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The Book of Jonah

I will do the Jonah Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment, it is NOT Scripture.

JONAH means a dove. He was the son of Amittai of Gath-hepher. He was a prophet of Israel, and predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries of the kingdom. 2 Kings 14:25 He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher. (KJV)

He served the Lord God in the early reign of Jeroboam II., being a contemporary with Hosea and Amos. It is possible he preceded them; and if so, may have been the oldest of all the prophets whose writings we possess. His personal history is mainly to be gathered from the book which bears his name. It is chiefly interesting from the two-fold character in which he appears, (1) as a missionary to heathen Nineveh, and (2) as a type of the “Son of man.”

The Book of Jonah gives an account of what actually took place in the experience of the prophet. Some critics say the book is a parable, allegory, fable or legend and is not history. In other words, it is simply fiction, and I say, not true.

Some reject it on the ground that the miraculous portion enters so largely into it, and that it is not prophetical but narrative in its form. Still others, deny the possibility of miracles altogether, and say it cannot be true history. Jonah and his story is referred to by our Lord Jesus (Mat.12:39-40; Luke 11:29-30), a fact that must be considered. As far as I am concerned, this one argument is sufficient to settle the whole question. No man-made theories invented to try to get rid of difficulties can stand against such a proof that the Book is actual history, inspired by God.

2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (KJV)
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (KJV) . . . Peter affirms that the Old Testament prophets wrote God’s messages.

The Bible is NOT a collection of fables or human ideas about God. It is God’s very words given through God’s people to people. It is NOT a human book. Through the Holy Spirit, God revealed His person and plan to certain believers, who wrote down His message for His people. This process is known as inspiration. The writers wrote from their own personal, historical, and cultural contexts; using their own minds, talents, language, and style, but they wrote what God wanted them to write. Scripture is completely trustworthy because God was in control of every word that was written. The Bible is “God-breathed.” Read it, let it guide your conduct. The Book of Jonah is true. If you believe any part of the Bible, you must believe it all.

There is every reason to believe that this book was written by Jonah himself. It gives an account of:

  • #1. his call from God to go to Nineveh, his disobedience, and the punishment following (Jonah 1:1-17);
  • #2. his prayer and miraculous deliverance (Jonah 1:17-2:10);
  • #3. the second commission given to him, and his prompt obedience in delivering the message from God, and its results in the repentance of the Ninevites, and God’s long-sparing mercy toward them (Jonah 3);
  • #4.Jonah’s displeasure at God’s merciful decision, and the rebuke from God to the impatient prophet (Jonah 4). Nineveh was spared after Jonah’s mission for more than a century.


  • #1. God sent a violent storm. Jonah 1:4.
  • #2. God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah 1:17.
  • #3. God ordered the fish to vomit Jonah. Jonah 2:10.
  • #4. God made a vine to shade Jonah. Jonah 4:6.
  • #5. God provided a worm to eat the vine. Jonah 4:7.
  • #6. God provided a scorching wind to blow on Jonah. Jonah 4:8.
  • #7. The entire city of Nineveh repents. Jonah 3:5.

There are six important subjects in the Book of Jonah which make it very relevant for us today:

  • #1. This book of the Old Testament sets forth the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Book of Jonah illustrates and teaches the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
  • #2. The Book of Jonah teaches that salvation is NOT by works, but by faith which leads to repentance. The way to God is NOT by works of righteousness which we have done, but by the Blood of a substitutionary sacrifice provided by the Lord. The most significant statement in the Book of Jonah is in the second chapter: “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). He is the author of salvation.
  • #3. The third great purpose of this book is to show that God’s purpose of grace cannot be stopped. Jonah refused to go to Nineveh, but God would get His way. Jonah was going to be the witness for God in Nineveh . . . he did not know he was going there, but he did go.
  • #4. The fourth great truth in this book is that God will not cast us aside for faithlessness. He may not use you, but He will not cast you aside. Anytime we repent and desire to do His will, He will permit us to do it.
  • #5. The fifth great truth is that God is good and gracious. Jonah 4:2 gives us the most penetrating picture of God in the entire Bible. Jonah 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. (KJV)
  • #6. The sixth great teaching is that God is the God of the Gentiles. Salvation is available for all mankind. The Book of Jonah reveals that even in the Old Testament God did NOT forget the Gentiles. He was willing to save a woman like Rahab the harlot, and a brutal, cruel nation like the Assyrians, including inhabitants of Nineveh, its capital. God is a merciful God and wants to save sinners.

Book of Jonah

Ch1 . Ch2 . Ch3 . Ch4 . Whales?

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