Jonah (jōˈnə) [key], prophetic book of the Bible. It tells the story of a prophet called by God to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. According to the Second Book of Kings, Jonah lived during the reign (c.786 B.C.–c.746 B.C.) of Jeroboam II. In the story, Jonah flees because he does not want Nineveh to be spared and knows that God is likely to forgive its people if they repent. The book summons post-exilic Israel not to forget God's intention to bless the world through God's people. Allusions to the story occur in the New Testament, where it serves to prefigure the resurrection of Jesus.
See studies by L. C. Allen (1978), D. Stuart (1987), and J. M. Sasson (1990). See also bibliography under Old Testament.