Jonah Graphics

Jonah Time

 Jeroboam II become king; Jonah becomes a prophetUzziah become king of Judah  Jonah preaches to Nineveh Shalmaneser IV becomes king of AssyriaAshur-dan III becomes king of Assyria  Amos becomes a prophet  Ashurnirari V becomes king of AssyriaJonah's ministry ends Israel falls to Assyria  
 793 B.C.792 785? 783  772 760754 753 722 

Vital statistics

 Purpose: To show the extent of God's grace-the message of salvation is for all people
 Author: Jonah son of Amittai
 Original audience: All the people of Israel
 Date written: Approximately 785-760 B.C. 
 Setting: Jonah preceded Amos and ministered under Jeroboam II, Israel's most powerful king (793-753 B.C.; see 2 Kings 14:23-25). Assyria was Israel's great enemy; it conquered Israel in 722 B.C. Nineveh's repentance must have been short-lived, for it was destroyed in 612 B.C.   
 Key verse: "But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city?" (4:11).
 Key people:Jonah, the ship's captain and crew  
 Key place:  Joppa, Nineveh  
 Special features:  This book is different from the other prophetic book because it tells the story of the prophet and does not center on his prophecies. In fact, only one verse summarizes his message to the people of Nineveh (3:4). Jonah is a historical narrative. It is also mentioned by Jesus as a picture of his death and resurrection (Mathew 12:38-42). 

The Rulers and Prophets of Jonah's Time


Kings of Assyria



783 - 773

Ashurdan III  773-755

Tiglah-pileser III    745  -  727

   Ashurnirari   755-745 Shalmaneser  727-722

Kings of Israel

(Northern Kingdom)


Jehoash             798 -  782

   ZechariaNorthern ten tribes taken captive by King Shalmaneser V of Assyria in 722 B.C 
    Shallum one month 

  793   Jeroboam II  753


732Hoshea 722


Jonah and His Contemporary Prophets              (Northern Kingdom)





784 -772


767- 755


755                               714


Kings of Judah

(Southern Kingdom)


 796         Amaziah         767


750   Jotham   731


790          Uzziah or Azariah           739

735 Ahaz 715


Prophets to Judah 

(Southern Kingdom)


825    809


739                  Isaiah                   681


733          Micah        701


What Jesus Said 

What Jesus Said
     Elijah was sent to the widow of Zarephath (see 1 Kin. 17:8) rather than to widows in Israel—an indication that he, like Jesus, tended to find greater openness outside Israel than within it (Luke 4:24–26).
     Elijah (John the Baptist) had already come (probably referring to the prophecy of Mal. 4:5–6), but was rejected by the Jewish leaders, just as Jesus would be rejected by them (Matt. 17:11–12).
     Elisha healed Naaman (see 2 Kin. 5:1) of leprosy, rather than lepers in Israel—an indication that Gentiles often responded to God in faith more than the Israelites did, which was also true in Jesus’ day (Luke 4:24, 27).
     Isaiah prophesied about the hypocritical religious leaders of Jesus’ day (Matt. 15:7).
     Jonah’s experience in the belly of the great fish was a sign of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 12:40–41; Luke 11:32).
     Responsibility for Zechariah’s death would be shared by the disbelieving Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day (Matt. 23:35). (This might not be the same Zechariah who wrote the book bearing his name. )
Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Jon 1.5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Jonah and the Sailors

The Sailors
A Hebrew who came from a rich heritage of the Lord’s faithfulness.
Gentiles with no known history of the Lord God.
A monotheist who believed in the one true God (Jon. 1:9).
Polytheists who worshiped many false gods (Jon. 1:5).
Was related to God as a member of Israel.
Had no relationship with the true God.
Was spiritually insensitive and headed in the wrong direction, away from God (Jon. 1:3, 5).
Were spiritually sensitive; for example, they prayed (Jon. 1:5), and later sacrificed and took vows (1:16).
Was indifferent toward God’s will despite knowing Him.
Were concerned before God in spite of little or no knowledge of Him.
Showed no compassion toward Nineveh (Jon. 1:3; 4:1–3).
Showed great compassion toward Jonah (Jon. 1:11–14).
Was rebellious and therefore disciplined, though not destroyed (Jon. 1:17).
Were brought to worship and commitment to the Lord (Jon. 1:16).
Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Jon 1.5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

A Plant Teaches Jonah About People

Jonah and the Plant
God and the People of Nineveh
Jonah cared for a plant.
God cared for the people of Nineveh.
Jonah was concerned for himself.
God was concerned for the welfare of others.
Jonah did not create the plant.
God created all the people and animals in Nineveh.
Jonah did nothing for the plant.
God took care of Nineveh.
The plant had temporal value.
The people of Nineveh had both temporal and spiritual value.
Jonah’s primary concern was for his own personal comfort.
God’s primary concern was for human life—and spiritual sensitivity toward Him.
Jonah’s values displayed selfishness and an upside-down perspective on life.
God’s values displayed His love and a proper perspective on life.
Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Jon 4.9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Contrasting Jonah and the Mariners

The Mariners
He was a Hebrew with a rich history of yaweh God’s faithfulness
They were Gentiles with no history of yahweh God.
He was monotheistic, believing in the one true God. (v. 9)
They were polytheistic, worshiping many false gods.
He was rightly related to the true God.
They had no relationship with the true God.
He was spiritually insensitive, going in the wrong direction from God. (v. 5)
They were spiritually sensitive, moving in the right direction towards God. They prayed. (v. 5)
He was indifferent toward God’s will in spite of knowing Him.
They were concerned before God in spite little or no knowledge of Him.
He was uncompassionate toward Nineveh. (v. 3)
They were compassionate toward Jonah. (v. 11–14)
Jonah was rebellious and therefore disciplined, but not destroyed. (v. 17)
They were brought to worship and commitment. (v. 16)
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Jon 1.7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

God and Nineveh vs. Jonah and the Plant

God and Nineveh
Jonah and the Plant
God cared for the people of Nineveh
Jonah cared for a plant
God was concerned for the welfare of others
Jonah was concerned for himself
God created all that was in Nineveh
Jonah did not create the plant
God tended Nineveh
Jonah did nothing for the plant
The people of Nineveh are of eternal significance
The plant was most temporal
God’s concern was and is for human life
Jonah’s concern was for personal comfort and selfish personal interest
God’s concern for Nineveh is proper and displays his love
Jonah’s concern for a plant rather than for people is improper; it displays selfishness and an improper perspective on life
New Geneva study Bible. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.) (Jon 3.5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.


Served as a prophets to Israel and Assyria from 793-753 B.C.

  Nineveh was the most important city in Assyria and would soon become the capital of the huge Assyrian Empire. But Nineveh was also a very wicked city.  


 Jonah, who hated the powerful and wicked Assyrians, was called by God to warn the Assyrians that they would receive judgment if they did not repent. 


 Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh, so he tried to run from God. But God has ways of teaching us to obey and follow him. When Jonah preached, the city repented and God withheld his judgment. Even the most wicked will be saved if they truly repent of their sins and turn to God.

 Joel (835-796? B.C.), Amos (760-750 B.C.)

The Blueprint



   Jonah was a reluctant prophet given a mission he found distasteful. He chose to run away from God rather than obey him. Like Jonah, we have to do things in life that we don't want to do. Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to turn and run. But it is better to obey God than to defy him or run away. Often, in spite of our defiance, God in his mercy will give us another chance to serve him when we return to him.  

Jonah Overview

The Miracles in Jonah

     1. 1:4 'the Lord sent a great wind on the sea" 
     2. 1:7 "the lot fell on Jonah" 
     3. 1:15 "the raging sea grew calm"
     4. 1:17 "the Lord provided a huge fish"
     5. 1:17 "to swallow Jonah [alive]"
     6. 2:10 "the Lord commanded the fish... it vomited Jonah onto dry land"
     7. 3:10 "God saw what they did... they turned from their evil ways"
     8. 4:6 "the Lord God provided a leafy plans"
     9. 4:7  "God provided a worm" 
     10: 4:8 "God provided a scorching east wind"