Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Jonah-Chapter 3

Jonah 3.1-10 gives us the account of a second call to Jonah to go to Ninevah, and how he obeyed. This is similar to Shimon ben Yonah (Peter) who was also told a second time to go to the non-Jews in Acts 10.15.

v 1…Now the word of the Lord (Yehovah) came to Jonah a second time, saying,

v 2…”Arise (Acts 10.20), go to Ninevah the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.”

v 3…So Jonah arose and went to Ninevah according to the word of the Lord (he is given a chance to prove his repentance by being given the exact same circumstances). Now Ninevah was an exceedingly great city, a three days walk (around the area).

v 4…Then Jonah began to go through the city one days walk (as he went through it) and he cried out and said (as he went along), “Yet forty days (40 is the time of repentance) and Ninevah will be overthrown (not by an earthly army, but by the power of God).”

v 5…Then the people of Ninevah believed in God (his word was accepted as true), and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them (old and young, without exception-divine power accompanied his preaching).

v 6…When the word reached the king of Ninevah (it came to his knowledge, informed of Jonah’s arrival and his prediction); he arose from his throne (he didn’t waste time), laid aside his robe from him, and covered himself with sackcloth and sat on ashes (a sign of mourning, exchanging his royal earthly robes of elegance; ashes are a sign that the fire of Yehovah has done its work).

v 7…And he issued a proclamation (a royal decree) and it said, “In Ninevah by the decree of the king and his nobles (his ministers, great men): Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water (to make the mourning greater).

v 8…But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and let men call on God earnestly (Acts 10.35) that each may turn to him (in repentance) from his wicked way (as defined by the Torah; sinful habits) and from violence which is in his hands (their oppression, thefts, and preying on others).

v 9…Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw his burning anger so that we shall not perish?”

v 10…When God saw their deeds (works) that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which he had declared he would bring upon them. And he did not do it (see Amos 7.3 notes also: This language is called “anthropomorphic” which is ascribing human feelings and passions to Yehovah, who is not human. He shows the people a judgment he could have done, but chose not to do. This seeming “change” is in accordance with his secret plans and purposes all along-it was already “factored in” before the foundation of the world).

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