A general repentance is immediately commanded by the authorities, in view of which God relents and spares the wicked city. He expostulates with the Lord, and declares that it was in anticipation of this result that on the former occasion he had wished to flee to Tharsis.
He withdraws from Ninive and, under a booth which he has erected, he awaits the destiny of the city.
The Jews asked for a real miracle ; Christ would have deceived them had He presented a mere fancy .
He argues clearly that just as Jonah was in the whale's belly three days and three nights even so He will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.
Such is the very strongest argument that Catholics offer for the firm stand they take upon the ground of the fact-narrative of the story of Jonah. The Authority of the Fathers Not a single Father has ever been cited in favor of the opinion that Jonah is a fancy-tale and no fact-narrative at all.
To the Fathers Jonah was a fact and a type of the Messias, just such a one as Christ presented to the Jews.
And behold a greater than Jonah here" ( Matthew -1 ; 16:4 ; Luke -32 ).
Finally, Christ makes no distinction between the story of the Queen of Sheba and that of Jonah (see Matthew ).
He sets the very same historical value upon the Book of Jonah as upon the Third Book of Kings.
The name is usually taken to mean "dove", but in view of the complaining words of the Prophet ( Jonah 4 ), it is not unlikely that the name is derived from the root Yanah = to mourn, with the signification dolens or "complaining". In the opening verse it is stated that "the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amathi, saying: Arise and go to Ninive, the great city, and preach in it: for the wickedness thereof is come up before me." But the Prophet, instead of obeying the Divine command, "rose up to flee into Tharsis from the face of the Lord" that he might escape the task assigned to him.
This last is but a paraphrastic rendering of the name Gath-Hepher, a town in the territory of Zabulon (Josephus, "Antiq.", XIX, xiii), which was probably the birthplace of the Prophet, and where his grave was still pointed out in the time of St. The chief interest in the Prophet Jonah centres around two remarkable incidents narrated in the book which bears his name.
In the works of some recent Catholic writers there is a leaning to regard the book as fiction.