Jonah overview

Greetings!  This reading is an overview of Jonah.

I am excited about this study of Jonah.  Many of us have heard about “Jonah and the Whale” so many times that we think of it as a cartoon, even though the text says “fish” and not “whale” and the text and the rest of the Bible point to Jonah being a real person.

Try to pretend you are reading it for the first time.  There is so much more to this story than just a big fish.  In fact, you may be surprised that the story doesn’t go as you remembered. This is a very short book and can be read quickly.  I encourage you to read it through once then come back through it chapter by chapter.   

Who wrote this and when was it written? Jonah, a prophet of God, wrote it around 775 B.C.  It is possible that someone else wrote it because it is written in the third person, but it is quite likely that a repentant Jonah wrote it himself.

Was Jonah a real person?  Did he really preach to the people of Ninevah?  He was referred to in 2 Kings 14:25.  And Jesus sure thought he was real:

Matthew 12:39-41 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

Who was it written to?  Israel (the Jewish nation) and all followers of God.

Why was it written?  The Book of Jonah shows the message of God’s salvation to all people, not just the Israelites.  It also shows how God pursues us and how painful disobedience can be. 

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

The next reading is Jonah 1.

One thought on “Jonah overview”

  1. It’s funny, I always thought about this story in reference to Jonah’s inital disobedience, and how God “always gets his man.” Upon really reading this, I am struck more by Jonah’s anger and indignation.
    God’s response reminds me of my parents’ when I would get too big for my britches, something of a Heavenly “who do you think you are?” Good reminder for me that I am too inclined to become fll of myself.


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