Jonah 3:2 “…preach to it the message that I tell you”
We’re not told the message. Chapter one gives a bit of explanation for the message, but nothing specific about it other than to preach against the city.
3 “…a three-day journey…”
Some disagreement on the exact meaning. Most take it to describe the circumference of the city. Appears to fit with other non-Biblical accounts.
4 “…Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
Simplistic message. Surely this was the message God gave him, but one wonders if he cut corners. He didn’t want to come to Nineveh for reasons which he’ll mention later. So it’s curious as to whether he was totally into what God wanted or just getting by with as little as possible.
5 “…people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth…”
As simple as the message was, it got through to the people. Total repentance. Interesting that we’re not given more information on the message and yet a bunch of heathen people, who obviously had their own false gods, believed the words of a prophet from Israel. Did they know he was from Israel. Commentary suggests news of the works of God toward Israel were probably spread around to the other countries. Having one of God’s prophets come to your own city and say it was about to be overthrown may have been part of the impact.
6 “…king of Nineveh…arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes”
Even the king got involved. He didn’t let pride get in the way. Pretty strong motivation.
7-8 “…Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God…”
All took the situation very seriously. No one ate or drank, nor did they let the animals eat or drink. And they all covered themselves with sackcloth, even the animals. Total belief that they have one chance.
10 “…God saw their works…God relented from the disaster…”
Mercy of God. Although the message seems to be absolute, there was obviously the possibility of redemption. We know God doesn’t change His mind as such, but He usually leaves open the option to relent if we repent. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, nor is He willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.