The book Of The Bible Jonah
Written sometime after the Babylonian exile, the book of Jonah is a story about a re luctant prophet who is called by God to preach repentance to the inhabitants of Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria and Israel’s traditional enemy in the eighth century BCE. This popular story reveals, to the surprise and disappointment of Jonah, how God actively intends the salvation of all people, including the enemies of Israel. There is much humor and irony in the story of Jonah, who is saved from drowning by being swallowed by a great fish and sent by God on an unwelcome mission to Nineveh.
Texts from Jonah are read during the liturgy on the first three days of the Twenty-Seventh Week of Year I. A passage from Jonah is also the first reading on Wednesday of the First Week of Lent. Also, a passage is read on the Third Sunday of Year B in the liturgical calendar. In the NT both Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ interpretation that Jonah is a sign and a prefiguring of his mission and burial.