Archive for the ‘Jonah’ Category


For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Did Joshua kill everyone in Gezer?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:


“Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor.” (Joshua 10:33)

No, they were still there a little later.

“And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.” (Judges 1:29)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:


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For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Is dancing a sin?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:


“And it came about, as soon as Moses approached the camp, that he saw the calf and the people dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 Then he took the calf which they had made and completely burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water and made the sons of Israel drink it. 21 Then Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” 22 And Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil. 23 For they said to me, ‘Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we do not know what happened to him.’ 24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ Then they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” 25 Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to the point of being an object of ridicule among their enemies— 26 Moses then stood at the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 And he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘Every man of you put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.” (Exodus 32:19-28)

“But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 7 so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 And after being prompted by her mother, she *said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”” (Matthew 14:6-8)

“An opportune day came when Herod, on his birthday, held a banquet for his nobles and military commanders, and the leading people of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And although the king was very sorry, because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.” (Mark 6:21-28)

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)


“Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21 And Miriam answered them, “Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.”” (Exodus 15:20-21)

“But Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, and behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. And she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter.” (Judges 11:34)

“Now it happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with other musical instruments. 7 The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”” (1 Samuel 18:6-7)

“And David was dancing before the Lord with all his strength, and David was wearing a linen ephod.” (2 Samuel 6:14)

““Hear, Lord, and be gracious to me; Lord, be my helper.” 11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have untied my sackcloth and encircled me with joy, 12 That my [a]soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” ( Psalm 30:10-12)

“They shall praise His name with dancing; They shall sing praises to Him with tambourine and lyre.” ( Psalm 149:3)

“Praise Him with tambourine and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flute.” (Psalm 150:4)

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven— 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

“I will build you again and you will be rebuilt, Virgin of Israel! You will [a]take up your tambourines again, And go out to the dances of the revelers.” (Jeremiah 31:4)

“Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old together; For I will turn their mourning into joy And comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13)

“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and [a]put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, slaughter it, and let’s eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.” (Luke 15:22-25)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:


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For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Who brought evil on Job?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:


“Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with severe boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head.” (Job 2:7)


“Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they sympathized with him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him a piece of money, and each a ring of gold.” (Job 42:11)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:


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A wee-kid Wednesday book review, this afternoon we look at a Christian Children’s book we recommend for your family!

Hey Charleston

Anne Rockwell.  Hey, Charleston! Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books, January 1, 2013. 32 pp

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Want to read a book to your children or grandchildren of how God uses ordinary Christians to make a difference that can make a big impact in more than one area?  This book was a lot of fun for me to read to my kids, and specifically to read to them while I’m on vacation!


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A wee-kid Wednesday book review, this afternoon we look at a Christian Children’s book we recommend for your family!


David Pat. Jonah: God’s Love for All People.  Coppell, TX: Kindle Direct Publishing, January 21, 2021. 30 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Do you love the story of Jonah in the Minor Prophet in the Bible and want to share it to your child and let him or her learn about the lesson of Jonah?  This illustrated children’s book might be for you.


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When I was teaching overseas earlier this year I was asked by a seminary student of how would I point to Jesus in each chapter of the book of Jonah.

Here’s my answer.


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I imagine many Christians can increase their knowledge of the Minor Prophets.  Here’s a survey of the fifth book of the Minor Prophets: Jonah.

Purpose: We will look at the authorship, purpose, structure and other aspects of the book of Jonah so we would be more familiar with this part of the Bible and yearn to study it for ourselves.


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Are you like Peter or Jonah?

Let me explain.


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For today’s post we will tackle the question the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: Who cast Jonah into the sea?

Here are the two answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:

The sailors

“So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.” (Jonah 1:15)


“For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me.” (Jonah 2:3)

(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)

Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:


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Note: I’m in a church retreat this weekend and will be delayed in responding.

We have spent several months going through an exposition of the book of Jonah.  Last week we finally finished our ten part series of outlines!  My prayers are that they edify God’s people and evangelize the Lost.

Here’s the table of content to the series:

Introduction to Book of Jonah

Part 1: Do you think you can run away from God?

Part 2: Are You running from God and Evangelism?

Part 3: Don’t Just Say You Believe

Part 4: A prayer responding to God’s Grace Part 1

Part 5: A prayer responding to God’s Grace Part 2

Part 6: Did Jonah Repented?

Part 7: Parallel of Jonah and Peter

Part 8: How do you respond to God’s mercy?

Part 9: Compassion in Evangelism

Part 10: Jonah and the Rest of the Bible


Jonah and the Whale Carlo Antonio Tavella

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Jonah The Scandalous Love of God Youngblood

To purchase the book on Amazon, Click HERE

Jonah is one of my favorite books in the Bible.  I preached through this book two years ago and I learned a lot from it.  So in picking up this new commentary that just came out, I was looking for a work that can get more insights from the text beyond what previous commentaries have pointed out.  This commentary didn’t disappoint—as a matter of fact, I learned a lot of new things about the book of Jonah as a result of reading this book.  At this time I would say that this commentary tops them all.

The author interacts with other major books and articles on the book of Jonah.  The author did a good job with the introduction which on my Kindle indicates that it made up eighteen percent of the book.  There is a lot that is pack in those eighteen percent!  This is the first volume in a new Old Testament commentary series published by Zondervan and the editor aims to make it not just a typical exegetical commentary but one that engages with the text using the tools of discourse analysis, analysis of literary forms, canonical criticism (specifically, the canonical significance of a passage) and insights from inter-textuality.  This commentary is also immensely rich with exegetical insights one expect from a traditional exegetical commentary such as lexical details and grammatical observations.

What were some of the things that I learned from this commentary?  Since there are too many examples I will stick only to some of the highlights in the first two chapter of the book of Jonah.  One literary device the author noted that I haven’t noticed before in the book of Jonah was the use of suppression of historical and geographical detail as a rhetorical device.  Two years ago when I went through Jonah 1:3 in the Hebrew I was stuck with why there is a third person feminine singular suffix for the word fare when I was thinking of Jonah as the referent (therefore should be third person masculine singular) but the author made a good point that this was referring to the ship and therefore one must not miss that Jonah was so desperate to leave God that he paid for the whole ship’s fare.  The author also made the observation that the Hebrew verb for “go” (boa) is used in the story for opposing the movement of God as oppose to other verbs of motion which serves to imply Jonah’s unrighteous heart whenever the word appears.  Youngblood also noted that the adjective “big” appears in the book twelve times and always with reference to obstacles to Jonah and his wishes.  The author also advanced the latest view that Hesed which is typically translated as “loving kindness” actually does not refer to covenantal love but instead to action and attitude of love beyond the call of duty.  The book also made me change my position concerning the prayer of Jonah in chapter two which I originally believed was a prayer of repentance; but the author Youngblood argues that it’s otherwise and quite conclusively I must say.

Whether one is a season exegete or a new student to Biblical Hebrew, this work will be fun, challenging and informative.  If you are going to go through Jonah in great details you need this work.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Zondervan Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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For Exposition of Jonah Part 8 click HERE

Exposition of Jonah How do you respond to God’s mercy

Jonah 4

(Note: This is a long exposition but I think it’s worth reading)

Establish the need: Are you not sharing your faith with others? Are you not excited to hear someone coming to salvation with God?  Or do you do share your faith—but grudgingly?  In summary: Do you have compassion for evangelism?

Main Point: Explore the three S in Jonah chapter 4, so that you would have the compassion for evangelism.

  • Watch for the Symptoms of the lack of compassion for evangelism (v.1-5)
  • See the Sovereign lesson for compassion in evangelism (v.6-8)
  • Understand the So-Much-More Argument for compassion in evangelism (v.9-11)

Context:Nineveh has just repented from their sins in chapter three where they sought God for mercy.  God was merciful and did not bring about judgment of sin.  This narrative focuses on God’s dealing with Jonah, a transition from God dealing with Nineveh.


I. Watch for the Symptoms of the lack of compassion for evangelism (v.1-5)

Passage:But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this [a]what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore [b]in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my [c]life from me, for death is better to me than life.” The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of [d]it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.”


i.      You have anger (v.1)

      1. Nineveh repents from their sins, and Jonah gets angry!
      2. Anger is apparently a big theme because it is mentioned in verse 1, 4, and 9 twice (Kohlenberger, 65).
      3. Verses one parallel earlier 3:9-10; God turning from his calamity (which in the Hebrew is the same word as “evil”), resulted in it being an evil or calamity to Jonah (Kohlenberger, 65).
      4. As soon as God departed from His anger, Jonah picked it up (Kohlenberger, 65).

ii.      Your prayers are short-sighted of God’s mercy (v.2a)

      1. There is the irony that Jonah’s complaint is called a “prayer,” and that this is the same Hebrew word used earlier in 2:1 when God showed mercy to him while now he’s praying to complain about God’s mercy to others (Kohlenberger, 65).
      2. This prayer reveal the problem:  Jonah’s shortsightedness of God’s mercy, as indicated by Jonah’s use of the personal pronoun “I” nine times in this chapter (Kohlenberger, 67).

iii.      You complain of God’s goodness (v.2b)

      1. Only finally in 4:2 do we know of the reason why Jonah fled from God in chapter one in the first place: ““Please Lord, was not this [a]what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore [b]in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish,
      2. For” reveals the reason.
      3. I knew”—This proclamation by Jonah that he knows of Yahweh sparing Nineveh is in contrast to the king of Nineveh in chapter three not knowing that Nineveh will be spared by God.
      4. These attributes of God were known by Jonah from Exodus 32:14!  Yet despite the solid theology, Jonah did not appreciate it for his life and obedience.
      5. The attributes:
        1. gracious

i.      This term is used thirteen times in the Old Testament, always referring to God, with Exodus 22:27 illustrating the meaning of this word which teaches that God will hear the prayer of the one needing his coat back for warmth because He is compassionate (Limburg, 91).

ii.      Favor towards those who are disadvantaged (Youngblood, Location 3086).

iii.      Thus, this term reveals God will act on the basis of compassion and it does not refer to just pity without action.

2. “compassionate

i.      This term is used thirteen times in the Old Testament.

ii.      Always referring to God, and is related to sthe term for “womb” and thus has the idea of motherly love (Limburg, 91).

3. “slow to anger

i.      It is literally a Hebrew idiom meaning “long nostril” and shows that it takes a lot to be angered (Youngblood, Location 3086).

4. “abundant in lovingkindness

i.      This word was previously used in chapter two during Jonah’s prayer, but now is the basis of a complaint.

ii.      It has the idea of strong loyal love as in its use in 1 Samuel 18:1-3 and 1 Samuel 20:14-15 of David and Jonathan’s friendship.

iii.      The use of this term to apply to the situation of God’s response to Nineveh shows that God’s covenantal love is not limited only to Israel, but to those such as the Assyrians as well (Limburg, 92).

5. “and one who relents concerning calamity

iv.      You rather not be around to see God saving someone (v.3)

      1. Apparently Jonah’s reaction to it is so bad he becomes suicidal: “Therefore now, O Lord, please take my [c]life from me, for death is better to me than life.
      2. Irony in that Jonah before in chapter two prayed to God to save his soul now in chapter four asks God to take away his soul!
      3. In light of the parallel of this passage to vocabulary in Exodus 32, there is the ironic contrast between Moses begging God to lay down his life in order for God to pardon Israel (Exodus 32:32) here we see Jonah willingness to lay down his life in begging God to destroy Nineveh (Youngblood, Location 3126).

v.       You ignore God’s convicting question (v.4-5)

      1. God’s response in the form of a question: “The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” (v.4)
        1. First of three questions in God’s response to Jonah, in which God challenged Jonah by using his own words (Kohlenberger, 67)!
        2. This opens the response from God with a question that summarizes the problem.
      2. Jonah does not even answer God in verse 5, but goes on doing his own thing.
      3. This is the second time Jonah silently walk away from God speaking to Him (Youngblood, 3246).

vi.      You want to see people’s doom (v.5)

      1. Jonah apparently did not answer God’s question but went on to wait for Nineveh’s destruction.  In fact, Jonah was consumed in his concentration of the city as “the city” is mentioned three times in this verse in the Hebrew (Kohlenberger, 68).
      2. and sat east of [d]it”—Jonah came over to Nineveh from the west and kept going east to see the city’s destruction.
      3. Eastward also have a bad connotation of departing for God’s Will in the Bible (Youngblood, 3295):
        1. After the fall Adam and Eve was driven out to the east of the Garden (Genesis 3:24)
        2. After being punished by God, Cain settled in land of Nod described as East of Eden (Genesis 4:16)
      4. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.”
        1. Shelter” some version “booth
        2. This is the same word used to describe temporary shelter in which the Jews lived in the wilderness as instructed by God in Leviticus 23:42-43.
        3. Over in Leviticus 23:42-43, they built it as a rememberance of God’s mercy, here Jonah built it to wait on God’s wrath.

Picture: (Symptoms are signs of our sickness; don’t just address the symptoms without addressing the deeper heart issue); Running nose, and drinking vitamin C can seem almost irrational.


i.      We can have good biblical head knowledge; but do we really own up to it and think about it for our every day world?

ii.      Go before God and ask us to reveal these things to us of our problems, and help us change it.


II. See the Sovereign lesson for compassion in evangelism (v.6-8)

Point: Sometimes we can have blindspot in our lives we need God to show us with a Sovereign lesson for compassion in evangelism as he is doing here with Jonah.

Passage:So the Lord God appointed a [e]plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was [f]extremely happy about the [g]plant. But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “ Death is better to me than life.”


i.      God once again in the book of Jonah shows He is Sovereign, that is, in control with the use of the word“appointed

      1. Shows this was not coincidences (Kohlenberger, 43).
      2. Four times this verb is used in Jonah, three times in this chapter (1:17; 4:6, 7, 8).
      3. Each time with a different name for God, and when used in the case with “Yahweh,” it emphasizes the gracious and beneficial action of God such as here and in 4:7 (Limburg, 60).

ii.      First appointment: A plant for a good shade (4:6)

      1. Use of the name of God: “Lord God

Q: Any significance of these two combination?

A: “God” is used in Jonah when God relates to the Gentiles, while “Yahweh” is used in terms of God relating to Jonah, but it is used as a combination here because God is about to show how He dealt with the gentiles of Nineveh will be the way He deals with Jonah (Kohlenberger, 69).

      1. Plant that provided Jonah shade from the discomfort of the sun!
        1. Like the storm in the sea, God is using the sun from nature to teach Jonah a lesson.
        2. Like the big fish, God is using a big plant to show Jonah grace.
      2. There is a word play going on here where the word “discomfort” in the Hebrew is literally “evil” and God saves him from this “evil” of being overheated though not from Jonah’s own fierce anger yet (Kohlenberger, 69).  Thus, Jonah is also spared from the calamity just as Nineveh faced.
      3. extremely happy about the [g]plant”—In the Hebrew literally is “rejoicing rejoice.”  It is in contrast to verse 1 of Jonah being “displeased with great displeasure” (Youngblood, 3396).

iii.      Second appointment: An attacking worm (4: 7)

      1. Small worm to make a big point.
      2. Use of the name of God: “God

Q: Is there any significance of this noun being “God” as opposed to Yahweh?

A: The aspect of God’s relationship to the Gentiles is in view, thus used here to show the analogy God is illustrating to Jonah of how Jonah would have wanted God to deal with the Gentiles is the same way God will illustrate to Jonah.  The disciplinary side of God is emphasized here with this choice of term (Limburg, 96).

      1. it attacked
        1. A term used for judgment upon those who are disobedient in the Scriptures, such as in Deuteronomy 28:22(Kohlenberger, 71).
        2. God is using the worm’s attack as an analogy of the removal of God’s grace.

iv.      Third appointment: A big hot wind (4: 8a)

      1. When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head
      2. Note what God brings against Jonah:
        1. the sun

i.      It would make things hot!

ii.      “beat down

Second instance of this verb appearing in chapter four, previously with the worm as the subject attacking the plant but now as the sun, which shows the undesirable state Jonah was in with this repetition, showing the flow of God’s judgment against Jonah.

2. “a scorching east wind

i.      These are the worst dry wind that the Middle East faced.

ii.      The wind is dry and any moisture is extracted from the air with fine dust blowing (Kohlenberger, 70).

iii.      Earlier God taught Jonah a lesson in chapter one by wet rainy winds now He is going to instruct Jonah by the opposite means of a dry hot winds (Kohlenberger, 70)!

iv.      The external heat is going to be used by God to teach Jonah a lesson about his own internal “heat” (which anger is a Hebrew derivative of)

v.      Reverse order than that of chapter 2.

          1. Chapter 2: Troubling WindsàAnimalàRescue.
          2. Chapter 4: RescueàAnimalàTroubling Winds.
          3. Contrast:
            1. Chapter 2: At sea, with problems coming from above. Wet wind.
            2. Chapter 4: On land, with problems coming from above.  Dry wind.

vi.      The response:

        1. The phrase “better I die than I live” echoes the same phrase in verse 3 previously after Jonah complained about Nineveh’s repentance, but here is the response to the plant being gone and the dire whether.
        2. Unlike verse 3 where Jonah ask God to die, here Jonah talks to himself since the text is literally “He asked Himself to die…” (Youngblood, Location 3430).
          1. Jonah’s disposition is looking inward while God’s disposition in the book of Jonah has been looking outward (Youngblood, Location 3480).
          2. Jonah really is not pitying the plant but engages in self-pity!
        3. The author wishes the reader to see the parallel between Jonah’s complaint about Nineveh’s repentance with the scenario going on here.

Picture: (Parable of a firefighter who complains that people are saved when he puts our fire with the hose, but saved by another firefighter).  YOU ARE THE PERSON!


i.      Repetition of Jonah’s lesson:  Sometimes what we need to learn the most is not something new, but something we already know or should know or think we know.

ii.      Has God changed you with our Jonah series?  Are you meditating on God’s Word even as it’s preached, read, etc?


III. Understand the So-Much-More Argument for compassion in evangelism (v.9-11)

Point: If plants are precious to Jonah, how much more the souls in Nineveh!

Passage:Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which [h]came up overnight and perished [i]overnight. 11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”


i.      God brings the illustration home in verse 9.

      1. The phrase “Why do good if it burns against you?” (הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה־לְךָ) echoes the same phrase in verse 4 previously after Yahweh addressed Jonah’s complaint about Nineveh’s repentance.
      2. Here it is Yahweh’s response to Jonah’s complaint that the plant being gone and the dire whether.  The author wishes the reader to see the parallel between Jonah’s complaint about Nineveh’s repentance with the scenario going on here.

ii.      Observation of Jonah’s response to the plant (v.10)

iii.      Argument from the lesser to the greater (v.11)

Concerning those “who do not know the difference between their right and left hand,” these probably refer to children (Kohlenberger, 72).

iv.      God’s level of Grace even as He corrected Jonah

      1. The thirty nine word response of God in 4:10-11 balances Jonah’s thirty nine word response in 4:2 (Limburg, 94).  It shows a level of grace of God not lecturing more than He has to even though He could.
      2. The text use of the name Yahweh in verse 9 is to accent on God’s love and concern (Limburg, 97).


i.      How are we to respond?

The book ends with a question which obviously should be answered with a “yes,”

Why a question?  Why not show repentance of Jonah? I think it is to provoke us and make us think a little longer with the lesson rather than just see a happy ever after story.  Do you evangelize with compassion if God is compassionate?



We might ask how Jonah responded but God does not tell us but instead ends the message with a question of whether or not God will have mercy on Nineveh.

What about you?  Do you see God’s mercy?  How do you respond to God’s mercy through Jesus Christ?


NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 10

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For Exposition of Jonah Part 7 click HERE

Exposition of Jonah How do you respond to God’s mercy

Jonah 3

Establish the need: If you stop and think about it, God has shown much of His mercy to us in very rich ways.  How do we respond to God’s mighty mercy in our lives?

Main Point: If you stop and think about it, God has shown much of His mercy to us in very rich ways.

  •  Responding to God’s mercy means you should obey (v.1-3)
  • Responding to God’s mercy means you should trust in God’s Word (v.4-5)
  • Responding to God’s mercy means you should warn others (v.6a)
  • Responding to God’s mercy means you acknowledge you humble yourself (v.6b-10)

I. Responding to God’s mercy means you should obey (v.1-3)

Passage:Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was [a]an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.


i.      Mercy Shown:

      1. Jonah did not die after being thrown off the ship!
      2. Right before chapter 3: “Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.” (2:10)

ii.      Response to mercy:

      1. Issued the call to preach again (v.1-2)
        1. Jonah 3:1 is exactly the same in wording with Jonah 1:1 except for “second time” and the omission of “son of Amittai”, and hence it’s important to let the hearers know that this is the re-commissioning of Jonah to go preach to Nineveh.
        2. Jonah 3:2 has the phrase “Arise!  Go to Nineveh the big city and cry out against it” which are the same phrase earlier in Jonah 1:2.  The difference between here and chapter one’s original commission was that the “wickedness” of Nineveh is not mentioned here (Kohlenberger, 57).
        3. The difference between this setting and the first is God’s amazing saving grace, which Jonah responded to and which we should also as well in light of our salvation.
        4. Only Jonah among the prophets hae been given an assignment twice (Limburg, 75).
          1. Unique since no prophet receive second chance (Youngblood, Location 2453).
          2. Demonstrate one can’t coerced God by manipulating His mercy nor His wrath as a way of getting out of His will (Youngblood, Location 2456).
      2. Jonah obeys this time (v.3a)
        1. Again, we see words repeating: The words and phrase “Jonah arose,” “went to Nineveh,” “Word of the Lord” appeared earlier in Jonah 1:3and here it echoes the previous episode and often in Hebrew the same verbs are used to show fulfillment (Kohlenberger, 57).
        2. Obedience is doubly stressed by the phrase, “according to the Word of the Lord” (Kohlenberger, 57).

iii.      Challenge:

      1. The challenge will be focused on the city of Nineveh itself.
        1. The spotlight is on Nineveh since seven times in this short section Nineveh is mentioned at verse 2, 3 (x2), 4, 5, 6, 7(Limburg, 77).
        2. Remember, It is a blood thirsty city according to Nahum 3:1.
      2. Now Nineveh was [a]an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.” (3b)
        1. Second half of verse 3 onward focuses on how big Nineveh was.
        2. The three days of journey of Nineveh was probably not saying it was across or around as it is suggesting more of how long it would have taken Jonah to work through the city (Kohlenberger, 57).
        3. According to archaeological dig, Nineveh was probably eight miles in circumference (Price, 53).
        4. Focus was more on the difficulty of Jonah reaching the city with the message.


i.      We can have the joy of living out the commands of the Bible if we have the proper perspective of mercy.  Write down a list of what God has done in your life that you are thankful for.

ii.      Study the Bible in your own personal time to see the mercy of God, then it makes you want to walk and live for Him as you see God’s mercy and goodness.


II. Responding to God’s mercy means you should trust in God’s Word (v.4-5)

Point: We should believe God’s Word.

Passage:Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.


i.      Mercy Shown (v.4)

      1. Every time we hear the Word of God preached that warns us of our sins, it is the act of God’s mercy.
      2. Message:
        1. overthrown”—Intriguing verb which was used earlier to describe Somon and Gomorrah’s destruction in Genesis 19:21, 25, 29 (Youngblood, Location 2650).
        2.  “forty days

i.      In the Bible, 40 days have been a time of testing or judgment such as Noah’s flood being for forty days, Elijah in the wilderness in 1 Kings 19 and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness as seen in Matthew 4:2 (Kohlenberger, 59-60).

ii.      For Jewish reader this number will recall Noah’s flood narrative and be reminded of a time before Israel existed and how God is a God who dealt with all nations (Youngblood, Location 2631).

iii.      Moses also spent 40 days interceding for his people before God for His mercy after the Golden Calf incident in Exodus 34:28 (Youngblood, Location 2624).

iv.      This period of time suggest two possible fate: destruction (like the flood) or God’s mercy (like Moses’ plea).

ii.      People’s response to mercy (v.5)

      1. It’s amazing to realize the response from the people of Nineveh, that Jonah’s mission was suppose to be for three days yet on the first day there was already a response (Kohlenberger, 60).
      2. Trust in God: “Then the people of Nineveh believed in God
      3. After believing they followed with action showing it
        1. they called a fast
        2. put on sackcloth
      4. Extent: “from the greatest to the least of them.

iii.      Challenge:

      1. Incredible that these people perhaps have never heard of the God of the Bible before this, and they respond!  They went by faith!
      2. While it is not conclusion what was omitted in Jonah’s message seem to indicate that Jonah wasn’t trying to present it in such a way that it make sense for them to respond favorably towards God.
        1. Prophets normally say “Thus says Yahweh” but this is omitted (Youngblood, Location 2621).
        2. Jonah also omitted the reason why God was judging them (Youngblood, Location 2624).
        3. Nor did Jonah say how the wrath of God can be averted (Youngblood, Location 2621).

Practice: We cannot think of application without asking the question: Is God something we trust—even with its bad news?


III. Responding to God’s mercy means you should warn others (v.6a)

Point: You should share the message of God’s wrath and mercy if you know about God’s wrath—and mercy.

Passage:When the word reached the king of Nineveh,”


i.      Mercy Shown:

    1. Main subject of this clause is “the word” and not the king. Thus the main focus is not on the king but the message.
    2. Somehow the word was shared to the king as a warning.

ii.      Response to mercy:

      1. This passage does not indicate who shared it to the king but nevertheless it is those who needed God’s mercy.
      2. This passage suggests that it was the people who took the initiative to seek God’s mercy and to tell him about God’s wrath which is contrary to the Ancient Near East expectation that it is the King who lead religious activitites (Youngblood, Location 2695).

iii.      Challenge:

      1. It is not easy to share a message of warning of God’s pending wrath.
      2. What made it more difficult for people to share in this instance is that this is “the king of Nineveh,”

Picture: (Sharing the Gospel in Watts, South Central and war zone is not easy)


i.      Don’t let people make you scared of sharing the Gospel and warning them of the consequences of their sins—be courageous for God and love them!

ii.      To rid one’s fear of man that challenges us to share God’s warning to others, cultivate a fear of God in light of His mercy shown to you!


IV. Responding to God’s mercy means you acknowledge you humble yourself (v.6b-10)

Point: A mark of someone seeking God’s mercy is humility.

Passage:he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the [b]ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let [c]men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in [d]his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would [e]bring upon them. And He did not do it.


i.      Mercy Shown: Remember God was merciful to allow the king to be warned.

ii.      Response to mercy:

    1. King’s personal response is of humility (4 ways)
      1. he arose from his throne,” (v.6b) —Thereby “relinquishing the trappings of royal authority” (Youngblood, Location 2727); he didn’t just pontificate from his chair.
      2. laid aside his robe from him” (v.6b) —wealth and prestige is lay aside (Youngblood, Location 2727).
      3. covered himself with sackcloth,” (v.6b)
      4. and sat on the [b]ashes.” (v.6b)
    2. Note king’s response is of a downward motion: “he arose”à “and sat on the [b]ashes.”
    3. The King also issued a proclamation that submitted his city under God (v.7-9)
      1. Note there is no strong arming God as indicated when the king reveal the purpose of his proclamation in verse 9.
      2. King says “Who knows, God may turn and relent” rather than a presumptuous “God will;” quite humbling for a king.

iii.      Challenge: Again in the Ancient Near East the king is suppose to determine religious activity but here we see a grass root response of the people to the warning of Jonah and the King is not pridefully set against them for not being the first.


i.      Don’t see our points here today as a magic formula to manipulate God to forgive you; know that God is God and can do what He wants, and it is His free desire to show mercy to you!

ii.      To the degree you understand God is judge and Sovereign is the degree of your response to God’s mercy with humility.  Are you being humble before God?

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 9

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 6 click HERE


Selected Scriptures

I’m amazed at all the little golden nuggets in the book of Jonah this second time studying it.

Before moving onto Jonah 3, I thought I share with you some of the parallels I see between Jonah and the Apostle Peter.  There is a beautiful connection between one part of the Bible with another.  This should give us a source of awe of the Author of the Bible and Redemptive History.

Parallel of Jonah with Peter

  1. Both were not perfect in how they served God.
  2. Both wanted God to leave them alone in a body of water: Peter in Luke 5:8.
  3. Both face a crisis during a storm.
  4. Both receive second chance to submit to their calling after coming out of a body of water: Peter in John 21.
  5. Both were first to cross Jew/Gentile boundaries: Peter in Acts 10 (Youngblood, Location 2496).
  6. Jonah fled from Joppa to flee from going to the Gentiles; Peter was at Joppa in Acts 10:5-6 where the opportunity first began for God to draw Gentiles (Youngblood, Location 2496).

It’s interesting to see the last point.  The contrast with Jonah and Peter in the location of Joppa is that in the case of the New Testament church the time of the Gentiles was beginning and which we are presently in right now.

More than character studies, I think we should be at awe in the Sovereignty of God who orchestrate history and also wrote these parallels in Scripture.

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 8

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 5 click HERE

Jonah whale

Jonah 2

The good thing about studying further a series after you preach on something is that you are able to go back for deeper study.  Sometimes that means you come to a better conclusion that you had originally.  Case in point?  The last few weeks going through Jonah chapter two I was struggling with whether or not Jonah repented in the belly of the Big Fish.  The following is my conclusion, my reasons and what I see is the implication for our lives.

Further Consideration: Did Jonah Repented?

(A) Jonah saying “While [i]I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,” (v.7a)

(1) Inversion of Noahic flood where Genesis 8:1 where “God remembered Noah,” since it’s God’s initiative that saves Jonah rather than the other way around (Youngblood, Location 2172).

(2) The faithful in the Bible typically confess that it’s Yahweh remembering them rather than they taking the initiative to remember God such as in Judges 16:28, 1 Samuel 1:11, 19; 2 Kings 20:3, Psalms 25:7, 106:4, Jeremiah 15:15, etc (Youngblood, Location 2175).

(B) Jonah’s prayer makes no reference to wrong doing and lacks confession or sorrow over his own sin (Youngblood, Location 2183).

(C) Jonah’s prayer has tension that indicate he might not understand the difference between penance and repentance

(1) Jonah 2:8 talks about other sinners who were idolators but there is not acknowledgement of his immediate sin and situation at hand.

(2) In contrast to the Idolators he compares himself as one who gives sacrifice to the Lord in the next verse in Jonah 2:9.  He is comparing himself to others rather than comparing his sins to God’s standards.

(3) In Jonah 2:9 Jonah said “which I have vowed I will pay.”  He might be having a works righteousness mentality going on here.

(D) Jonah’s attitude later on when Nineveh repented reveals that Jonah might not have had any heart change despite his initial behavior.

We can legitimately go to the conclusion to help illuminate what came before since the book of Jonah likes to use the literary device of intentionally leave out details in the beginning only to reveal it in a later scene what Jonah’s mind was thinking:

(1) The secret of Jonah’s reason for not going to Nineveh

(2) The secret of Jonah’s God with the mariner

What can we learn from Jonah not repenting?

(A) Action is not enough!  Jonah did outwardly carry out God’s plan but it’s important to confess our sins especially in light of 1 John 1:9 that He is faithful to cleanse us when we do!

(B) Make sure you do repent!

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 7

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