Journey Through The Scriptures

Jonah: God’s Reluctant Prophet

Lesson 5: The Ninevites Repent

(Scripture to Read: Jonah 3:5 – 10)

Probably much to Jonah’s surprise, the inhabitants of Nineveh took his message of God’s impending judgment very seriously. Here we encounter the other major theme of Jonah, which is that God is a God of love as well as justice to all people. His justice is clearly seen in that Nineveh’s sin will not be allowed to go unpunished. But God’s love is evident in His sending Jonah to warn the people and allow them the chance to repent. And they did, from the “man on the street” to the king!

The Ninevites showed great urgency and thoroughness in their repentance. The king forbade anyone to eat or drink, and instructed that even the animals be draped in sackcloth. This is the second time in the book of Jonah that non-Israelites threw themselves completely on God’s mercy—and the second time God responded by displaying His great mercy.

Verse 10 is perhaps the most amazing part of this incredible story. When God saw the depth of Nineveh’s repentance, He withheld His threatened destruction. Everyone had reason to rejoice… except Jonah.


Study Questions

  1. Why did the Ninevites repent so readily?
  2. Why did everyone in Nineveh fast and put on sackcloth?
  3. What does verse 9 reveal about the depth of understanding God gave to the king of Nineveh and his nobles?
  4. What attribute of our great God made it possible for the Ninevites to be spared?

Something to Think About

Although this situation may not have ended the way Jonah wanted it to, God showed his mercy and compassion to a great number of people. This story is proof that intercession to God can move Him to alter a course of action He has proposed to take.