Reading The Bible

Random Thoughts on the Book of Jonah

“Everyone knows that story.” This used to be my thought process as I studied the Bible. I mean how many times have people read the story of Jonah? God tells him to go and preach to Nineveh, he goes the opposite way, gets swallowed by a whale, and then obeys God. End of story, right? The truth is that in every story of the Bible, there are always more details to be found. Even in the story of Jonah, there is information to be learned.

One interesting part of the story is how Jonah never had to, “walk the plank.” He actually volunteered to go into the ocean. He told them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea.” When he told the crew the Bible says that they just kept rowing

One other detail is that when the city of Nineveh repented and turned to God the animals actually fasted too. This has to rank up there as one of the funniest decrees. It says, “Do not let man, beast, heard, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water (Jonah 3:7).” Although this can actually make sense. If the whole city is in a fast, then someone could be tempted to eat the animal’s food.

Also, it actually might not have been a whale. I believe it was a whale, but we cannot be entirely certain. The Bible describes it as, “…a great fish…” so we really don’t know if it was a whale or not (Jonah 1:17). Being that the Blue Whale is one of the biggest sea creatures ever recorded, it probably was.

Another part of the story which can be missed is the relationship of Jonah and the people of Nineveh. Why didn’t Jonah want to go there? The people of Nineveh were Assyrians. Seiden Chaim wrote a article about Jonah and said, “…during Jonah’s own lifetime-the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, destroyed its capital, Samaria, and exiled the ten northern tribes.[1]” These people had been brutal to Jonah’s nation, and yet Jonah went and preached to them.

Even if you have read every verse and scripture there is information to be gathered. Allow Christ to guide you through His Word and show you hidden truths. Never tell yourself, “Everyone knows that story” because there are always things to learn.

[1] Chaim Seiden. 1999. Why does jonah want to die? BR, 06, 4.

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