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Jonah (Biblical book)

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The book of Jonah is one of the books of the Old Testament, grouped with the minor prophets. Unlike the other texts in this group, it is not a record of prophecies but rather a short biographical account of a prophet, recounting two episodes in Jonah's life.

The first, longest and most famous part of the book tells the story of how Jonah is ordered by God to go to the wicked city of Nineveh and denounce the ways of the people who lived there. Jonah runs away instead, catching a ship in the other direction and eventually being swallowed by an enormous fish or whale. The creature delivers Jonah to Nineveh, where he prophesies as originally instructed.

The second part of the book is much shorter. Jonah is vexed by the hot sun and takes refuge under a gourd tree, which then dies. This teaches a lesson about God's compassion for the people of Nineveh, and by extension other sinners (Jonah 4:10-11).

Popularity and importance

The story of Jonah is a popular one, and is almost certainly the most well-known among the minor prophets. It has great appeal to young children because of the episode with the whale or fish.

Jonah is also an important Old Testament type (parallel of a New Testament story): Jonah's time in the whale is a parallel of Jesus' three days in the tomb. In fact, Jesus Himself made this parallel explicit in Matthew 12:40[1].


  1. Jesus and Jonah

Books of the Bible
Old Testament
Pentateuch (Torah) GenesisExodusLeviticusNumbersDeuteronomy
History JoshuaJudgesRuthI SamuelII SamuelI KingsII KingsI ChroniclesII ChroniclesEzraNehemiahEsther
Wisdom Literature JobPsalmsProverbsEcclesiastesSong of Solomon
Major Prophets IsaiahJeremiahLamentationsEzekielDaniel
Minor Prophets HoseaJoelAmosObadiahJonahMicahNahumHabakkukZephaniahHaggaiZechariahMalachi
New Testament
The Gospels According to MatthewAccording to MarkAccording to LukeAccording to John
History Acts of the Apostles
Pauline Epistles RomansI CorinthiansII CorinthiansGalatiansEphesiansPhilippiansColossiansI ThessaloniansII ThessaloniansI TimothyII TimothyTitusPhilemon
General Epistles HebrewsJamesI PeterII PeterI JohnII JohnIII JohnJude
Prophecy The Revelation to John
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