Friday, September 06, 2013

Bible Study: God Desires To Show Mercy - Jonah - Introduction

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Jonah, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, spring 2010, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…


Take a few minutes to pray and read these introductory notes on the book of Jonah. We will begin studying the actual book of Jonah next week. This week, take a look at the history and several background passages that would have influenced Jonah’s feelings toward Nineveh.

Jonah lived in Samaria. He prophesied in 784-772 BC during the reign of Jeroboam II. See 2 Kings 14:23-25. Jewish tradition says that Jonah was the boy brought back to life by Elijah in 1 Kings 17.

In 722-721 BC, Sargon, the Assyrian king, captured Israel’s capital city. So Nineveh became responsible for obliterating Jonah’s native land 50 years after Jonah preached to them.

Nineveh was the greatest of the capital cities of the Assyrian Empire. Established by Nimrod, see Genesis 10:9-12. Assyrians are descended from Shem’s son, Asshur. Remember Shem? He was one of the sons of Noah, saved from the Great Flood in the ark. The Assyrians were responsible for the bloodiest and most devastating invasions in Israel’s history. They had a brutal style of warfare, employing massive armies, including a large chariot corps, and the use of siege works such as battering rams and ramps. They were masters of psychological terrorism, grotesquely displaying bodies of conquered victims. See Nahum 3:2-3. King Jehu mimics one of their tactics in 2 Kings 10:8. The Assyrian Empire flourished during the period of 800-612 BC. Nahum 3:7 predicts Nineveh’s devastation.

King of Israel/King of Judah/King of Assyria
Saul (1050-1010)/ /Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 BC)
David (1010-970)/ /
Solomon’s reign ended in 930 BC and the kingdom was divided. (970-930)//
Jeroboam I (930-909 BC)/Rehoboam (930-913 BC)/
Baasha (908-886 BC)/Asa (910-869 BC)/Adad-Nirari II (911-891 BC)
Omri (885-874 BC)/ /Ashurnisirpal II (883-859 BC)
Ahab (874-853 BC)/Jehoshaphat (872-848 BC)/Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC)
Joram (852-841 BC)/Jehoram (853-841 BC)/
Jehu (841-814 BC)/Athalia (841-835 BC)/
/Joash (835-796 BC)/ Adad-Nirari III (810-783 BC)/ Jonah (784-772 BC)
Jeroboam II (793-753 BC)/Azariah (Uzziah) (792-740 BC)/ Ashurdan III (773-755 BC)
Menahem (752-742 BC)/Jotham (750-735 BC)/Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 BC)
Pekah (752-732 BC)/Ahaz (735-715 BC)/Shalmeneser V (726-722 BC)
Hoshea (732-722 BC)/ /
Fall of Israel 722-721 BC/ /Sargon II (722-705 BC)
/Hezekiah (715-686 BC)/Sennacherib (704-681 BC)
/Manasseh (697-642 BC)/Esharhaddon (681-669 BC)
/Josiah (640-609 BC)/Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC)
/Jehoiachim (609-598 BC)/Battle of Carchemesh ends Assyrian Empire 605 BC
/Zedekiah (597-586 BC)/
/Fall of Jerusalem 586 BC/

1115-1077 BC – Tiglath-Pileser I was murdered.

883-859 BC – Ashurnasirpal II used his cruel reputation to extort tribute from other nations.

858-824 BC – Shalmaneser III – in 824 BC, he fought 12 united kings including Hada-Ezer (Ben-Hadad). In 841 BC, he defeated Hazael of Damascus and received tribute from King Jehu on Mount Carmel.

810-783 BC – Adad-Nirari III is probably the savior of 2 Kings 13:5.

744-727 BC – Tiglath-Pileser III was also known by the Babylonian name, Pul. 2 Kings 15:19-20 records him accepting tribute from King Menahem of Israel. 2 Kings 15:29 records one of Assyria’s major invasions of Israel. 2 Kings 17:24 – records his use of mass deportation as a tactic to reduce nationalism in a conquered area. Several invasion campaigns are attributed to his reign:

738 BC – against Hamath
734 BC – against Ijon, Joppa
733 BC – against Ijon, Janoah, Dothan
732 BC – capture of Damascus

In 735 BC, Israel tried to replace King Ahaz of Judah with someone who was anti-Assyrian. See 2 Kings 16:2-6, Isaiah 7:16. Against Isaiah’s warnings (Isaiah 7:4, 16-17; 8:4-8), Ahaz appealed to Tiglath-Pileser III for help in 2 Kings 16:7-9. Ahaz became an Assyrian vassal. See 2 Kings 16:10; 2 Chronicles 28:16, 20-22.

726-722 BC – Shalmeneser V – King Hoshea of Israel withheld tribute to Assyria as recorded in 2 Kings 17:3-5. This action began a 3-year siege against Israel that resulted in the end of the kingdom of Israel in 722-721 BC. Shalmaneser V saw the end of Israel, but his successor, Sargon II, took credit for the victory. See 2 Kings 17:6; 18:8-12.

704-681 BC – Sennacherib – He was murdered by his two sons as recorded in 2 Kings 19:37. He fought against Judah in 701 BC, the 14th year of King Hezekiah’s reign. He captured Lachish. 2 Kings 18:14-16 records King Hezekiah paying him an enormous tribute. 2 Kings 19:35-36 (2 Chronicles 32:21; Isaiah 37:36-37) records a victory of the angel of the Lord against the Assyrian camp.

681-669 BC – Esharhaddon – King Manasseh is recorded as being his loyal vassal.

669-627 BC – Ashurbanipal was the last great Assyrian king. He invaded Egypt in 667 BC with King Manasseh’s help. His brother was King of Babylon.

• The book of Jonah shows how hatred can cloud our thoughts and keep us from obeying God. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture to break down those and other barriers, and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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