Jonah

Jonah; John 7:52; Matthew 24:14; Jonah 4:2; Acts 13:45; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Jonah 2; Daniel 12:2; Jonah 3; Jonah 4; 2 Kings 14:25; Matthew 12:39-41; Matthew 16:4; Luke 11:29-32
Son of Amittai and the prophet of Gath-hepher (in Galilee, compare John 7:5252They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. (John 7:52)). His prophecy is in the main the history of himself. It shows that the prophet embodied in himself the testimony of God through Israel to the Gentiles (Compare Matt. 24:1414And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)), and also the important fact that God regards the contrition and turning from evil of a city or nation. Jonah was directed to go and cry against that great city Nineveh; but instead of obeying, he fled from the presence of the Lord. He himself tells us why he fled—he knew Jehovah was gracious: if he foretold the destruction of the city, and God spared it, he would lose his reputation (Jonah 4:22And 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. (Jonah 4:2)). It was the same with Israel: they could not bear grace being shown to the Gentiles (compare Acts 13:4545But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. (Acts 13:45); 1 Thess. 2:1616Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2:16)). Jonah was God’s servant, but unfaithful: his unfaithfulness brought him into the depths of judgment, but he then embodied in his own person the truth of the testimony he proclaimed, and yet while proclaiming the judgment, he was unprepared for the extension of mercy to the Gentiles. God stopped him in his course, and though he slept, the sailors called him to account. After praying to their gods, they drew lots and the lot fell on Jonah. He had to confess he was fleeing from Jehovah, the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. Thus Jehovah was made known to those Gentile seamen. They cried unto Him not to lay the blood of Jonah upon them, and they cast him into the sea. They feared Jehovah exceedingly, offered a sacrifice to Him, and made vows. In like manner the obduracy of the Jews only opened the door wider for grace to go to the Gentiles.
Jonah 2. God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, for he was His servant. When in the depths he cried to Jehovah, “out of the belly of Sheol:” as the remnant of Israel will plead when they feel that the sentence of death is passed upon them. Salvation is of the Lord. Jonah was raised out of death, as the Lord was raised after being in the grave; and as Israel will arise out of the dust of the earth (compare Dan. 12:22And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)).
Jonah 3. A second time Jonah receives his commission. God will not set His purpose aside because of the failure of His servant. Jonah now obeyed, and proclaimed “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” The king called for a fast, put on sackcloth, and ordered all to do the same, and even to clothe the beasts with sackcloth, and he commanded all to turn away from their evil ways. God saw that the repentance was real, and He turned from the destruction that was predicted. See NINEVEH.
Jonah 4. God’s clemency greatly displeased Jonah, and he was very angry; what would become of his reputation? In his prayer he repeated what he had at first said to himself about the grace of God. He asked God to take away his life: how could he be a prophet to such a God? Alas, he was filled with his own importance. As he watched to see what would become of the city, God prepared a gourd to give him shade from the heat of the sun, and he rejoiced over the gourd; but the next day it withered, and under the power of the sun and the east wind he fainted, and again asked to die. He said to God that he did well to be angry about the gourd, but God condescended to reason with him, saying that as Jonah had had pity on the gourd which cost him nothing; so God had had pity on Nineveh, a city with more than 60,000 inhabitants who knew not their right hand from their left, besides very much cattle.
We may hope that Jonah humbled himself before being used by the Spirit to write his own history—a history which shows what the heart of even a servant of God was, and the means employed by God to teach him. Jonah is once spoken of elsewhere as having prophesied of events which came to pass in the days of Jeroboam II. This places Jonah as one of the earliest of the Minor Prophets (2 Kings 14:2525He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher. (2 Kings 14:25)). He is called JONAS in the New Testament where a contrast is drawn between the Ninevites repenting at the preaching of Jonah, and the Jews not repenting though a greater than Jonah was then among them. Allusion is also made to Jonah being in the fish’s belly as a type of the Lord’s burial “in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-4139But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40For 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. 41The 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 12:39‑41); Matt. 16:44A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (Matthew 16:4); Luke 11:29-3229And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. 30For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. 31The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. 32The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Luke 11:29‑32)).