Jonah, the son of Amittai, was born in Israel. He was called by God to preach repentance to Assyria, of which the capital city was Nineveh. However, Jonah rebelled.
Jonah didn't want to preach to the pagans of Assyria. So, Jonah tried to escape God's plan by fleeing on a ship. But Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish. Later, the fish spit him out on the shoreline. Then, finally, Jonah obeyed God's command and went to Nineveh to preach. His preaching was successful and 120,000 people in Nineveh turned to God in obedience, sparing themselves punishment from God.
Jonah's time inside the fish is used as an example of Jesus' burial in Matthew 12:38-41. The basic theme of Jonah is that God declares His love for all men, whether they are Israelites or not. Jonah was unable to love the Assyrians properly, but God desired nothing for them but their salvation, and so He sent a prophet to preach repentance.
Jonah, means "dove". The Bible's book of Jonah is the 5th of the twelve minor prophets. Unlike the other prophet books, Jonah's is not a collection of prophetic speeches, but a short narrative.
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