Jonah

About the Book of Jonah

This book records what happened to a man called Jonah. Jonah lived in Gath Hepher, a town in Israel. Israel is east of the Mediterranean Sea.
We also read about Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25. The king was Jeroboam the Second. He ruled in the 8th century BC. A country near Israel, called Syria, had taken some of Israel's land by war. We read that Jonah spoke God's words to the Israelites. He said that the people in Israel would win back this land by war from Syria. And that is what had happened. So people knew that Jonah was a prophet. But Jonah's book is not only about the words that Jonah spoke. It records something that happened in his life.
Jonah may have written the book. Or another prophet may have written it. Usually these prophets of God spoke only to God's people in Israel and in Judah.
Nineveh was a city north east of Israel. Nineveh was in the country that today people call Iraq. The people in Nineveh were very powerful. They were happy about this. They thought that they were very important. At one time, Nineveh was the most powerful place in all the countries in the East. It became a capital city. The countries near Nineveh joined into one group. They were powerful and they ruled together. But the people in Nineveh and in this group did very wrong things. The people did cruel things to each other. They had many troubles. It was a dangerous place to live.
In the 8th century BC, this group of people had fought the Israelites who lived in the north of Israel. They had become the rulers of the north part of Israel. They had made the people in north Israel leave their country. So Jonah thought about the people in the group as the enemy.
This book is about Jonah but it is also a book about God. It shows us who God is. It tells us what he does. He made the world and he rules over it. So we read about the storm, the fish, the plant and the worm. God starts life and he can finish it. God does not want people to do wrong things but he shows love. So we read how God saved Jonah, and also the sailors and Nineveh. God shows his love to everyone, not only to the Israelites.