Overview of Jonah

Author: Jonah; prophet from Gath, near Nazareth, Galilee

Key Verse: Jonah 4:2: God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abundant in lovingkindness, relenting from bringing calamity

Key Terms: angry, (God) appointed, calamity, call on God/god, compassion, distress, pray, relent, word of the LORD

Cross-references: 2 Kings 14:25; Mat 12:40 (and parallels)

Main Theme: God is Compassionate

Sub-Themes: sovereignty of God; obedience; inclusiveness of God’s love/mercy

Heading / Sections / Content

  • 1st Command (Jonah 1:1-2)
    • command to go to Nineveh and deliver message against their wickedness


  • Disobedience (Jonah 1:3)
    • Jonah disobeys and flees from God on a boat from Joppa to Tarshish


  • Found Out (Jonah 1:4-9)
    • pagan sailors ask Jonah for help in praying due to storm; Jonah is found to be the culprit; he points to the LORD of creation


  • Pagans Believe (Jonah 1:10-14)
    • Jonah admits his fault and tells sailors to throw him overboard; they do, after everything else fails, and pray to the LORD for mercy


  • No Judgment (Jonah 1:15-16)
    • God withholds judgment and storm recedes; sailors fear God, offer sacrifices, make vows


  • Rock-bottom (Jonah 1:17-2:10)
    • fish swallows Jonah; Jonah prays: distress and rock-bottom (2-6), confession (7), resolution (8-9); fish spits out Jonah


  • 2nd Command (Jonah 3:1-2)
    • command to go to Nineveh and deliver message


  • Obedience (Jonah 3:3-4)
    • Jonah obeys and goes to Nineveh and announces judgment to come in 40 days


  • Pagans Believe (Jonah 3:5-9)
    • pagans of Nineveh believe, fast, repent, call earnestly on God, leave wicked ways


  • No Judgment (Jonah 3:10-4:3)
    • God withholds judgment; Jonah is disappointed and angry, even depressed unto death


  • Lesson Intro (Jonah 4:4)
    • God asks why Jonah is angry


  • Emotional Rollercoaster (Jonah 4:5-8)
    • Jonah leaves Nineveh; sits in shade, waiting for judgment; God grows plant to give shade; Jonah is happy; God kills plant, Jonah gets depressed again


  • Lesson (Jonah 4:9-11)
    • God asks why Jonah is angry about the plant; Lesson: Jonah had compassion on the plant he did not create; God should have compassion on 120,000 people He did create