The Book of Jonah is an Old Testament book composed of 4 chapters and located between the Book of Obadiah and the Book of Micah. Among the prophets of the Bible, the prophet Jonah lived one of the most extraordinary stories recounted in the Bible. Indeed, he spends three days and three nights in the belly of a fish and comes out alive. Let’s discover the story of Jonah and Nineveh!
Jonah is a Hebrew prophet to whom God spoke, saying: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2) However, he did not follow the order of God and instead embarked for Tarshish. He then found himself in the middle of a violent storm, then in the belly of a great fish, where he repents his rebellion toward God. He then took the road to Nineveh. In the belly of this fish, in chapter 2, Jonah composes a very beautiful praise to the Lord.
Arriving in Nineveh, Jonas announces to the people that the city will be destroyed in 40 days. Immediately, the king commanded the people: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.” (Jonah 3: 7-8) The message of Jonah therefore bore fruit and God forgave the people. At the end of the book, we are presented with a discussion between God and Jonah. We see in this chapter 4, Jonah is angry with God for sparing Nineveh, but God answers him by showing him what His mercy is.
“Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.” (Jonah 1:15-16)
“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2: 1-2)
“He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2)
“But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.” (Jonah 2:10)
“And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11)