“If we reflect on how we might be like Jonah, some of our incorrect attitudes may come to the surface. Are we concerned only about ourselves in our faith? Is ministry important only if it has some relationship to us personally? To our racial or ethnic group? Are there groups that we would rather hate than love? Have we opened our lives completely to God’s grace, compassion, and love if we are unwilling to love those who have offended us deeply? Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant makes a nice parallel to the message of Jonah. Indeed, a theme that runs from Deuteronomy through all the Prophets, and on into the New Testament is that God wants His people to love Him wholly and to love their neighbor as themselves. The book of Jonah conveys this message in a unique way.” (HCSB)

“Whether Jonah was swallowed by a fish or a whale to keep him alive is less important than the fact that God provided a miraculous means to redirect the wayward prophet to his original task, preaching repentance to Nineveh. God’s plans will not be thwarted by the schemes disobedient people devise to get around them.”

In regards to 3:10, “Jonah announced that “in 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown,” but God did not overthrow Nineveh in 40 days. He “relented” in response to the repentance of the Ninevites. While “overthrown” could have a verb meaning, it can also have the sense of “turn around” or “be changed.” Nineveh would be either destroyed or changed, and when the people repented it indeed was changed. An objection to this view is that the Ninevites understood the message as a threat of destruction. A better solution considers the nature of a prophecy of judgment. If God was concerned enough about Nineveh—capital city of the feared Assyrian Empire—to send Jonah to preach repentance, such a message must be understood as a warning. Jonah’s prophecy to the Ninevites was therefore conditional, not absolute. If the people repented, the Lord might not bring the judgment. Jonah recognized this even before he gave the message; he fled from the Lord initially because he knew that God might relent.”

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