The Book of Jonah is unlike other prophetic books of the Bible in that it is a narrative, describing the adventures of a prophet who tried to disobey God's command. God told him to go to Nineveh, the capital of the great empire of Assyria, Israel's deadly enemy. But Jonah did not want to go there with God's message, because he was convinced that God would not carry out his threat to destroy the city. After a series of dramatic events, he reluctantly obeyed, and finally sulked when his message of doom did not come true.
The book portrays God's absolute sovereignty over his creation. But above all it portrays God as a God of love and mercy, who would rather forgive and save even the enemies of his people, than punish and destroy them.
Outline of Contents
Jonah's call and disobedience (1.1-17)
Jonah's repentance and deliverance (2.1-10)
Jonah's message against Nineveh (3.1-10)
God's mercy on Nineveh (4.1-11)
This book is a short story about a man who tries to run from God. Jonah did not want to deliver the Lord's warnings to the people of Nineveh as the Lord commanded him. The Lord used a great fish and a vine to teach this reluctant prophet about the nature of God's mercy.