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Jonah 2-4

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

Jonah Chapter 2

"Jonah and the whale" is one of the most famous events of Bible History. Was it actually a whale? Perhaps. Perhaps very likely. The Hebrew word, pronounced dawg, means fish, and is translated as such in the twenty times that it is used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, beginning from Genesis i.e. "1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea" (Genesis 1:26 KJV).

It was surely a literal event, as testified by Jesus Christ (Who also was given the task of Creation of all things, including the great fish of the sea - see Christ The Creator): "12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40 KJV).

The Sea

"2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell [i.e. his grave - see Where Is Hell?] cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 2:3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 2:5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul [see Where Is Your Soul?]: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple [see Physical and Spiritual Temples]. 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." (Jonah 2:1-10 KJV)

Jonah Chapter 3

With his spectacular object lesson learned, Jonah then made the long overland journey to Nineveh (i.e. from the Mediterranean coast of Israel to what is today central Iraq) to do what The Lord sent him to do to begin with. Jonah arrived in Assyria and began warning "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." Amazingly, the people of the great city believed him - amazingly, because The Lord's Israelite prophets were almost always rejected by Israelites, an irony that Christ himself rebuked His own people of Judah for (in another direct historic reference by Christ about Jonah) i.e. "12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here" (Matthew 12:41 KJV).

The Middle East

"3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3:3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey [i.e. it took 3 days to walk around the perimeter of the city]. 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes [see Sackcloth and Ashes]. 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

3:10 And God saw their works [see Works Means Obedience], that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." (Jonah 3:1-10 KJV)

Jonah Chapter 4

Jonah was successful in his mission, but he would much rather to have "failed" - at least in the sense of the people of Nineveh rejecting his warning. Jonah (rightly) viewed the people of Assyria as a major threat to Israel - and would much rather have preferred to see The Lord destroy them - another profound irony. Nearly all of The Lord's prophets had little joy because most were ignored and rejected; the one that was successful, Jonah, was also unhappy because of the people that he was successful with.

It was however a plain assurance and proof that The Lord has compassion and forgiveness for anyone who repents and obeys Him. Again, to emphasize: "12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here" (Matthew 12:41 KJV).

Sackcloth

"4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. 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. 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

4:5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?

And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" (Jonah 4:1-11 KJV)

Fact Finder: How did Jonah's "three days and three nights," as plainly spoken of by the Messiah ("12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" Matthew 12:40 KJV), get ignored by much of the Christian-professing world? How did it cause people to assume the wrong day of Christ's resurrection?
See The Son Rose As The Sun Set; also the Fact Finder link in that study - Sun Worship.


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