December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
- "Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
- So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD'S bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it.
- 1 Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,"
- when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
- When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
- Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his nobles: "Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
- 2 Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand.
- Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish."
- When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
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1  Shall be destroyed: the Hebrew expression reminds the reader of the "overthrowing" of the wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, by a special act of God.
2  Beast . . . sackcloth: the animals carried the signs of this repentance, as on occasions of joy they bore garlands.
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