Date: 2 Kings 14:25  Jonah prophesied concerning the expansion of Israel under Jeroboam II, but not in the book we call Jonah.  Whether Jonah prophesied before or during the reign of Jeroboam is not known.  Whether Jonah’s mission to Nineveh was before or after the prophecies concerning Jeroboam is unknown.  So, Jonah’s trip to Nineveh could have occurred anywhere in the ninth century BC (the 800’s).

No record exists that any ancient rabbis found Messianic implication in Jonah.

Jonah is mentioned for three reasons in the New Testament:

  • Nineveh is an example of repentance: Matthew 12:41, Luke 11:32
  • Proof of the power of God: Luke 11:30, Matthew 16:4
  • Foreshadowing of Jesus’ time in the tomb: Matthew 12:40

The Plot

  • Running away from God
  • Running to God
  • Running with God
  • Running ahead of God

Side note:  God deals with all people, not just Israel.

Obscure references:

1:2       Nineveh – Very near to modern Kabul, Iraq.  The city has been well excavated and studied archeologically.  Many artifacts are in museums around the world, especially in the British Museum in London.  Many points of contact between these artifacts and the Bible have been found, including mentions of specific kings of Israel and Judah and descriptions of battles that are also described in the Bible.

1:3       Tarshish – The modern port of Gibraltar in Spain.

2:2       Sheol – The realm of the dead, neither good nor bad.

3:3       A three-day journey in extent – Most commentators think that this means it took three days to walk across the city.  The walled city of Nineveh was about 12 miles in circumference.  However, if the suburbs (all of which were included in a network of additional fortifications) were included, the metropolitan area would be at least 25 miles across.  Historians from other civilizations wrote that Nineveh was the largest city in the world known to them.

3:5       Fasting and wearing sackcloth were signs of mourning in all the Middle East.

3:6       Ashes were another common symbol of mourning.