Jonah 1–2: Can You Run from the Lord?

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 185–186

What would you say or how would you feel if your leaders assigned you (alone) to share the gospel with the most wicked and cruel person you know? Jonah 1–2 tells how Jonah was called to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and warn the Assyrians to repent. The Assyrians were known for their great wickedness and cruelty and had already conquered Syria (see map 5 in your Bible) and threatened to conquer Israel.

Understanding the Scriptures

Jonah 1

Cry against it (v. 2)Warn the people to repent 
Tempest (vv. 4, 12)Storm 
Mariners (v. 5)Sailors 
Cast forth the wares (v. 5)Threw out the ship’s cargo 
Perish (vv. 6, 14)Die 
Cast lots (v. 7)A way people believed they could determine God’s will (similar to drawing straws or flipping a coin) 
Occupation (v. 8)Job, mission 
Wrought, and was tempestuous (vv. 11, 13)Became more rough 
Beseech (v. 14)Ask with great feeling, plead 
Ceased from her raging (v. 15)Calmed down 
Vows (v. 16)Promises 

Jonah 2

Affliction (v. 2)Troubles 
Floods compassed me (v. 3)Water was all around me 
Corruption (v. 6)Death 
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy (v. 8)Those who trust in idols lose the Lord’s help 

Jonah 1:2–3—Nineveh and Tarshish

Nineveh and Tarshish represent the two opposite ends of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean world. When Jonah started for Tarshish, he was apparently trying to get as far away from Nineveh as possible.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A–C as you study Jonah 1–2.

Activity A iconLook for Details

  1. 1.

    Why did the sailors wake Jonah up?

  2. 2.

    Whose idea was it that Jonah be thrown into the sea?

  3. 3.

    What did the Lord prepare to swallow up Jonah?

Activity B iconWhat Do You Think?

Write about why a person might feel like running away from what God wanted him or her to do or decline callings in the Church. What can we learn from Jonah’s experience in Jonah 1 about trying to run from the Lord? (see Moses 4:12–16).

Activity C iconA Type of the Savior

How long was Jonah in the belly of the fish? Read also Matthew 12:38–41 and write how Jonah’s experience is like what happened to the Savior.