Moved by Jonah's prayer, God commands the fish, which vomits out Jonah safely on dry land.
Later, after Jonah has delivered his message in Nineveh, the king acts decisively, while Jonah retires to the desert to watch.
God calls Jonah to preach against Nineveh, the greatest city of the mighty Assyrian empire, but Jonah resists and attempts to flee.
Jesus compares his generation to the people of Nineveh, saying that no sign will be given except "the sign of Jonah."
According to 2 Kings 14:25, Jonah had prophesied that "the boundaries of Israel (would stretch) from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the plain" (that is the Dead Sea).
The crew casts lots to determine who is responsible for their bad fortune, and Jonah is identified as the man.
Finding his life unbearable, Jonah wants simply to lay down an die, but God teaches him that active mercy is better than passive death.
Jonah's name literally means "dove," while most prophets had heroic names (e.g., Isaiah means "God has saved").
The earliest Christian interpretations of Jonah are found in Matthew (12:38-42 and 16:1-4) and Luke 11:29-32).
Rabbinical tradition usually considers Jonah to have been of the tribe of Asher, although some claim he was of Zebulum.
The Book of Jonah is almost entirely narrative with the exception of a hymn supposedly composed by the prophet while in the belly of a great fish.
God causes a miraculous plant to grow up in a day in order to shade Jonah from the blistering heat, but then sends a worm the next morning to devour the plant.
The next prophet, Amos, marks the first of the literary prophets active in the north, and he, possibly like Jonah, lived during Jeroboam's time.
One tradition holds that Jonah's mother was the "woman of Zarephath" that offered hospitality to Elijah and that Jonah was her son, whom Elijah revived (Pirke R. El.
The story ends on an ironic, even humorous note, as Jonah retires to the desert to observe what would happen to the city.
Beside the information given in the Book of Jonah itself, there is only one other biographical reference to Jonah in the Bible.
God then shows Jonah that the plant was really only a way of teaching Jonah a lesson.
Jonah even objects to God's showing mercy to the Ninevites, seeming to prefer that God would fulfill his promise to destroy the city.
Later, Jonah went into the land of Judah.
Another legend says that it was Jonah whom the prophet Elisha dispatched to anoint the usurper Jehu as Israel's future king.
The story of Jonah is set against the historical background of ancient Israel in the eighth century B.C.E.
Jonah's own grave is reported as being in the cave of a man called Kenaz, identified as a judge, possibly a reference to Kenaz the father or ancestor of the judge Othniel.
Jonah again complains, saying: "It would be better for me to die than to live."
The monstrous fish that swallowed Jonah was none other than the legendary Leviathan (Pirke R. El.
After trying unsuccessfully to row to shore, his shipmates beg God not to hold Jonah's death against them and then cast him into the sea.
Nevertheless, Augustine actually sees the primary meaning of the story of Jonah as an allegory of Christ.
Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish; Jesus will spend three days in the tomb.
After his rescue, Jonah obeys the call to prophesy against Nineveh.
After his ministry in Nineveh, Jonah reportedly traveled with his mother to another Gentile land known as Sour.
The little-known apocryphal Lives of the Prophets, a second century work, identifies Jonah as coming from the district of Kariathmos near the Greek sea-side city of Azotus.
Contrary to popular belief, the debate over the credibility of the miracle of Jonah and the "whale" is not a modern one.
A huge fish, also sent by God, swallows Jonah.
At this point in the story, the reader would expect Jonah to repent.
The plot centers on a conflict between Jonah and God and conveys a message of salvation not only for the chosen people of Israel but also Israel's enemies.
The the storm and the fish, God has removed Jonah from his self-destructive path of flight from his prophetic mission and has set him on the path to carry out God's will.
The story of Jonah can be seen as drama between a passive man and an active God.
Many biblical scholars believe Jonah's prayer (2:2-9), occupying almost one quarter of the entire book, to be a later addition (see source criticism).