Jonah 3–4: Jonah at Nineveh

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


Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was a very large city for that day. It was about 96 kilometers (60 miles) around and had a population of about 120,000 (see Jonah 4:11). Nineveh was known to be a very wicked city. Jonah 3–4 records what the people did when Jonah told them they would be destroyed because of their wickedness, and how Jonah reacted to their response. Notice what they did and what Jonah learned from his mission as well.

Understanding the Scriptures

Jonah 3

The preaching that I bid thee (v. 2)The message I sent you to give 
Three days’ journey (v. 3)Taking three days to walk across 
Sackcloth (vv. 5, 6, 8)Rough clothing worn to show humility or sadness 
Sat in ashes (v. 6)A sign of humility or sadness 

Jonah 3:9–10—Does God Need to Repent?

Notice the Joseph Smith Translation for Jonah 3:9–10.

Jonah 4

Was this not my saying (v. 2)Didn’t I say you would do this 
Gracious, merciful (v. 2)Forgiving through the power of the Atonement 
Deliver him from his grief (v. 6)Make him feel better 
Withered (v. 7)Died 
Vehement (v. 8)Very hot 
Pity (v. 10)Felt sorry for 
Sixscore thousand (v. 11)120,000 
Cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand (v. 11)Do not know right from wrong 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A–C as you study Jonah 3–4.

Activity A iconWrite a Proclamation

A Proclamation to the People of Nineveh

Jonah 3:5–8 says that when the king heard Jonah’s message he made a proclamation to the people. Based on what you read in Jonah 3, write what you think the proclamation might have said and what you know about the people of Nineveh.

Activity B iconWhat Was He Thinking?

Describe how Jonah may have felt about what God did in Jonah 3:10 and why you think he may have felt that way.

Activity C iconWhat’s the Point?

Tell what you think the message of the book of Jonah is (you can choose more than one).