3:6 the king of Nineveh. Apparently a reference to the mighty king of Assyria. Although it is highly unlikely that Assyrian records would note this unusual occurrence, some scholars have associated this event with the religious reforms of Adad-nirari III (810–783 b.c.). The reign of Assur-dan III (772–755 b.c.) has also been suggested.
he arose . . . and sat in ashes. The king’s response was as immediate and spontaneous as that of his subjects. Royal authority gave way to penitent humility. He exchanged his robes for sackcloth, his throne for a bed of ashes (cf. Job 42:6; Is. 58:5).