6.6 Jonah -- the Runaway Prophet

The first prophetic book we shall explore is also one of the oldest, the Book of Jonah.  This is an intriguing book in two ways: for one thing its message is unique, unlike any other prophetic book.  For another, it gives us a character study of the prophet himself.  Jonah appears as a disgruntled misanthrope.  He and Elisha, who set the bears on boys who mocked him (2 Kings 2:23-25), were cut from the same cloth.   Nevertheless, there are important racial teachings in his message.

        

Jonah prophesied sometime during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753).  This king of Israel, otherwise evil, was militarily successful against Aram, and extended Israel's boundaries (2 Kings 14:25).  It was only a temporary respite for Israel, however, since Israel was annihilated by Assyria in 722.  However, the words of Jonah foretelling Jeroboam's success have been lost.