weep for it.
Theres a compare and contrast going on here. Jonah is weeping over a plant. Literally weeping. God is weeping over people. Over those far from him, over those hurting. Jonah is looking out for himself. God is displaying compassion on others. Even those who are undeserving Such as Jonah and Nineveh.
What God is saying is that Jonah has compassion for the wrong thing. His heart breaks for people, while Jonahs heart broke for a plant. Jonahs got the wrong focus .