Main point summary
Because Nineveh was an important city to the Lord, Jonah preached against it, and God turned from destroying the Ninevites when they repented.
Jonah 3 (Jan. 18/19)
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
“Arise, go to l Nineveh, that great city,
and call out against it the message
that I tell you.”
So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh,
according to the word of the Lord .
Now l Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, 1
three days’ journey in breadth. 2
Jonah began to go into the city,
going a day’s journey.
And he called out,
“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
m And the people of Nineveh believed God.
n They called for a fast
and o put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
The word reached 1 the king of Nineveh,
and p he arose from his throne,
removed his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth,
q and sat in ashes.
And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh,
r “By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Let neither man nor s beast, herd nor flock, taste anything.
Let them not feed or drink water,
but let man and s beast be covered with sackcloth,
and let them call out mightily to God.
t Let everyone turn from his evil way
and from u the violence that is in his hands.
v Who knows?
God may turn and relent
w and turn from his fierce anger,
so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did,
x how they turned from their evil way,
x God relented of the disaster
that he had said he would do to them,
and he did not do it.
Nineveh was a huge and important city to the Lord.
See footnote 1 in the ESV of Jonah 3:3 for the city being important to God.
Jonah entered Nineveh and preached that it would be destroyed in 40 days.
The Ninevites believed God, so they all mourned.
The king commanded everyone to fast, cry out to God, and repent, because he hoped God would repent and thus not destroy them.
When God saw that the Ninevites turned from their sin, he turned from destroying them.
When Jonah preached, the Ninevites turned from their sin, and God turned from destroying them.
The king of Nineveh mourned too, and commanded everyone to repent, so that God wouldn't destroy them.
When Jonah prophesied Nineveh's destruction, the Ninevites repented because they didn't want God to destroy them.
The Lord told Jonah to go preach against Nineveh, so he obeyed.