©2019 by the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer

Bible Study that Doesn't Suck: The Book of Jonah

Updated: Mar 25



Notes from the Bible Study:

Ninevah= Assyrians they conquer Babylon


Set in the reign of Jeroboam II (786–746 BC) - King Sargon II (reign ca. 721-705 B.C.) of Assyria completely destroyed Israel. Sargon II said in an inscription that he "conquered and sacked" all the towns and cities in Israel and "led away as booty 27,290 inhabitants." By 600 B.C. the Assyrian kingdom had been completely destroyed. Today, the Assyrian homeland is still in northern Iraq.


Chapter 1: Sailors decide Jonah is to blame for storm at sea and sacrifice him to the ocean – God send a sea monster to swallow him

Easter - What are you doing sound asleep? after being called by God - cast lots – Jonah was in the belly for three days


Jesus plays on the imagery of Sheol found in Jonah's prayer. While Jonah metaphorically declared, “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,” Jesus will literally be in the belly of Sheol. Finally, Jesus compares his generation to the people of Nineveh. Jesus fulfills his role as a type of Jonah, however his generation fails to fulfill its role as a type of Nineveh. Nineveh repented, but Jesus' generation, which has seen and heard one even greater than Jonah, fails to repent. Through his typological interpretation of the Book of Jonah, Jesus has weighed his generation and found it wanting.

Jonah wants to be thrown into the ocean and die for the sake of others. God saves Jonah despite the lack of trying.


Chapter 2: Jonah prayers and is vomited up by the fish

Trans Creation: In line 2:1 the book refers to the fish as dag gadol, "great fish", in the masculine. However, in 2:2, it changes the gender to dagah, meaning female fish. The verses therefore read: "And the lord provided a great fish (dag gadol, דָּג גּדוֹל, masculine) for Jonah, and it swallowed him, and Jonah sat in the belly of the fish (still male) for three days and nights; then, from the belly of the (dagah, דָּגָה, female) fish, Jonah began to pray." The peculiarity of this change of gender led the later rabbis to reason that this means Jonah was comfortable in the roomy male fish, so he did not pray, but that God then transferred him to a smaller, female fish, in which the prophet was uncomfortable, so that he prayed.[40]


Chapter 3: Nineveh converts

They perform ritual morning. God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.” Ninevah believes that God can change God’s mind and tries. 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.


Chapter 4: Jonah is suicidal asks God to kill him

God grows a bush/gourd/ivy to shade Jonah and shade him from his discomfort. The next day God kills the bush. Jonah becomes faint with the son. But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.”

And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

Moral whether you repent or not – God saves.



Additional Resources:

* Who Are the Assyrians

* Transgender Fish