These small group studies of Jonah extensive cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Jonah 3:1-5 Inductive Bible Study

Jonah 3:1-5

Second Chances

Summary-God told Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh with God’s message to them, and this time Jonah obeyed. Jonah walked through the city for a day, telling them that they would be overthrown in 40 days. The Ninevites believed God and called a city-wide fast of repentance.

Central Teaching- God is a God of second chances.

Key Words- second time, call out, great, days, journey, overthrown, believed

Key Verse- 3:5

Ten things this passage says-

  1. The Lord sent His word to Jonah a second time.
  2. God asked Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh with the message that God told him.
  3. Jonah arose and went to Nineveh.
  4. Nineveh was an exceedingly great city.
  5. Nineveh was a 3 day journey around.
  6. Jonah went a day’s journey into the city.
  7. Jonah told the Ninevites that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days.
  8. The people of Nineveh believed God.
  9. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth.
  10. Everyone in the city joined in this mourning, from the greatest to the least of them.

Ten things this passage does NOT say-

  1. God didn’t have to remind Jonah of his task, because Jonah ran to do it as soon as the fish expelled him.
  2. The second command of the Lord to Jonah differed from the first.
  3. Once again, Jonah refused to go to Nineveh, and ran away instead.
  4. Nineveh was a small, quiet city.
  5. Jonah did a whole-hearted job, and walked all around the entire city, 3 days, in order for everyone to know of God’s judgment.
  6. Jonah’s journey of one day through Nineveh wasn’t enough for everyone to know of God’s judgment.
  7. God didn’t give the Ninevites time to repent, but promised immediate destruction.
  8. The people of Nineveh thought Jonah was crazy, and wouldn’t listen to him.
  9. The Ninevites behavior was not perceivably altered.
  10. The Ninevites were divided in their response towards Jonah. Some repented, but others were hardened towards him.

What does this passage teach me about God?

He is merciful and gives second chances.

He requires his children to obey.

He is consistent.

How can I apply this to my life?

Obey God.

Repent when He brings my sin to light.

Repentance should be immediate, whole-hearted, and complete. No one is exempt.


 How many times did God give this command to Jonah? V1

What does it mean that the word of the Lord “came to Jonah”? V1

What does this verse show us about God’s character? V1

How does God’s wording of this command differ from the one He gave in 1:2? V2

From this verse and what we have studied before, what can you tell me about Nineveh? (“Three times Nineveh is described as a great city [1:2; 3:2; 4:11]. As noted in the introduction, the city was surrounded by an inner wall and an outer wall. The huge inner wall [50 feet wide and 100 feet high] was about eight miles in circumference while the outer wall encompassed fields and smaller towns. The words ‘great city’ probably included the city of Nineveh proper and its administrative environs. His instructions were simply to travel those 550 miles to Nineveh and preach the message the Lord would provide at the appropriate time.)

How is our command from the Lord similar to Jonah’s? V2

What was Jonah’s response to God’s command this time? V3

How far was “a three days walk”? V3 (60 miles, or 20 miles a day).

What do you think it means “Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk”? V4

Do you think Jonah obeyed God wholeheartedly in this verse? V4

Why do you think God gave 40 days before Nineveh would be overthrown? V4

Can you think of other times in the Bible where 40 days are mentioned? V4 (The time of rain during the flood- Gen. 7:4; the time Moses spent on the mountain with the Lord- Ex 24:18 and Ex 34:28; the time the Israelites went to spy out the Promised Land- Num 13:25; the time Goliath challenged the Israelites- 1 Sam. 17:16; Elijah’s time of testing in the wilderness- 1Kings 19:8; Jesus’ time of testing in the wilderness- Matt 4:2, Mark 1:13 and Luke 4:2; Jesus time of ministry on earth after His resurrection- Acts 1:3.)

What significance does “40 days” have in the Bible? V4

Who was going to overthrow Nineveh? Why? V4

What was the Ninevites’ response to this warning? V5

What was the purpose of fasting and putting on sackcloth? V5

Who among the Ninevites was involved in these actions? V5

What was the hoped-for outcome of these repentant actions? V5

How did this repentance reflect on God’s power? Jonah’s? V5

Cross References-

Jonah 3:1-

Jonah 1:1

The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

John 21:15-17

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Hag 1:8

8 “Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the LORD.

Acts 9:15

15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

Jonah 3:2-

Gen 10:11

11 From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah,

Jonah 1:2

2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Jonah 3:3

3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.

Zeph 2:13-15

13 And He will stretch out His hand against the north

And destroy Assyria,

And He will make Nineveh a desolation,

Parched like the wilderness.

14 Flocks will lie down in her midst,

All beasts which range in herds;

Both the pelican and the hedgehog

Will lodge in the tops of her pillars;

Birds will sing in the window,

Desolation will be on the threshold;

For He has laid bare the cedar work.

15 This is the exultant city

Which dwells securely,

Who says in her heart,

“I am, and there is no one besides me.”

How she has become a desolation,

A resting place for beasts!

Everyone who passes by her will hiss

And wave his hand in contempt.

Jer 1:17

17 “Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you. Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them.

Jer 15:19-21

19 Therefore, thus says the LORD,

“If you return, then I will restore you —

Before Me you will stand;

And if you extract the precious from the worthless,

You will become My spokesman.

They for their part may turn to you,

But as for you, you must not turn to them.

20 “Then I will make you to this people

A fortified wall of bronze;

And though they fight against you,

They will not prevail over you;

For I am with you to save you

And deliver you,” declares the LORD.

21 “So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked,

And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”

Ezek 2:7

7 “But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.

Ezek 3:17

17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.

Matt 3:8

8 “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;

John 5:14

14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.”

Jonah 4:11

11 “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

Luke 11:30

30 “For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

Acts 18:9

9 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;

2 Tim 4:2

2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Jonah 3:3-

Gen 22:3

3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Matt 21:28-29

28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, “Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ 29 “And he answered, “I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went.

2 Tim 4:11

11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.

Isa 37:37

37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh.

Dan 6:18

18 Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.

Jonah 3:2

2 “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.”

Jonah 3:4-

Deut 18:22

22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

2 Kings 20:1

In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'”

Jer 18:7-10

7 “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it;  8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. 9 “Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it;  10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.

Jonah 3:10

10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Gen 20:3

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”

Est 4:1

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city and wailed loudly and bitterly.

Est 4:16

16 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”

Isa 30:18

18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you,

And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.

For the LORD is a God of justice;

How blessed are all those who long for Him.

Isa 38:1

In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, “Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'”

Jer 20:16

16 But let that man be like the cities

Which the LORD overthrew without relenting,

And let him hear an outcry in the morning

And a shout of alarm at noon;

Mic 6:9

9 The voice of the LORD will call to the city —

And it is sound wisdom to fear Your name:

“Hear, O tribe. Who has appointed its time?

Jonah 3:5-

Ex 9:18-20

18 “Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 “Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.”‘”20 The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses;

Matt 12:41

41 “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Luke 11:32

32 “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Acts 27:25

25 “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told.

Heb 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

2 Chron 20:3

3 Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

Ezra 8:21

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions.

Jer 36:9

9 Now in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, all the people in Jerusalem and all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem proclaimed a fast before the LORD.

Joel 1:14

14 Consecrate a fast,

Proclaim a solemn assembly;

Gather the elders

And all the inhabitants of the land

To the house of the LORD your God,

And cry out to the LORD.

Joel 2:12-17

12 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD,

“Return to Me with all your heart,

And with fasting, weeping and mourning;

13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”

Now return to the LORD your God,

For He is gracious and compassionate,

Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness

And relenting of evil.

14 Who knows whether He will not turn and relent

And leave a blessing behind Him,

Even a grain offering and a drink offering

For the LORD your God?

15 Blow a trumpet in Zion,

Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,

16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,

Assemble the elders,

Gather the children and the nursing infants.

Let the bridegroom come out of his room

And the bride out of her bridal chamber.

17 Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers,

Weep between the porch and the altar,

And let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD,

And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,

A byword among the nations.

Why should they among the peoples say,

‘Where is their God?'”

Jer 31:34

34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Jer 42:1

Then all the commanders of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people both small and great approached

Acts 8:10

10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.”

Gen 37:34

34 So Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.

Judg 20:26

26 Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

1 Kings 20:31

31 His servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings, please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will save your life.”

Isa 58:5

5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed

And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?

Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

Ezek 3:6

6 nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you;

Joel 1:13

13 Gird yourselves with sackcloth

And lament, O priests;

Wail, O ministers of the altar!

Come, spend the night in sackcloth

O ministers of my God,

For the grain offering and the drink offering

Are withheld from the house of your God.

Jonah 3:7

7 He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.

Rom 10:14

14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

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