Leslie M. John
God commanded Jonah second time that he should go to Nineveh and preach exactly what God wanted him to preach. Jonah journeyed for three days and reached that exceedingly great city Nineveh and he preached saying ”Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”.
And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jonah 3:4)
The first mention of the city of Nineveh was in Genesis 10:11 where it says: ”Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah”.
History records that Nineveh was a great city. Sennacherib thought of waging war against Hezekiah, but Hezekiah prayed to God and the LORD heard prayer of Hezekiah and the angel of the LORD went out and “smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses”. (1 Kings 19:35)
The people of Nineveh are said to have raided the cities around it and tortured people in the adjacent cities. One thing is sure that Jonah wanted the city to be destroyed.
Indeed God’s message through Jonah was very powerful that made the people of Nineveh believe in the preaching. Greatest of them to the least of them put on sackcloth and proclaimed a fast which is a sign of repentance. The king of Nineveh rose from the throne, laid aside his robe from him and covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. The king by decree ordered everyone in the city of Nineveh to fast, and put on sackcloth and cry out to God mightily. The king desired that everyone in the city turn away from evil way and from violence realizing that such repentance may please God and he turn away his wrath against the city.
“Indeed, God answered their prayers and he promised that he would not do that which he wanted to do. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it” (Jonah 3:10 ESV)
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19)