Written primarily to Assyria (specifically Nineveh) from *790-750.
· 2 Kings 14:23-15:7 (see especially 14:23-25); 2 Chronicles 26; Matthew 12:39-41; Luke 11:29-32
· Contemporary with Hosea, Isaiah and Amos. Along with Nahum, Jonah is one of two prophets to bring a message of judgment and fall against Nineveh, the capital of the kingdom of Assyria.
Kings of Israel during this time:
1. Jeroboam II (793-753—King during Israel’s “Indian Summer” before its decline and fall)
During this time the nation of Assyria was in the midst of a 40 year period where the national circumstances were the poorest experienced since its rise to the mightiest nation on earth. They were weakened by war on multiple fronts, widespread famine and disease, revolts among their conquered nations, strife among their leaders, and the gradual concession of lands that had once belonged to smaller nations (including large portions of Syria that went back to the control of Israel, swelling her northern border to a size not seen since the days of David and Solomon). Also, there was a notable solar eclipse in 763. The depressed conditions and events of nature made the nation ripe for repentance when faced with God’s message of judgment through Jonah.
Outline (taken from George L. Robinson, The Twelve Minor Prophets):
I. Jonah’s Disobedience: Running Away from God (Chapter 1)
II. Jonah’s Prayer: Running to God (Chapter 2)
III. Jonah’s Preaching to Nineveh: Running with God (Chapter 3)
IV. Jonah’s Complaints: Running ahead of God (Chapter 4)
1. But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD… (v3)
2. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly (v1)
3. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD (v3)
4. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry (v1)
Portrait of a Theme: Repentance (3:5-10)