From the East window of the Chapel Lincoln College, Oxford
"an implausibly toothsome whale ejecting Jonah (and glad to be rid of him it seems)."


Jonah יוֹנָה is the word for a dove. The Hebrew Bible uses this word as a name in two places:

In that story God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against the imperial city. Jonah runs away to sea, but is forced by storm and fish (Jon 1) to Nineveh, where his five word pronouncement causes mass repentance (Jon 3). God teaches Jonah a lesson while he waits "to see what would become of the city".

On the basis of the story, Jonah is often described as a "reluctant missionary". However, the book does not teach that one should go where God sends, rather the punchline of the richly comic tale is that Jonah is "concerned" about the fate of a plant which has withered - should God not be concerned for all the poor innocent creatures in Nineveh (not forgetting the animals)! Jonah is a missionary book because it reveals God's heart for those in danger of death and destruction, not because Jonah goes on a journey!


This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos , if you have reached it as a standalone page, to view it in context, go to
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.