1:2 go to Nineveh. The Lord’s sovereignty over all the nations is implicit in the command to Jonah. He is the Judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25). The last capital of the Assyrian Empire, Nineveh was located on the east side of the Tigris River directly opposite the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq. The site has been extensively excavated and boasts a long and rich history.
call out against it. Jonah understood that his pronouncement of the Lord’s judgment on the feared and hated Assyrian Empire was reversible (4:2 note). He knew that his message offered the opportunity for repentance.
their evil has come up before me. In the later prophecy of Nahum (seventh century b.c.), the Assyrian capital of Nineveh is the focus of divine wrath and is depicted as the embodiment of evil and cruelty (Nah. 3:1–7). The Assyrian war machine was guilty of horrendous atrocities; in 612 b.c. that empire would itself fall victim to a cruel destroyer.