3 1-2 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah again: “Go to that great city, Nineveh,” he said, “and warn them of their doom, as I told you to before!”
3 So Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city with many villages around it—so large that it would take three days to walk through it.[a]
4-5 But the very first day when Jonah entered the city and began to preach, the people repented. Jonah shouted to the crowds that gathered around him, “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” And they believed him and declared a fast; from the king on down, everyone put on sackcloth—the rough, coarse garments worn at times of mourning.[b]
6 For when the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne, laid aside his royal robes, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And the king and his nobles sent this message throughout the city: “Let no one, not even the animals, eat anything at all, nor even drink any water. 8 Everyone must wear sackcloth and cry mightily to God, and let everyone turn from his evil ways, from his violence and robbing. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will decide to let us live and will hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
10 And when God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, he abandoned his plan to destroy them and didn’t carry it through.
- Jonah 3:3 so large that it would take three days to walk through it. The Hebrew text makes no distinction between the city proper—the walls of which were only about eight miles in circumference, accommodating a population of about 175,000 persons—and the administrative district of Nineveh, which was about thirty to sixty miles across.
- Jonah 3:4 the rough, coarse garments worn at times of mourning, implied.