The  Book of Jonah

An Outline

1. Background

This is one of the books of  scripture  that has had its fair share of critics over the years!  By some  this book is only considered an allegory, without any basis in fact. However  Jesus Himself  vouches for  Jonah's historical  record.

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.  But 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: for 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.  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

 Mtt. 12:38-41

Not only did Jesus  support Jonah's historical  existence, but also  the fact of the prophet  being swallowed up  for three days and nights.

 2.Who was Jonah?

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.  He 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 Gathhepher.

II Kgs 14:23-25

From the above passage we see that Jonah was:

  • A fully qualified prophet.
  • Of  Gath - hepher, which is in Galilee.  cmp Jn.7:52 !
  • 3. Keys

    3.1  A keyword in this book is  'prepared' 

    Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
    And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief.  So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
    But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
    And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared  a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted,   and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live

    3.2. The key verse

    The key verse that  gives us an understanding of Jonah's attitude is:

    And 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

    Jonah's attitude was simply because of narrow mindedness, he did not want the Gentiles to be saved;  we learn then that God is the God of the Gentiles as well as that of  the Jews.

    4. Chapter outline.

    Jonah's  commission

    Jonah's disobedience
    Jonah's prayer
    Jonah's re-commission

    Jonah's  success
    Jonah's reproof