Jonah 3-4

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015



We have seen -

I. The Disobedience of Jonah - 1:1 - 2:10

A. The commission of the prophet

God directed Jonah to go to Nineveh.

B. The disobedience of the prophet

He determined to go to Tarshish, which was the opposite direction of Nineveh.

C. The consequences of the prophet's disobedience

God sent a great wind which was about to sink the cargo ship on which Jonah was sailing. Eventually Jonah was thrown overboard in order to get the wind to stop blowing so hard. As soon as he was thrown overboard, the sea became calm.

God sent a great fish, which swallowed Jonah. While nearly drowning and then finding himself in the belly of the fish, Jonah had time to think. He decided to obey God, and God had the fish vomit Jonah on the shore.

We move on to -

II. The Obedience of Jonah - 3:1 - 4:11

A. The recommissioning of the prophet - 3:1-2

Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

The word of the LORD had come to Jonah the first time in Jonah 1:1 . Although the message was clear, Jonah knowingly disobeyed it and went in the opposite direction.

Jonah 3:2 Arise [i.e. get up], go unto Nineveh [Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire and was located about 550 miles northeast of Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom. If Jonah were to walk 20 miles each day, it would take him more than three weeks to get to Nineveh. If he were to walk only 15 miles a day, it would take him about 7 weeks to get to Nineveh.], that great city, and preach [i.e. proclaim] unto it the preaching [i.e. the proclamation, the message] that I bid thee [i.e. that I give you, that I tell you].

B. The obedience of the prophet - 3:3-4

Jonah 3:3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey [i.e. it would take 3 days to walk across it].

It likely refers to Nineveh and the surrounding areas. We might refer to it as Metropolitan Nineveh.

Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Jonah's preaching began as soon as he entered Nineveh not after one day into Nineveh.

C. The conversion of the Ninevites - 3:5-10

1. The action of the people - 3:5

Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God [i.e. they believed God's message], and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

2. The action of the king - 3:6-9

a. His repentance - 3:6

Jonah 3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

b. His proclamation - 3:7-9

Jonah 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed [i.e. eat], nor drink water:

Jonah 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their [i.e. in his] hands.

Jonah 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent [i.e. relent, change His mind], and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

3. The reaction of God - 3:10

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil [i.e. He relented from the disaster], that he had said that he would do unto them [i.e. bring upon them]; and he did it not.

Just as God was merciful with Jonah, He was also merciful with the Ninevites.

We move on to -

D. The sorrow of the prophet - 4:1-11

1. The displeasure of Jonah - 4:1-5

a. Jonah's anger - 4:1

Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was [i.e. he became] very angry.

b. Jonah's prayer - 4:2-3

Jonah 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country [i.e. while I was still in Israel]? Therefore I fled before [i.e. I fled previously] unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness [i.e. abundant in loving kindness], and repentest thee of the evil [i.e. and relents from sending calamity, and relents from doing harm].

Jonah 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

c. Jonah's action - 4:4-5

Jonah 4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? [i.e. do you have a good reason to be angry? Is it right for you to be angry?]

If you were angry, how would you react to someone asking you if it were right for you to be angry? Would it make you even angrier?

Jonah 4:5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth [i.e. a shelter], and sat under it in the shadow [i.e. in the shade], till he might see what would become of the city [i.e. until he might see what would happen in the city].

2. The explanation of the Lord - 4:6-11

a. The illustration prepared - 4:6-8

Jonah 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd [i.e. a plant, a vine], and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow [i.e. shade] over his head, to deliver him from his grief [i.e. from his discomfort, from his misery]. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd [i.e. of the vine, of the plant].

Jonah 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote [i.e. it attacked, it chewed, it damaged] the gourd [i.e. the plant, the vine] that it withered [i.e. dried up].

Jonah 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement [i.e. hot, scorching, sultry] east wind; and the sun beat [i.e. beat down, blazed] upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted [i.e. became faint, grew faint], and wished in himself to die [i.e. wanted to die], and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

b. The explanation stated - 4:9-11

Jonah 4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? [i.e. Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant? Is it right for you to be right about the plant?] And he said, I do well to be angry [i.e. I have good reason to be angry, It is right for me to be angry. I take that as a Yes!], even unto death.

Jonah 4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd [compassion on the plant, concerned about the plant], for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

Jonah 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand [i.e. 120,000] persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?


This sermon is the 3rd part of the series, Study of Jonah. Other sermons in this series are: