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Who is Jonah?
        (dove), the prophet, son of Amittai, and born at Gath-hepher. Jon 1:1; 2 Kgs 14:25. Nothing certain is known of his history beyond what is recorded in his book. He was sent by the Lord about b.c. 825 to Nineveh, the metropolis of ancient Assyria, to preach repentance. Instead of obeying the command, he took passage at Joppa for Tarshish (Tartessus in Spain). In punishment, God caused a great storm to arise. The sailors cast lots to find out who was the guilty one. The lot fell upon Jonah, who confessed his sin and told them to cast him into the sea; so should the storm cease. Although loth to do it, they after a time obeyed. Jonah was swallowed by "a great fish," probably a shark or sea-dog, since these creatures are found in the Mediterranean. After three days he was vomited out upon the dry land. The Lord's command being repeated, Jonah went to Nineveh, delivered his message, and then sat down to see the destruction of the city. But the Ninevites repented; the threatened punishment was averted, and Jonah was very angry. He withdrew from the city and sat down under a booth he built. The Lord, greatly to his comfort, caused a gourd to grow up, but then to wither away; and this singular book ends with the debate carried on between Jehovah and his servant, in which the gourd is mentioned, and in which the divine mercy extending over all creatures is plainly declared. See Gourd. And so the most intensely Jewish of the Hebrew prophets is compelled by the Spirit to pen words of a truly Christian import. See Nineveh. The difficulty with the book is the story of the great fish. The miracle is not that he was swallowed by a fish -- for horses have been found whole in the bellies of sharks -- but that he was kept alive within it for three days. But this miracle receives the strongest possible confirmation to a Christian from the use made of it by our Lord, who sees in it a type of the resurrection. Matt 12:39-41; Lev 16:4. He also refers to the preaching of Jonah. Luke 11:29-32. Jonah, the Book of consists of two parts: I. Jonah's commission, refusal, and miraculous escape from death; his prayer in the great fish. Chs. 1 and 2. II. His second commission, obedience, the repentance of the Ninevites, and Jonah's hard spirit. The book is variously regarded; it has been called a fiction, a myth, a parable, but it is hhtory, as is proven by its place in the Jewish canon, and by Christ's use of it, as already quoted. Some infidels went so far as to deny there was a city called Nineveh, but all such objectors have been grandly Traditional Tomb of Jonah. silenced by the excavations of Layard, Botta, and others, which have caused this old city on the Tigris to live again. The lesson of the book is that God's providence and his mercy extend beyond the covenant people unto the heathens. Although Jonah was at first the narrowest of Jews, his book is the most catholic in the O.T. It approaches most nearly the catholicity of Christianity.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'jonah' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

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