Jonah, sent again, preaches to the Ninevites, 1-4. Upon their repentance, 5-9, God repents, 10.
1 And the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the preaching that I bid you." 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city of three days' journey. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city for a day's journey and he cried, and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest even to the least of them. 6 For word came to the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, took off his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, "Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Do not let them feed, nor drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and cry mightily to God. Indeed, let them each turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent and turn away from his fierce anger so that we do not perish?"
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. And God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Jonah, Chapter 3[➚]
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
This chapter gives an account of the renewal of Jonah's message to Nineveh, and of his faithful execution of it (verses 1-4); and of the fruit and effect of it, the conversion of the Ninevites, their faith in God, repentance of their sins, and reformation from them (verses 5-9); and of God's approbation thereof, by revoking the sentence he had pronounced upon them (verse 10).
[v.3b] - "an exceeding great city" - The way the Hebrew is here written would have this phrase rendered as, "a city great to God." However, this figure of speech is not saying that the city was the object of God's care, but rather, as it is rendered in translation, that the city was great in size, or superior in size.
[v.5-9] - Reference, Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:32.
[v.8] - "evil way" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "By 'way' the Scripture usually means the whole course or manner of man's life; it was as though he said, 'Let every one of you change his disposition and his conduct; let us all become new creatures.' And this is true penitence, the conversion of man to God."