Jonah

  • Jonah Facts

    4 chapters
    48 verses
    1,298 words
    Minor Prophets Genre

  • Jonah Word Cloud

    This word cloud picture shows the most repeated words in Jonah

  • Writings about Jonah

    Christian education materials about Jonah, including book overviews, reading guides for the Minor Prophets genre, discussion questions, discipleship lessons, and throught-provoking essay.

  • Jonah Daily Readings

    Start reading or listening to Jonah and its associated daily readers on Day 255 when Jonah begins

Daily Reader for Day 255: Jonah -


by Dave Moore

Around 760 B.C.

We first met Jonah, son of Amittai, in 2 Kings 14.  He served, like Hosea and Amos, during the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel, a time when the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, and He turned their fortunes in their favor for a time.  Remember, though, that this was also a moment of Assyrian weakness.  This was not a permanent decline, however, and within a few decades Israel and all its neighbors, save Judah, would be under Assyrian control.

But that is not what this book is about.  It is unique among these prophets in presenting a narrative – the story of when Jonah was called by the LORD to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrians.  Jonah, however, heads in the opposite direction.

Notice that the first chapter doesn’t tell us why Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh.  In fact, aside from his prayer in chapter 2, Jonah’s only lines of dialogue in the first three chapters are to the sailors: “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you…” and to the people of Nineveh: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  Aside from that, all of Jonah’s motivations must be inferred from his actions. 

Finally, in chapter 4 this character takes shape, when Jonah’s redirected mission has proven successful – too successful in his mind.  As we’ve seen elsewhere in the Bible, dialogue reveals character.  Listen closely to Jonah’s complaint, to the feelings he repeats, and to the LORD’s response. 

Try to place yourself, also, in the shoes of Jonah’s contemporaries.  How would an Israelite farmer, priest, or king, feel about the word of the LORD to Jonah?  How would this story impact your sense of who the LORD is and who you are as one of His covenant people? 

Our verse for this week is Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The Prophet Jonah.  Now let’s read it!

Jonah -

1:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose 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, away from the presence of the LORD.

But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the LORD, “O LORD, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

(ESV)

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