noun \ˈjō-nə, 3 is also -nər\

Definition of JONAH

:  an Israelite prophet who according to the account in the book of Jonah resisted a divine call to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, was swallowed and vomited by a great fish, and eventually carried out his mission
:  a narrative book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture — see bible table
:  one believed to bring bad luck

Origin of JONAH

Hebrew Yōnāh
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with JONAH


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

(fl. c. 785 BC) One of the 12 Minor Prophets in the Old Testament, whose story is told in the book of Jonah. (His narrative is part of a larger book, The Twelve, in the Jewish canon, and he is first mentioned in the book of Kings.) God orders Jonah to prophesy against the wickedness of Nineveh, but Jonah refuses to believe that the people of this hated foreign city deserve salvation, and he sails away on a ship in the opposite direction. When a great storm threatens to destroy the ship, he confesses his fault and asks the crew to throw him overboard. A great fish swallows him, but he prays for deliverance and the fish spews him out on dry ground. He goes on to Nineveh and preaches God's message; its sinful people repent and are saved by God. Jonah is angered over the salvation of the Ninevites and hopes that the city will be destroyed, for which God rebukes him. The book, which opposes the narrow Jewish nationalism of the time, was probably written in the 5th or 4th century BC.


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