This Old Testament book describes at least part of the ministry of a prophet called “Jonah,” the only prophet who attempted to run away from God. Jonah, whose name means “dove,” lived in Gath-hepher, located just north of Nazareth, during the reign of Jeroboam II in the eighth century B.C., when Hosea and Amos were also prophesying.
Elijah and Elisha were Jonah’s predecessors, and like Jonah, were called to minister not only to Israel, but also to Gentiles in surrounding countries. The purpose of the Book of Jonah was to encourage all God’s people to extend mercy to the nations of the world, something they were not at all inclined to do.
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