Jonah and the Ninevites

Image by Parker_West from Pixabay

Is it implied that Jonah related more to the people of Nineveh than what is recorded?

The book of Jonah is one of the most interesting prophetic books of the Old Testament. Here’s a prophet God actually calls away from Israel to their enemies. The Ninevites were the sworn enemies of the Israelites, the strongest empire in Jonah’s day.

Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrians. While they were the military and political power of the day, they were an extremely wicked people. This is exactly why God sent Jonah to them. He sent him to declare and prophesy their destruction by God’s hands.

Jonah was more than okay with this arrangement until God gave the ultimatum in his prophecy that if the Ninevites turned to the Lord, they would be saved. Jonah wanted them, as his nation’s archenemies, to pay the price of God’s judgment.

This is why at the end of the book in Jonah 4 he goes out after God changes his decision to destroy the Ninevites and sits under the tree. He complains to God because God changed his mind and stayed his judgment of the Ninevites.

The book ends by God reminding Jonah that he is sovereign and gets to decide what he does with each nation and every people group. He reminds Jonah that these are people, not just his enemies, and they need his salvation also.

Jonah ends the book by being upset with God because of his grace toward the Ninevites. This is the basic narrative of his book. He was upset that God would give his grace to the enemies of Israel. But God has a larger rule.

He is gracious to those who hear the gospel message and turn from their wickedness and worship him. He is no respecter of our enemies, friends, or any other relationships we have with others. And like Jonah, he will use us to send that message of grace to anyone.

He cares more about individual people and their response to the gospel than he does our thoughts on who should be saved and who shouldn’t. Everyone is worthy of God’s grace if they confess, repent, and turn to the Lord.

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