Jonah (book of the Bible)

The book of Jonah , whose name means ” dove ” is presented as the son of Amitai (1: 1). It is mentioned in 2 R 14:25 that he was a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 BC) and that he was from Gat-hefer, about four or five km north of Nazareth in Galilee. . Jonah’s prophetic ministry occurred shortly after that of the prophet Elisha (2R 13: 14-19) conceded with that of Amos (Amos 1: 1) and was followed by that of Hosea (Hosea 1: 1). Nineveh’s repentance is likelyin response to Jonah’s preaching it occurred during the reign of one of the Assyrian monarchs: Adad-nirari III (810-783 BC) whose reign was notable for a trend towards monotheism , or Asurdan III (733-755 BC) whose reign He experienced two major plagues (765 and 759 BC) and an eclipse of the sun (763 BC) that may have been interpreted as signs of divine judgment and thus prepared the capital of Assyria for Jonah’s prophetic message. Nineveh was about 800 km northwest of Galilee.


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  • 1 purpose
  • 2 Panoramic view
  • 3 Special Features
  • 4 Compliance in the New Testament
  • 5 Historical reliability
  • 6 Prophetic Book of Jonah
    • 1 Chapter 1
    • 2 Chapter 2
    • 3 Chapter 3
    • 4 Chapter 4
  • 7 Sources


This book seems to have been written with a triple purpose:

  • To demonstrate to Israel and the nations the magnitude of God’s saving mercy by preaching repentance.
  • To show through Jonah’s experience how much Israel had fallen from its original missionary call to be a light of redemption for those who dwell in darkness (Gen 12: 1-3, Is 42: 6-7, 49: 6) and:
  • To remember the misguided Israel that God, in his love and mercy, had sent him not only one prophet but many faithful prophets, who proclaimed his message of repentance to prevent the inevitable judgment for sin. However, unlike Nineveh, Israel had rejected God’s prophets and their invitation to repent and receive mercy.

Panoramic view

Refusing to do God’s will often leads to trouble. God loves all people, no matter how unworthy of it somebody is. These are two of the main themes of the book of Jonah. He prophesied in the days of Jeroboam II king of Israel. He predicted a victory for this great ruler, according to the Jeroboam prophecy extended his borders from Hamat to the Dead Sea (2R 14:25). For the northern kingdom, this was a time of peace.

Syrians were expelled from Israelite territory and other neighboring nations were neutralized. In the southern kingdom, Judah underwent something similar under King Uzziah . Those were days of growth and prosperity for both kingdoms. Jonah preached during a time of political stability and military success for Israel. Meanwhile, Assyria was trying to consolidate its empire and Israel viewed that with contempt and fear at the same time. Jonah, who had been given the privilege of preaching success to his nation, was called by God to prolong the life of Israel’s worst enemy who was in the process of exterminating the Jewish people. He probably knew that within a generation Assyria would conquer his nation. Jonah prepared to flee from the presence of God. By embarking on Tarsis , Jonah was trying to renounce his calling as a prophet, but as the narrative reads, God did not accept his “resignation.”

In chapter 1 of the book the author describes Jonah’s initial disobedience and God’s subsequent judgment. Instead of going northeast to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship going west to Tarsis (in Spain ), the farthest possible destination contrary to the will of God. Jonah soon faced God’s retaliation for a severe storm over the Mediterranean Sea with the ignominy of being discovered by the sailors and being thrown into the sea. God, providentially, had seen a “great fish” to save him. Chapter 2 recounts Jonah’s prayer from his unique chamber inside the fish, in which he thanked God for sparing his life and promised to obey God’s call so the fish vomited him into the dry land.

Chapter 3 records Jonah’s opportunity to go to Nineveh and his preaching of God’s message to the inhabitants of that city. In one of the most extraordinary spiritual awakenings of an entire city, through which God’s judgment was forgiven. Chapter 4 contains Jonah’s complaint against God for forgiving that city, the enemy of Israel. With a plant , a worm, and a east wind, God taught his angry prophet that He delights in making his grace available to all, not just Israel and Judah.

Special features

Four main aspects or emphases characterize the book of Jonah:

  • It is just one of two Old Testament prophetic books written by prophets born and raised in the northern kingdom, Israel (Hosea is the other).
  • It is a condensed masterpiece of prose narration, in which only Jonah’s thanksgiving prayer (2: 2-9) is in verse.
  • It is filled with the supernatural activity of God, in addition to the providential synchronization of the storm and the great fish, there are the pumpkin, the worm, the east wind and (the greatest of all) the repentance of the entire city of Nineveh .
  • It contains the clearest Old Testament message that God’s saving grace is for those who are Jews as well as for those who are not.

Compliance in the New Testament

Jesus compared himself to Jonah when he said: “The evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but a sign will not be given, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. Because as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man, in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, because they repented to the preaching of Jonah, and behold, more than Jonah in this place . ” (Mt 12: 39-41)

Historical reliability

The theologians liberals and unbelievers consider this book as a fictional story of the V century BC to the II written to counter the narrow nationalist Jew from the Jewish postexilic. According to this view, the book of Jonah does not represent actual historical events. However, the Old Testament elsewhere mentions Jonah as an accredited prophet of the 8th century BC (2R 14:25). In the New Testament , Jesus Himself affirms that Jonah:

  • It is the main prophetic sign of the OT from his three days in the grave and his subsequent resurrection (Mt 12: 39-40, Lc 11:29).
  • He effectively preached repentance to the Ninevites, who repented of Old Testament history in the same way as Solomon and the visit of the Queen of the South. (Mt 12:42, Lc 11:31). It is clear that Jesus considered the book to be reliable in its historical aspect. Looking at the book differently implies not only the fallibility of the Bible , but also that of the Savior .

Prophetic book of jonah

Chapter 1

Jonah flees from Jehovah 1: 1 The word of Jehovah came to Jonah the son of Amitai, saying: 1: 2 Arise and go to Nineveh , that great city, and cry out against it; because their wickedness has risen before me. 1: 3 And Jonah arose to flee from the presence of the Lord to Tarshish , and went down to Joppa, and found a ship departing for Tarshish; and paying his passage, he entered it to go with them to Tarshish, far from the presence of Jehovah. 1: 4 But Jehovah caused a great wind to rise in the sea, and there was in the seaa storm so great that it was thought that the ship would split. 1: 5 And the sailors were afraid, and each one cried out to his god; and they threw to the sea the belongings that were in the ship, to unload it of them. But Jonah had gone down into the ship, and had gone to sleep. 1: 6 And the master of the ship came up to him and said: What have you got, sleepyhead? Get up and cry out to your God; perhaps he will have compassion on us, and we will not perish. 1: 7 And each said to his companion, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whom this evil has come upon us. And they cast lots, and luck fell on Jonah. 1: 8 Then they said to him, Tell us now why this evil has come upon us. What do you do, and where do you live? ¿How is your country, and you where town from? 1: 9 And he said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I fear Jehovah, the God of heaven, that made the sea and the land. 1:10 And those men feared exceedingly, and said to him, Why have you done this? Because they knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Jehovah, because he had declared it to him. 1:11 And they said to him, What shall we do with you, that the sea may calm us? Because the sea was raging more and more. 1:12 He answered them, Take me and cast me into the sea, and the sea will be quiet for you; for I know that for my sake this great storm has come upon you. 1:13 And those men worked to bring the ship back to shore; but they could not, because the sea was raging more and more against them. 1:14 Then they cried out to Jehovah and said, “Now we pray to you, Jehovah, that we will not perish for the life of this man, nor put innocent blood on us; because you, Jehovah, have done as you wanted. one: 15 And they took Jonah, and cast him into the sea; and the sea quieted down from its fury. 1:16 And those men feared Jehovah with great fear, and offered sacrifice to Jehovah, and made vows. 1:17 But Jehovah had prepared a greatfish that swallowed Jonah; And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Episode 2

Jonah’s Prayer 2: 1 Then Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God from the belly of the fish, 2: 2 and said: I called upon Jehovah in my trouble, and he heard me; From the bosom of SheolI cried, And my voice you heard. 2: 3 You cast me deep into the midst of the seas, And the current surrounded me; All your waves and your waves passed over me. 2: 4 Then said I, I am rejected before your eyes; But still I will see your holy temple. 2: 5 The waters surrounded me to the soul, I surrounded the abyss; The seaweed tangled in my head. 2: 6 I descended to the foundations of the mountains; The earth threw its locks on me forever; But you brought my life out of the grave, O Jehovah my God. 2: 7 When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Jehovah, And my prayer came to you in your holy temple. 2: 8 Those who follow illusory vanities, His mercy forsake. 2: 9 But I, with a voice of praise, will offer you sacrifices; I will pay what I promised. Salvation is from Jehovah. 2:10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and vomited Jonah ashore.

Chapter 3

Nineveh repents 3: 1 The word of the Lord came a second time to Jonah, saying: 3: 2 Arise and go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim in it the message that I will tell you. 3: 3 And Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. And Nineveh was an extremely large city, three days on the road. 3: 4 And Jonah began to enter the city one day’s way, and preached saying, Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed. 3: 5 And the men of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast , and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. 3: 6 And the news reached the king of Nineveh, and he rose from his chairShe stripped off her dress and covered herself with sackcloth and sat on ash. 3: 7 And he caused to proclaim and to announce in Nineveh, by order of the king and his great ones, saying: Men and animals, oxen and sheep, do not like anything; do not give them food, nor drink water; 3: 8 but let men and animals cover themselves with sackcloth, and cry out to God loudly; and turn each one from his evil way, from the prey that is in his hands. 3: 9 Who knows if God will turn and repent, and turn away from the heat of his anger, and we will not perish? 3:10 And God saw what they did, that they turned from their evil way; and he repented of the evil that he had said he would do to them, and he did not.

Chapter 4

Jonah’s anger 4: 1 But Jonah was extremely distressed and angry. 4: 2 And he prayed to Jehovah and said, Now, Jehovah, is this not what I was saying while still in my land? So I hastened to flee to Tarsis; for I knew that you are a merciful and pious God, slow to be angry, and of great mercy, and that you repent of evil. 4: 3 Now therefore, O Jehovah, I pray you, take my life; because death is better to me than life. 4: 4 And Jehovah said to him, Do you do well to be so angry? 4: 5 And Jonah went out of the city, and encamped toward the east of the city, and there was made a branch there, and sat under her in the shade, until he saw what would happen in the city. 4: 6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, which grew upon Jonah, that it should cast a shadow over his head, and deliver him from his malaise; and Jonah was greatly pleased by the pumpkin. 4: 7 But at dawn the next day, God prepared a worm, which struck the gourd, and dried up. 4: 8 And it came to pass that at the rising of the sun God made a mighty east wind, and the sun struck Jonah in the head, and he fainted, and desired death, saying, Death would be better for me than life. 4: 9 And God said to Jonah, Are you so angry at the gourd? And he answered: I am very angry, even to death. 4:10 And the LORD said, You had pity on the pumpkin, in which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow; that in the space of one night he was born, and in the space of another night he perished. 4:11 And will I not have mercy on Nineveh, that great city where there are more than one hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and many animals?


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