The Ninevite revival was more than dust and sackcloth. The king proclaimed to his people: “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” (vv. 8-9).
What is truly fascinating is that the king doesn’t know that Jonah’s God will forgive! He says, “WHO KNOWS? God may yet relent . . ..” This seems to indicate that Jonah never mentioned the possibility of forgiveness, perhaps because he did not want the Ninevites forgiven.
Jonah’s orthodox statement in this chapter — “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown” — is what God wanted Jonah to say. I wonder, however, if he said it with tears or with taunting? With grief or with glee? Judgment from a holy God is inevitable. How does one prepare for that coming judgment? Apparently Jonah had no interest in explaining to the Ninevites how God’s wrath could be averted. (to be continued)