SSC Hot Springs
March 23, 2010

Jonah QA Supplied

Jonah Chapter 3

1And the speech of Yehovah was unto Dove [Yonah] a second time to say, 2 “Arise! Walk unto Neenvey the big city! And call unto her the calling that I spoke unto thee!”

3And Dove [Yonah] arose. And he walked unto Neenvey according to the speech of Yehovah.

And Neenvey was a big city to Elohim, three days’ walk.

4And Dove [Yonah] began to come into the city a one-day walk. And he called. And he said, “Forty days more, and Neenvey is flipped-over!” 5And the men of Neenvey believed in Elohim!

And they called a shutting! And they put-on sacks from their big and unto their little.

6And the speech struck unto the king of Neenvey. And he arose from his chair. And he crossed-over his splendour from upon him. And he covered sack. And he sat upon the ash. 7And he screamed! And he said in Neenvey from the taste of the king and his big-ones to say, “The man and the beast, the herd and the flock shall not taste anything! They shall not pasture, and they shall not drink water! 8And the man and the beast covered themselves sacks! And they called unto Elohim via a grip! And they turned, a man, from his bad way and from the violence that is in their palms! 9Who will know? The Elohim will turn and console, and He will turn from the heat of His nose. And we will not perish!”

10And the Elohim saw their works—that they turned from their bad way. And the Elohim was consoled concerning the bad that He spoke to do to them. And He did not.

I. Walking Orders Again(verse 1-2)

Yehovah’s speech came to Yonah a second time. He told him to arise and to walk unto the big city of Nineveh, and to shout unto her what Yehovah told him previously to call.


1. Why didn’t Yehovah tell Yonah off for disobeying and wasting time? Yehovah knew exactly why Yonah had done what he had done when he fled. The time for action was now; Yehovah discussed Yonah’s views later.

2. What was the original calling that Yehovah had commanded Yonah? It was that their bad ascended to Yehovah’s faces.

II. Travel Nineveh (verse 3)

Yonah arose from the shore. He walked unto Nineveh just as Yehovah spoke to him.


1. Why did Yonah arise and walk this time? I don’t think that he found being in a fish’s stomach for three days, being in the dark and completely surrounded by water without any air, but still alive and awake, any fun. This time, he decided that he would walk as he was told. What he did once he got there had yet to be decided.

2. How far was Nineveh? It was at least 750 miles!

3. How long was the walk? I previously proposed that it would have taken two months if he stayed two nights and one day at each place he stopped. It was pointed out to me that he would have rested on Shabbat (on the Sabbath); that would have increased the walk time by another two weeks!

III. The Big City (verse 3)

Elohim Himself saw Nineveh as a big city. It took three days to walk through it!


1. How many miles is a three-day walk? If a person can walk twenty miles a day, stopping for water and to eat, the city was 60 miles across! This is a very large city!

2. What kind of a city can be this big? What is it called? Those kinds of cities are now called city-states. They are cities, but they act as if they are a state—like a country of their own. They have their own armies and their own kings.

3. What is important about this being a big city to Elohim? It is a city that He is about to destroy because of the bad occurring in it; and yet, it is a city that He desires to save from destruction. It is therefore a ‘big deal.’

IV. Doomsday Announcement (verses 4-5)

Yonah just began to come into the city; he walked into it a distance that one can walk in a full day. He shouted the message of Yehovah: “Forty days more, and Neenvey is flipped-over!” The inhabitants of Nineveh believed in Elohim!


1. How many miles is a one-day walk? It is about twenty miles.

2. What did Yonah call? He called, “Forty days more, and Neenvey is flipped-over!”

3. What had Yehovah told him to call? He had told him to call, “Your bad ascended to Yehovah’s faces!”

4. Did Yonah disobey Yehovah’s command again? The Bible gives no indication that Yonah did wrong. What Yonah said had to either be prophecy or a lie. How would Yonah know that the city had only forty days before being destroyed? Yehovah must have told him this. Therefore, Yonah prophesied Truth. The text doesn’t tell whether or not Yonah said anything else. He could have said more. It does tell that he included, “Forty days more, and Nineveh is flipped over!” I previously assumed that this is all he called, but that isn’t the right way to read the Bible. Unless the Bible states that this is all he called, assuming that it is all he called is wrong.

5. Did Yonah give them any hope? Did he tell them that they could repent? I propose that he did not. I propose that Yonah could not give them hope; he would have been a traitor to Israel, had he done that. You see, Yonah was a prophet. He knew that Israel was also sinning against Yehovah. He knew that Israel would not repent. He knew that Nineveh would attack Israel, and would win. Therefore, it was against Yonah’s ethics to aid an enemy by telling that enemy how to be saved from Yehovah’s wrath. Yonah very much desired Yehovah to judge and destroy Nineveh for Israel’s sake. The Ninevites were cruel fighters. Yonah loved the Israelis. They were his family. Knowing that he had helped these cruel, vicious fighters against Israel was more than Yonah could bear. This is why he sought death instead of going straight to Nineveh. Now that he had gone, he could not give them hope. He could only tell them of their destruction, and he could only hope that Yehovah would destroy them. Telling them that they could repent would be giving them hope, and would be aiding an enemy.

6. Who are the folks today who are the offspring of the Ninevites? They are the Iraqis!

7. The text states, “And the men of Niveveh believed in Elohim.” What caused them to believe in Elohim? Was Elohim their God? Elohim was not their God. They had numerous other gods in whom they believed.

The text gives no reason why they believed in Elohim after Yonah said what he said. They knew that Yonah was from Israel. They should have only had contempt for him, but strangely, the countries around Israel tended to honour the Israeli prophets. That didn’t mean that they did what the prophets said, but they tended to treat them well. In this case, the Ninevites believed the message that this Jewish prophet brought, and they believed in the Gods of Israel.

8. Why is this event so important in the Bible? The Iraqis are a very wild people. They tend toward violence, and they are mean to folks they capture. They enjoy torturing folks whom they consider enemies. The same was true in the days of Yonah. They were very hard to rule; they had to be ruled with force and fear. If all the folks in Nineveh can turn to Elohim at one time, so can Israel! Israel will turn, but many centuries from our time! Until then, Israel will nearly always be doing what Yehovah sees as wrong even when the Israelis think they are doing right. At our present time, the Israelis have so many different opinions and live in so many different ways, that they are totally not unified. Very few believe in the God of the Bible. Most don’t believe in any god. (Yet, anyone who takes a stand against Israel is taking a stand against Yehovah!)

This event is so important because if Iraqis can turn to Elohim, the Israelis can also turn.

9. Was does believe mean in the Bible? Belief is the certainty of things expected to occur or not occur (based on the promise of another who is very trustworthy), being totally convinced of things that haven’t yet been seen or realized. This certainty is because the one who believes knows that the one who promised will keep his/her word.

Very young children believe their parents and caretakers. Their parents and caretakers carry them in their arms, and young children are not afraid of falling. Since belief and faith are exactly the same thing, a parent who takes care of a child is called a ‘Faither’ in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for faith is emunah. The masculine form of this word is amen (where we get the word amen). A man who takes care of a child is called an omen, and a woman is called an omenet. They both mean ‘faither’—one who promotes faith in another person!

V. Sackcloth and Closing Time (verse 5)

The people of Nineveh called for a closing of the mouth! This included no food intake! They put on sackcloth from the highest ranking persons to the lowest, from the biggest person to the littlest.


1. What is a shutting? It is a closing of the mouth. This is normally viewed as a fast—a refusal to eat. It is more than this; it can be the refusal to speak complaints, and the closing of business as usual. Everything shut down in Nineveh; it wasn’t just a time of fasting from food.

2. What are these sacks? They are gunny sack materials, like what would be used to carry potatoes or larger amounts of rice. The materials were very coarse against the skin. They put them on as if they were clothing.

3. Why did they put on this sackcloth? That was a demonstration of humility and mourning before the gods/Gods and others. Anyone putting this on was portraying the lowest rank besides being naked and covered with mud! (Going naked would not normally have been right to do.)

4. Did they put sacks on their little babies? Yes! That way, the little babies would weep! They hoped that Elohim would hear the babies!

VI. The Royal Response (verses 6-9)

The king finally heard the message, and it struck him hard. He got up from his chair (throne) and changed his gorgeous garments, putting on sackcloth. He sat down in ash. And he screamed!

He gave commands according to the normal way that commands are given: “The man and the beast, the herd and the flock shall not taste anything!” He gave more details: “They shall not pasture, and they shall not drink water!” Thus, the animals had to be restricted from all food and all water.

“And the man and the beast covered themselves sacks!” Every man and every animal had to be covered with sackcloth in the entire land!

“And they called unto Elohim via a grip!” They must call unto Elohim without ceasing, gripping (holding on) to continue with this call!

“And they returned, a man, from his bad way and from the violence that is in their palms!” Every person must turn from the bad and from the violence that is in the very palms of their hands—over which they have control!

“Who will know? The Elohim will return and console, and He will return from the heat of His nose. And we will not perish!” There isn’t any certainty, but perhaps the Gods will turn and bring consolation instead of devastation! Perhaps He will turn from the great heat of His nose (anger). Perhaps the inhabitants of Nineveh will not perish!


1. What does “the speech struck unto the king” mean? This means that what Yonah said greatly affected the king! It hit him hard! His conscience was greatly affected.

2. Why did he arise from his chair? He couldn’t just sit there; he had to do something. (His chair is his throne.) He took action.

3. What does “And he crossed-over his splendour from upon him. And he covered sack” mean? This means that he took off his beautiful robes that he wore, and put on sackcloth just like the rest of the citizens did. His beautiful robes crossed over from being worn by him to being placed somewhere else. He wrapped himself in gunny sack material.

4. What does “he sat upon the ash” mean? Where did he get the ash? He probably got the ash from a fireplace or from a kitchen stove where wood is burned. He placed ashes under himself and sat upon them.

5. What would sitting on ash do, and what did this picture? Sitting on ashes will make a person very dirty. It will get on the hands, and eventually can get on one’s face. It pictures the opposite of beauty, bringing a person much closer to the soil. It pictures the opposite of being clean, bringing a person to being very dirty and soiled in appearance. It is a reminder that humans are made of soil. Since ashes are also the weakest of all materials that humans can handle, it is a reminder of what humans themselves will become once they return to the ground. The king did this so that Elohim would see that he humbled himself.

6. Why did the king scream? The text doesn’t say. He realized that he and all his citizens were about to die. He was terribly frightened.

7. What does “he said in Nineveh from the taste of the king and his big-ones to say” mean? The taste of the king was his preferred way of communicating his orders and his will. It is like in the expression, “She has good taste.” The taste of his big ones (his generals) was the same as the king’s taste. They communicated their orders in the way they normally did this.

8. Why did they command man and beast to not taste anything? The king and his generals wanted every person in the city to call out to Elohim. They wanted the children and babies to cry so that Elohim would hear them. They wanted the animals to make noise from hunger so that Elohim would also hear them. This command to not taste was the same as the command to not eat, but it went further! Not even the flavour of food was to be tried!

9. Why did he command them all to not drink water? This was the for same reason; it put both man and animals in the position to call out to Elohim and to make noise from the terrible discomfort of no water. They lived in a hot land. Going without water was torture!

10. The text states, “And the man and the beast covered themselves sacks.” How did the animals manage to cover themselves? Why did they do this? The animals didn’t. The humans covered themselves, their children, and their babies with this sacking material. They then covered the animals with it. They did this in order to show humility, and in order to cause animals and humans to weep and to call to Elohim.

11. What does “via a grip” mean? This means that they held on to call, to weep and to shout to Elohim without letting go and giving up.

12. From what bad way did they turn? Many of the folks in Nineveh had been doing things that would harm others and profit themselves. They were destroying other persons, were being cruel to others, and were sinning, causing bad things to occur by sin. They quit doing these things.

13. What does “violence that is in their palms” mean? The palms of the hands are what folks use to grip things. This is a ‘childism’ in the Bible—something that makes sense when viewed from the angle of a child. Think if a child who is about two years old. The child finds a ball. The child then throws the ball in the house; it hits and breaks a glass item that is on a shelf. This is a child’s form of violence against the glass item; it was in the palm of the child’s hand, and thus was in the power of the child’s hand. Adults can do the same thing. They have the power to do violence against others who cannot defend themselves against the violence. That violence is in their power—it is in the palms of their hands!

14. What does “Who will know? The Elohim will turn…” mean? What we might say is this: “Who knows if God will do something different!” They hoped that Elohim would not destroy them with the city. They all now feared being targeted for death.

15. Why did they take this threat so seriously? The Ninevites knew that they were doing wrong. They also knew that Yehovah had destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim in a previous century. Those citizens had not believed the warnings. These folks did believe it, and they were afraid! 

16. The text states, “Who will know? The Elohim will turn and console.” What does this last part mean, and what is consolation? Consolation is diminishing the pain and hurt after a great loss. We might say, “Who knows if God will do something else, and will lessen the suffering that we are suffering over our coming deaths and slaughter.” Those in Nineveh made certain that everyone was suffering from the sackcloth, the hunger and the thirst. If Elohim consoles, He will remove the threat that is causing the great pain of fear—the panic.

17. What is “the heat of His nose”? The word heat indicates anger. When a person becomes very angry, that person also becomes hot. It is like in this expression: “He was really hot!” meaning that he was very angry.

The nose is where the heat comes out—like in a fire-breathing dragon! It is like what an angry bull shows on a cold day, with steam coming out of his nose.

When folks become angry, their noses are what show the heat. Nostrils flare—that is, they widen out.

18. What would be required in order for the citizens of Nineveh to not perish? The following must occur:

  • Elohim must turn from His plans to destroy the city
  • Elohim must console the city’s inhabitants (including the animals)
  • Elohim must turn from the heat of His nose

Then the citizens of Nineveh and their animals won’t be in danger.

VII. Seeing and Not Doing (verse 10)

Elohim saw their works! He saw that they turned from doing the bad things they had been doing. And Elohim was consoled about the bad that He had spoken that He would do to them. He didn’t do it.


1. What did Elohim see that was important to Him? He saw their works. The rest of what they did wasn’t anywhere as important as their works. The religious actions they did were not important. They works were that they turned from their bad (destructive) way.

2. What does “the Elohim was consoled concerning the bad that He spoke to do to them” mean? The great heat of Elohim’s anger was assuaged (greatly diminished, lessened, brought to a much smaller amount, and soothed), and the grief that Elohim had over His plans to destroy them was turned away from Him. He was both full of grief over what He had to do to them and He was angry at them for bringing that wrath from Him. Now, He was consoled; He did not have to slaughter them, and His anger was much lower.

3. The last statement is, “And He did not.” He did not what? He did not destroy them.

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Original page March 2010 | Updated December 7, 2020

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