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Jonah was the son of a man called Amittai. He may have been the prophet who came from Gath-Hepher in northern Israel (2 Kings 14:25) and who preached to Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II.

Israel's enemy at this time was Assyria, the capital city of which was Nineveh. Jonah was told by God to go and warn the people of Nineveh of coming judgements but he boarded a ship at Joppa to sail to the west in an attempt to run away from God.

But no-one can run away from God and Jonah failed in his attempt to 'escape'. During a violent storm, Jonah was thrown into the sea where he was swallowed by a great fish, which God had prepared. After 3 days he was saved by God from his watery grave.

Jonah's mission to go to Assyria was a tough one. Everywhere the Assyrians were feared, especially in the land of Israel.

How Jonah fared when he arrived in Nineveh, and what the Assyrians did, is told in chapters 3 and 4.

The book of Jonah is not only a record of true events - it is a story with many lessons about the ups and downs of life. Whether in fear, in deep distress, in moments of pride or in times of despair, we can still turn to God and He is able to help us.

Jesus had to face death, just as Jonah who was thrown in to the sea. After 3 days Jesus was brought back to life again. He himself compared this great miracle to that performed by God for Jonah (see Matthew 12:38-41).


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