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The Prophets Before the Exile

(Category 8 of 16)

Watch our Read Scripture video on the book of Jonah, which breaks down the literary design of the book and its flow of thought. There is one Read Scripture video dedicated to the book of Jonah, which aims to help you see its unique contribution to the story of Jesus, but also how they work within the Bible’s overall framework.

The book of Jonah is a subversive story about a rebellious prophet who despises his God for loving his enemies.

Explore Jonah



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The book of


NINEVEH is northeast; Tarshish is west.When God calls Jonah to preach repentance
to the wicked Ninevites, the prophet knows that God’s mercy may follow.
He turns down the assignment and heads for Tarshish instead. But once God
has dampened his spirits (by tossing him out of the boat and into the water) and
has demonstrated His protection (by moving him out of the water and into the
fish), Jonah realizes God is serious about His command. Nineveh must hear
the word of the Lord; therefore Jonah goes. Although the preaching is a success,
the preacher comes away angry and discouraged and he must learn firsthand of
God’s compassion for sinful men.
Yonah is the Hebrew word for “dove.” The Septuagint hellenized this word into
Ionas, and the Latin Vulgate used the title Jonas.

Jonah’s Disobedience


1 NOW the word of the LORD came to aJonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 “Arise, go to aNineveh, that bgreat city, and cry out against it; for ctheir wickedness has come up before Me.”
3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to aJoppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid

CHAPTER 1 References

1 a2 Kin. 14:25
2 aIs. 37:37
bGen. 10:11,
12 cGen. 18:20
3 aJosh. 19:46
bIs. 23:1 cGen.
4 aPs. 107:25
1Lit. hurled
5 1Lit. from
upon them

the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to bTarshish cfrom the presence of the LORD.

The Storm at Sea

4 But athe LORD 1sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten 1the load.

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But Jonah had gone down ainto the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, acall on your God; bperhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us acast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 Then they said to him, a“Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear 1the LORD, the God of heaven, awho made the sea and the dry land.”

Jonah Thrown into the Sea

10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12 And he said to them, a“Pick me up and 1throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, abut they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.
14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, “We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and ado not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, bhave done as it pleased You.”
15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, aand the sea ceased from its raging.
16 Then the men afeared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.

Jonah’s Prayer and Deliverance

17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And aJonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.


1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.
2 And he said:

“I acried out to the LORD because of my affliction, bAnd He answered me.

“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.

5 a1 Sam. 24:3
6 aPs. 107:28
bJoel 2:14
7 aJosh. 7:14
8 aJosh. 7:19
9 a[Neh. 9:6] 1Heb. YHWH
12 aJohn 11:50
1Lit. hurl
13 a[Prov.
21:30] 14 aDeut. 21:8
bPs. 115:3
15 a[Ps. 89:9;
107:29] 16 aActs 5:11
17 a[Matt.

CHAPTER 2 References

2 aPs. 120:1
bPs. 65:2
3 aPs. 88:6
bPs. 42:7
4 aPs. 31:22
b1 Kin. 8:38
5 aLam. 3:54
6 a[Ps. 16:10] 1foundations
or bases
7 aPs. 18:6
8 aJer. 10:8
1Or Lovingkindness
9 aHos. 14:2
b[Eccl. 5:4, 5] cPs. 3:8 d[Jer.

CHAPTER 3 References

3 1Exact
4 a[Deut.
18:22] 5 a[Matt.
12:41] 6 aJob 2:8
7 a2 Chr. 20:3
1Lit. great


3 aFor You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; bAll Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
4 aThen I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again btoward Your holy temple.’
5 The awaters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.
6 I went down to the 1moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my alife from the pit, O LORD, my God.

7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; aAnd my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.

8 “Those who regard aworthless idols Forsake their own 1Mercy.
9 But I will asacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have bvowed. cSalvation is of the dLORD.”

10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah Preaches at Nineveh


1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,
2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”
3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, 1a three-day journey in extent.
4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then ahe cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

The People of Nineveh Believe

5 So the apeople of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.
6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth aand sat in ashes.
7 aAnd he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his 1nobles, saying,

Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.

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8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, alet every one turn from his evil way and from bthe violence that is in his hands.
9 aWho can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

10 aThen God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Jonah’s Anger and God’s Kindness


1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.
2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I afled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a bgracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.
3 a“Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for bit is better for me to die than to live!”
4 Then the LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 So Jonah went out of the city and

8 aIs. 58:6 bIs.
9 aJoel 2:14
10 aJer. 18:8

CHAPTER 4 References

2 aJon. 1:3
bJoel 2:13
3 a1 Kin. 19:4
bJon. 4:8
6 1Heb.
exact identity
unknown 2Lit.
rejoiced with
great joy
8 aJon. 4:3
10 1Lit. was a
son of a night
11 aJon. 1:2;
3:2, 3 bDeut.

sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.
6 And the LORD God prepared a 1plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah 2was very grateful for the plant.
7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.
8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, a“It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
10 But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which 1came up in a night and perished in a night.
11 “And should I not pity Nineveh, athat great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons bwho cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”

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Song of Victory over Zion’s Enemies

A Song of Ascents.

1 “MANY a time they have aafflicted1 me from bmy youth,” cLet Israel now say—
2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth; Yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 The plowers plowed on my back; They made their furrows long.”
4 The LORD is righteous; He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

PSALM 129 References

1 a[Jer. 1:19;
15:20]; Matt.
16:18; 2 Cor.
4:8, 9 bEzek.
23:3; Hos. 2:15
cPs. 124:1
6 aPs. 37:2
7 1arms full,
lit. bosom
8 aRuth 2:4

5 Let all those who hate Zion Be put to shame and turned back.
6 Let them be as the agrass on the housetops, Which withers before it grows up,
7 With which the reaper does not fill his hand, Nor he who binds sheaves, his 1arms.
8 Neither let those who pass by them say, a“The blessing of the LORD be upon you; We bless you in the name of the LORD!”




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