Jonah Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers on the book of Jonah
While the book of Jonah has only four short chapters, this classic fish tale is one of the most popular Bible stories. And not only is it true history, there is much to learn from a prophet who wanted to die rather than serve God.
Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh? Jonah was both scared of the wicked people of Nineveh and he was angry with them He wanted God to destroy the city and all of the wicked people in it. In Jonah 4: 2 Jonah is talking to God and he is angry that God spared Nineveh after they repented. Jonah knew that if the people of Nineveh repented that God would not destroy them and Jonah wanted them dead.
Where is Tarshish? Bible scholars disagree as to where exactly Tarshish was. But the idea is that it was a place very far from Israel.
What does it mean that they cast lots in Jonah 1:7? The sailors cast lots to determine who was at fault for this vicious storm casting lost was a method used at time in the Bible to determine God’s mind. Lots could be stick with markings or stones with symbols, or any similar object that was thrown and then interpreted. Although these were heathen sailors casting lots, God used this to single out that He was trying to get the attention of Jonah.
Why did Jonah want to be thrown overboard in Jonah 1:12? Jonah knew that God allowed this terrible storm because he was running from God. Jonah did not want the others to suffer so he felt that if he was dead – drowned – then the storm would cease that the sailors and the ship would be safe. Jonah would have rather been dead than to serve God at Nineveh.
Was the fish that swallowed Jonah a whale? According to what I was taught, the Hebrews classified all the sea dwelling animals as “fish”. Jesus in Matthew 12:40 specifies this fish as a whale. Even though whale can swallow humans, this particular sea creature was specially prepared by God to swallow Jonah, so this was no ordinary fish.
Why did the king sit in ashes in Jonah 3:6? The king was repenting before God of his wickedness. Sitting in ashes is a sign of repentance. The king repented of his wickedness and therefore set the example for all the people in his kingdom.
Why did they make the animals to fast also in Jonah 3:7? These people were so convinced of the coming judgment that they made their animals to fast and to sit in ashes also. Since the animals were an extension of their owners, the animals were also an extension of the owners’ wickedness and therefore when the owners repented before the Lord, they wanted their animals to repent also as an extension of their own repentance.
Why was Jonah angry in Jonah 4:1? God saw the Ninevites true repentance and so He did not destroy them. Jonah was angry because he wanted Nineveh destroyed.
In Jonah 4:11 who are the persons that cannot discern between their right and left hands? I believe that this is a referent to children. God knew that in Nineveh there were more than 12,000 thousand children.
Finished with the book of Jonah? Go to Micah.