The passage from Nahum and the story of Nineveh, along with the conflict between Assyria and Israel, offer valuable insights into the possible reasons for Jonah’s decision not to go to Nineveh but to flee to Tarshish.
Nineveh was undoubtedly a powerful and magnificent city, but it was also seen as a symbol of corruption, cruelty, and sin. The relationship between Assyria and Israel was characterized by conflicts and threats. The Assyrians were feared enemies, and their brutality and cruelty towards their opponents are well-documented. These circumstances could have triggered significant fear in Jonah’s mind.
Jonah’s decision to flee to Tarshish might, therefore, have stemmed from a deep-rooted fear of the Assyrians and their capital, Nineveh. The idea of going to a city described as a “city of blood” and ruled by such a violent people could have filled Jonah’s heart with dread.
In today’s times, we can learn from Jonah’s experience that fear often hinders us from following God’s instructions. We may find ourselves in similar situations where we are afraid of challenges or tasks that God places before us. However, Jonah’s story reminds us that God is greater than our fears and that He can equip us with the strength and courage we need to fulfill His will.
When we look back on experiences in which we followed God’s call despite our fears, we can learn that God is faithful and strengthens us in our weaknesses. It reminds us that trust and obedience to God’s guidance often lead to amazing and blessed outcomes.