1 Now the word of the Lord came to [a]Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,2 “Go to [b]Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim [judgment] against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”3 But Jonah ran away to Tarshish to escape from the presence of the Lord [and his duty as His prophet]. He went down to [c]Joppa and found a ship going to [d]Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading cities]. So he paid the fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord.
4 But the Lord hurled a great wind toward the sea, and there was a violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.
Jonah 1:1Jonah, the only prophet known to attempt to run away from a divinely appointed mission, lived during the time when Jeroboam II ruled Israel (the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom). He was from the town of Gath-Hepher in Galilee.
Jonah 1:2The city of Nineveh was the magnificent capital of the Assyrian Empire. The great palace of Sennacherib was without rival and contained seventy or more rooms. The city was home to more than 120,000 residents (at least twice the size of Babylon) and had no less than fifteen gates in the wall surrounding the city. During this period of time it was probably the largest city in the known world. Built near the juncture of the Tigris River and its tributary the Khoser, it was served by an elaborate water system of eighteen canals. Nineveh had many suburbs, three are mentioned along with Nineveh in Gen 10:11, 12. Nineveh’s extensive ruins are located near the modern city of Mosul, Iraq.
Jonah 1:3The natural harbor of the city of Joppa (modern Jaffa, Israel) has been in use since the Bronze Age. It was the port of entry for the cedars of Lebanon for Solomon’s temple (2 Chr 2:16), and again for the second temple of Jerusalem (Ezra 3:7). It is located just south of Tel Aviv.
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