Read Matthew 11:1-15.
The greatest insight of the book is that God desires to show mercy and grace to all the peoples of the world. No one nation or group can claim exclusive rights to His love. The task of the nation of Israel was to preach this message about God’s universal love to all the world Genesis 12:1-3. But they forgot this missionary purpose and eventually claimed God and His blessings as theirs alone. The Book of Jonah cries out against this narrow-minded interpretation of God and His purpose. In the last verse of the book, God makes it plain to Jonah that His mercy and compassion is as wide as the world itself: “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left, and also much livestock?” 4:11.
Some Bible readers insist on interpreting this book as an allegory or a parable. But these approaches ignore Jesus’ own literal interpretation of Jonah. In speaking of His death and resurrection, Jesus declared, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” Matthew 12:40; (also Luke 11:29-32). Thus, the Book of Jonah is much more than a fish story. It is a beautiful account of God’s grace that lifts our sights to the greatest love story of all-the death of His Son Jesus Christ for the sins of the world.
Joe nuh (a dove) the prophet who was first swallowed by a great fish before he obeyed God’s command to preach repentance to the Assyrian city of Nineveh. Jonah was not always a reluctant spokesman for the Lord. He is apparently the same prophet who predicted the remarkable expansion of Israel’s territory during the reign of Jeroboam II (ruled about 793-753 B. C.; 2 Kings 14:25). This passage indicates that Jonah, the son of Amittai, was from Gath Hepher, a town in Zebulun in the northern kingdom of Israel.