3:10 – 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

We read here that the people of Ninevah and their king repented and obeyed the word of the Lord. What could have made the people of Ninevah listen to a foreign god and then repent? Archaeologists have found that the Ninevites worshipped the great fish god Dagon; therefore, the people were likely impressed with Jonah having been inside the great fish. They felt that Jonah’s god must have battled their fish god and made him cough up Jonah and spit him out; therefore, they had to listen to the more powerful “God of the Israelites.” Whatever happened, it’s interesting to note the immediacy with which they repented.

Notice how verse 3 says that Ninevah was such a large city that it took three whole days just to walk across it. Jonah preached to the city of Nineveh for three days straight. His disobedience had taken him three times the distance away from God; however, the Lord revealed that His mercy was three times greater than Jonah’s disobedience. Once again, we are being reminded that God’s mercy is three times greater than our sin. The Lord wanted to make sure that the Ninevites heard His message and had the opportunity to repent.

I want you to notice how there is a stark contrast presented here between Jonah and the Ninevites. God spoke a word to Jonah, who was an Israelite and one of His own chosen people, and yet he became immediately disobedient. However, after the Ninevites, who were foreigners, had heard God’s message they were immediately obedient. They had forty days to think it over, but it appears that their repentance was immediate; and because of their immediacy in repenting of their sinful ways, God spared them His wrath. The Ninevites called out for mercy and they were saved from death and destruction. Remember, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).


Jonah Protested Their Second Chance (4:1, 4:5-6)

4:1 – 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.

4:5-6 – 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

We see here one of the saddest accounts in the Bible. Jonah was hoping the Lord would destroy the Ninevites, and we read here that he was displeased that God had spared them. Therefore, he left Nineveh pouting, and he journeyed to a safe vantage point so he wouldn’t get singed when God rained down His fiery judgement on the city; and there he sat, watching and hoping for their destruction. God had shown Jonah mercy for his disobedience, but Jonah didn’t feel like anyone