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Jonah

Meaning: a dove

the son of Amittai of Gath-hepher

He was a prophet of Israel, and predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries (2 Kings 14:25-27) of the kingdom. He exercised his ministry very early in the reign of Jeroboam II, and thus was contemporary with Hosea and Amos; or possibly he preceded them, and consequently may have been the very oldest of all the prophets whose writings we possess.

His personal history is mainly to be gathered from the book which bears his name. It is chiefly interesting from the two-fold character in which he appears, (1) as a missionary to heathen Nineveh, and (2) as a type of the “Son of man.”

Jonah’s disobedience of God’s command

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. —Jonah 1:1-3 NASB

The certain location of this Tarshish has been lost to time, but it was likely Tartessus/Tartessos in what is now Spain. Note that this is in the opposite direction to what Jonah was told to go. Nineveh was far west of Jonah, on the Tigris River, and Tarshish very far east, beyond the Mediterranean Sea gateway of Gibraltar.

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