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  1. Summary of Jonah
  2. Outline of Jonah
  3. Background of Jonah
  4. Introductory Issues in Jonah
  5. Theological Themes in Jonah
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Lesson 3 of5
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Background of Jonah

The story is set at the height of the power of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. “Jonah son of Amittai” is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25, a prophet of the northern kingdom Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. Assuming both Jonahs are the same man, the story then takes place sometime between 785-740 B.C.E. The story deals with Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The cruelty of the Assyrians and especially of Nineveh was legendary, as the prophetic speech against it in Nahum 3 indicates. About the time when the story is set, the Assyrian Empire began to be more of a threat to Israel. Assyria brought its army and tyranny to the region. On several occasions Israel had to submit to Assyria, and in 722, Assyria overthrew Israel and dispersed its people.