Jonah is a well-known figure in the Old Testament, who is responsible for writing the 32nd Book most likely between 793 and 758 BC. His tale is often referred to as ‘Jonah and the Whale,’ but many people are unaware of the background of the popular Sunday school tale. In this article, you will learn more about Jonah and how his story is significant in the Bible.
10 Facts About Jonah
To gain a better understanding about the prophet who is mentioned in one of the most known of Biblical tales, consider the following facts about Jonah ”“ the prophet who was swallowed by a whale.
1. Jonah came from the village of Gath Hepher, which was located about three miles north of Nazareth in lower Galilee. In modern days, the village of Gath Hepher is now known as Mash Had.
2. According to Matthew, Jonah is the only prophet that Jesus likened to Himself. The experiences of the prophet represent a kind of death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
3. At first, we see that Jonah is scared and prideful, which causes him to run from God. He does not want to go to Nineveh to preach and sway the people to repent. Jonah feels that the people are his enemies and he believes God will not carry out his threat of destroying the city. He chooses to instead, board a ship heading for Tarshish, which is traveling in the opposite direction.
4. A serious storm develops (at the hands of God) and the crew feels compelled to cast lots. They come to the conclusion that Jonah is the issue with their journey. They toss him overboard, and he is swallowed by a giant fish (the whale).
5. For three days and three nights, Jonah is inside the belly of the fish, where he says a prayer and repents his own sins to God. The fish releases Jonah onto dry land, where he then travels 500 miles to Nineveh so that he can jumpstart a revival in the city.
6. When Jonah influences the Nineveh people to repent, he is quite angry. He believed from the start that God was just and merciful, and that he knew this outcome would occur all along. He begs God to kill him, which He does not. Instead, God teaches him a lesson.
7. Instead of listening to Jonah’s request to die, God causes a tree to grow over the prophet. The tree gives him shade. At first, Jonah is grateful, but then he is angry the next day when God sends a worm to eat the plant. It withers as a result and Jonah tells God that it would have been better if he were dead. God then answers: “Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”
8. Jonah is considered the most effective of all prophets because he was able to persuade the entire population of Nineveh to turn back to God. The city was comprised of around 120,000 people.
9. Jonah’s name translates into ‘dove.’
10. Jonah is the only prophet in the Old Testament to completely minister on foreign soil.