Conversion of Nineveh
3:1And the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 3:2Arise, go unto Nineveh,1 that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3:3So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days' journey. 3:4And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.2 3:5And the people of Nineveh believed God; and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
3:6And the tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 3:7And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, nor drink water; 3:8but let them be covered with sackcloth, both man and beast,3 and let them cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands. 3:9Who knoweth whether God will not turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
- Nineveh, Jonah. Nineveh (“exterior growth, growling vigor”) represents the first manifest expression of the truth that the spirit, soul, and body of man are free and are not bound by limitations of matter. Jonah (“a dove”) represents the prophetic state of mind, which, if used without divine love, fixes a person in bondage to belief in a law of cause and effect, wherein error sowing cannot be redeemed or forgiven.
- and Nineveh shall be overthrown. Jonah’s message is dogmatic, tempered by no conditions and lightened by no promise of escape. He typifies the natural man, who sees only disaster as the inevitable consequence of sin and is unable to accept the teaching that repentance for sin can alter or wipe out the consequences that would otherwise ensue.
- but let them be covered with sackcloth, both man and beast. Cattle represent physical strength, and pertain to the animal forces of the organism. These are not necessarily evil. Their unfoldment and expression depend on the understanding and directive thoughts of the individual. They may be elevated to the spiritual expression and may be used constructively, for the good only. Such a large sweeping change occurs throughout the city that even the animals will bear the symbol of repentance.
- And God saw their works. Though Jonah preached the city’s destruction, upon immediately and completely reversing error habits, they had aligned themselves with divine Truth, which uplifts and redeems, and therefore could no longer be destroyed. This phase of Jonah's spiritual consciousness falls short in allowing itself to be intimidated by the seeming mightiness of evil, and failing to appreciate the redeeming power of eternal Good.
Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Eduardo Rodriguez.
Following Entry: Jonah 4