Who wrote the books of the Bible and when?

      Book of Jonah, about Jonah's refusal to prophesy against the Assyrian city of Nineveh, was written around the eighth century (785-760) B.C. by Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher (2 Kings 14:25). Although Nineveh was a pagan city and an enemy of Jerusalem, Jonah knew that God would save them if they repented and he refused to obey God's call to prophesy in its streets. Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, spent three days and nights in its belly during which time he repented, and was then disgorged onto the shore. After this he went and preached to Nineveh, where the people repented and were spared by God. He then became angry with God and was rebuked by the Lord, who has compassion on all people. Although many readers may view Jonah simply as a moralistic legend, Jesus viewed it as both historical fact and as prophecy of his own death and resurrection (Matthew 12:39-41, 16:4, Luke 11:29-32).

      The Book of Jonah includes:

  • Calling of Jonah son of Amittai by God to preach against the wicked city of Nineveh
  • Jonah flees from the Lord
  • The Lord causes a great wind to threaten the ship Jonah is on and the crew discovers that he is the cause, so they throw him overboard at the advice of Jonah, who admits his sin
  • The Lord causes a great fish to swallow Jonah, where he remains for three days and three nights, during which time Jonah repents
  • The Lord causes the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land, then commands Jonah a second time to preach against Nineveh
  • Jonah prophesies that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days
  • The people of Nineveh, by decree of the king, repented in sackcloth and fasted, and God turned aside his wrath
  • Jonah becomes angry with the Lord for saving Nineveh
  • God rebukes Jonah and shows him the importance of the people of Nineveh through the lesson of the withered vine

        But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?" (Jonah 4:10-11)

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