New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Jonah’s Obedience and the Ninevites’ Repentance. 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you. 3 So Jonah set out for Nineveh, in accord with the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an awesomely great city; it took three days to walk through it. 4 Jonah began his journey through the city, and when he had gone only a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” 5 the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small,[a] put on sackcloth.(A)
6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh:[b] “By decree of the king and his nobles, no man or beast, no cattle or sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. 8 Man and beast alike must be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; they all must turn from their evil way and from the violence of their hands. 9 [c]Who knows? God may again repent and turn from his blazing wrath, so that we will not perish.”(B) 10 When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
- 3:5 Great and small: the contrast can refer to distinctions of social class (prominent citizens and the poor).
- 3:7–8 Fasting and wearing sackcloth are signs of human repentance; here they are legislated even for the animals—a humorous touch, perhaps anticipating 4:11.
- 3:9–10 Scripture frequently presents the Lord as repenting (or, changing his mind) of the evil that he threatens; e.g., Gn 6:6–7; Jer 18:8.
New International Version
Jonah Goes to Nineveh
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah(A) a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming,(B) “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.(C)
6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.(D) 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.(E) 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call(F) urgently on God. Let them give up(G) their evil ways(H) and their violence.(I) 9 Who knows?(J) God may yet relent(K) and with compassion turn(L) from his fierce anger(M) so that we will not perish.”