JONAH LESSON 1
The book of Jonah is not prophecy, as the books we have been
studying. This is an account of Jonah's call to minister at Nineveh,
and his reaction to that call. He really did not want to answer God's
call to minister in Nineveh. We find that God has ways of getting him
to answer His call. Jonah was from Galilee. He ministered during the
reign of Jereboam the second. The name "Jonah" means dove. The lesson
we can learn from this is the danger that lies ahead for us, when we
do not do the will of God for our lives. We can, also, receive the
message, in God's sight all men are worth saving, not just the ones we
choose. Jesus said it best in the following Scripture. Mark 16:15
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature."
Jonah 1:1 "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of
Many believe the account of Jonah was not an actual happening,
but Jesus mentions it in the New Testament and verifies it. Amittai
was of the tribe of Zebulun.
Jonah 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against
it; for their wickedness is come up before me."
This is a call of God to Jonah, to go and minister in Nineveh.
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. Nineveh was founded by Nimrod. It
is believed the city had well over 100,000 people living there, so it
was a large city. This city was not part of the family of Jacob, and
was thought of as a Gentile city. Even though they are not from the
family of Jacob, God is aware of the evil going on there. This shows
us that all the earth actually belongs to God. He is interested in
Gentile people, the same as He is the Hebrews. Jonah was to cry
against the evil going on in the city.
Jonah 1:3 "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the
presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship
going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it,
to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."
Jonah wanted nothing to do with these Gentiles, and he fled from
God, so he would not have to go. In fact, he went away from Nineveh,
instead of toward it. He has turned his back on the call of God. He
was sent to the far east, and he fled to the west. He was running from
the face of God. He should have known, there was no place far enough
to go to get away from God. He booked passage on a ship to get himself
away from this call of God. Many of us have run from the call of God.
We should pay special attention to this book.
Jonah 1:4 "But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and
there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be
God is in control of the wind and the sea. He controls all
natural elements of the earth. God causes the wind to come up so
strong, that the ship is about to break up and sink.
Jonah 1:5 "Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man
unto his god, and cast forth the wares that [were] in the ship into
the sea, to lighten [it] of them. But Jonah was gone down into the
sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep."
These mariners were used to storms on the sea. This had to be an
unusually bad storm, to cause them to fear for their lives. They threw
out the cargo, and began to pray to their gods. Gods is plural here,
because they were of different cultures, and they worshipped the gods
of their country. They did not know the True God. Jonah had slipped to
the bottom of the ship and was sound asleep. He was exhausted from
running from God, and slept very deeply. He felt as if he had safely
gotten away from the call of God.
Jonah 1:6 "So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What
meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God
will think upon us, that we perish not."
Everyone was praying but Jonah, and the ship was in so much
danger of sinking, that the shipmaster woke Jonah to help pray. It is
interesting that even though these people did not know the True God,
they were aware that this was a judgement of God.
Jonah 1:7 "And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let
us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil [is] upon us.
So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah."
They felt this sudden storm of such great magnitude was
punishment from God on someone aboard the ship. They cast lots to find
out who it was, and God revealed to them that it was Jonah.
Jonah 1:8 "Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for
whose cause this evil [is] upon us; What [is] thine occupation? and
whence comest thou? what [is] thy country? and of what people [art]
They were extremely frightened for their lives, and when the lot
fell on Jonah, they began to question him. They thought he might speak
for himself, and perhaps, repent of whatever he was guilty of, so as
to appease God. They gave him an opportunity to explain, by answering
Jonah 1:9 "And he said unto them, I [am] an Hebrew; and I fear
the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry
Jonah was proud of the fact he was an Hebrew. He even says, he
fears the LORD. One thing in his favor, he does acknowledge God. He
even explains that God created the sea and the dry land.
Jonah 1:10 "Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto
him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the
presence of the LORD, because he had told them."
It appears, when he booked passage, he had admitted to some of
the sailors that he was running from God. Now, they want to know why
he had brought this terrible storm upon them.
Jonah 1:11 "Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee,
that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was
It is interesting to me, that they had enough respect for Jonah's
God, that they asked Jonah to speak his own punishment. They knew
something must be done to save their lives.
Jonah 1:12 "And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth
into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for
my sake this great tempest [is] upon you."
Jonah was aware that God had brought this storm, because of his
disobedience. He, also, realizes if he stays on board, they will all
perish. He offers to give his life to save the sailors. He will not
take his own life, but will take the rightful punishment for
disobeying God. He asks them to throw him into the sea.
Jonah 1:13 "Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring [it] to the
land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous
Simply, they tried to save Jonah, but they could not. They rowed
as hard as they could, but the wind God had sent was stronger, and
they could do nothing.
Jonah 1:14 "Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We
beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this
man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast
done as it pleased thee."
They really did not want to kill Jonah. They had to do something
to save their own lives, however. They did not want to be guilty of
murder either. They begged God to not hold them responsible for his
death. They even remind God, that He brought the storm up.
Jonah 1:15 "So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the
sea: and the sea ceased from her raging."
The fact that the sea stopped raging suddenly, showed them they
had done the right thing by throwing Jonah overboard. They had not
thrown him over in anger, but to save all of them from drowning. The
suddenness is like the sea ceasing to roar, when Jesus spoke and told
the sea to be still. God controls the sea and the wind.
Jonah 1:16 "Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered
a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows."
This is like many conversions in the churches today. They came to
the LORD, because of fear of death. They recognized the supernatural
event that had taken place, and they recognized the power of Jonah's
God. They even sacrificed to the LORD to show their sincerity. They
even made promises to God, as well.
Jonah 1:17 "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up
Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three
This fish was not an ordinary fish. God had prepared a special
fish, so that Jonah could live in the fish's belly. This entombment in
the belly of the fish is a type and shadow of the three days Jesus
would be in the belly of the earth. Notice, God did not save Jonah
from the fish. He saves him in the fish. There had to be a continuous
prayer coming from that fish, while Jonah was in its belly. This will
give Jonah time to reconsider about running from God.
Jonah 1 Questions
1. This book is an account of what?
2. Where had God called Jonah to minister?
3. Jonah was from __________.
4. The name "Jonah" means _______.
5. What lesson can you and I receive from this?
6. Quote Mark chapter 16 verse 15.
7. How do we know that the account of Jonah is not fiction?
8. What tribe was Amittai from?
9. Nineveh was the capital of ___________.
10. How large was Nineveh?
11. This was a _________ city.
12. What was Jonah to cry against?
13. What did Jonah do about his call to Nineveh?
14. He was sent to the far east, and he went to the _______.
15. Who should pay close attention to this book?
16. What does God do about Jonah's flight?
17. What did the mariners do, when the wind came up so strong it
nearly sunk the ship?
18. Where was Jonah during this time?
19. What does the shipmaster say to Jonah?
20. What did they cast lots to determine?
21. Who did the lot fall upon?
22. What questions did they ask Jonah?
23. What answer did Jonah give them?
24. How did they know he was fleeing from the LORD?
25. Who decided Jonah's punishment?
26. What did they do, before they threw Jonah overboard to try to save
27. What happened, when they threw him into the sea?
28. What had the LORD done to save Jonah?
29. What is the entombment in the fish's belly a type and shadow of?
30. What may we assume Jonah was doing, while he was in the fish's