Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Studying the Book of Jonah: part 1

I've just completed an in-depth verse by verse study of the book of Jonah with this Facebook ladies Bible study group.

I've taken all my notes, done further research and written my own verse-by-verse study.  I'd like to share it here over the next several days with the hope that you learn as much from it as I did ...

I make notes in my Bible a lot and as you can see the book of Jonah doesn't have any which tells me that I've never done an in-depth study of the book, until now!

Do you notice the key on the loop of my Bible cover?  I intentionally put that key there as a reminder that studying God's Word is 'key' in my relationship with Him.  I never want to forget that and so this little reminder helps keep the importance of Bible study ever before me.

Today, I'm going to share my notes on verses 1 - 3 of chapter 1 and give a little background information.  Knowing the background helps to understand the book much better!

(pictured:  markings I made in my Bible on verses 1 - 3 along with some basic background info.)

I hope you enjoy what I've written and that it helps you understand the book of Jonah better.    It is my earnest desire to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.  I've tried to do that in the following, may you be blessed by what you read.

Jonah, chapter 1

Verse 1Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amitta, saying,

God had a message specifically for Jonah.  Jonah, being a prophet of God (II Kings 14:25), was no stranger to God and it was not the first time he had heard from Him.  But this time, it was different!  This time Jonah’s heart was not agreeable to what God wanted him to do.

This verse mentions something of Jonah’s lineage so let’s take a brief look at that before moving on to the next verse.  Jonah was the son of Amittai of the tribe of Zebulun.  Zebulun was the sixth and last son of Jacob and Leah.  The twelve sons of Jacob became the twelve tribes of Israel, and the tribe of Zebulun was one of them.


Verse 2: “Arise, go to Nineveh that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”

God’s message for Jonah was a call to action!  Nineveh, a great city in Assyria, full of wickedness and evil, needed a faithful messenger from God to preach to them the truth of God’s Word, and God hand-picked Jonah for the job!

God knows all about everything, including the wickedness of people and it seems in this situation that God has had enough of Nineveh’s wickedness.

God knew how hard this job was going to be, but he also knew that Jonah could do it.  However, first He had to get Jonah’s attention!


Verse 3But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So, he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord.

Silly Jonah, he thought he could get away from almighty God, how foolish, but in his strong desire not to do what God wanted him to do, he gave it a hardy try.

Joppa was about the only seaport that Israel had at the time, so Jonah made the journey from his hometown of Gath Hepher in Zebulun to Joppa some 60 or so miles away with the sole purpose of finding a ship going as far away from where God wanted him to go as he could get.

Nineveh was about 550 miles northeast of Joppa and Tarshish, a port city in Spain, was about 2500 miles west.  To get to Tarshish, Jonah would have to get on a ship and travel many miles over water.  So, that’s what he did, he paid the fare and got on the ship!  Jonah was determined to do what he wanted to do instead of what God wanted him to do … and he thought he was getting away with it!

Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh?  Why did he deliberately choose to disobey God, being a prophet of God, he should have known better?  What was behind his adamant refusal to do what God wanted him to do?   In short, Jonah hated the Ninevites and Assyrians with every fiber of his being.  The Bible gives several references to the Assyrians invading Israel more than once (I Chronicles 5:26; II Kings 17:5-6 and II Chronicles 32:22). Jonah wanted nothing to do with them nor did he want the God of Israel to extend His great grace and mercy towards them either.  No way was Jonah going to have any part in helping the Ninevites in any way!

patsy @ From This Heart Of Mine

(c) 2022 by Patsy Norwood.  All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing how we can lie to ourselves and believe it?