Did God destroy Nineveh or not?

  1. God will destroy Nineveh (Jonah 3:4) - "Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."
  2. God won't destroy Nineveh (Jonah 3:10) -  "When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it."

The solution to this apparent contradiction is very simple.  When we examine the Bible, we must look at all of what it says on a subject.  If we focus on a small area we will not have the full picture and cannot see the answer that is so often before us.  God says in Jeremiah 18:8, "if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it."  We see that the Lord has said He will not bring judgment if that nation turns from its sin.  Nineveh did turn from its sin after Jonah gave them the warning from God.

"Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. 6When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes. 7And he issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8"But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9"Who knows, God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?" (Jonah 3:5-9).

Therefore, we that because Nineveh repented, God turned from the destruction He had earlier declared.


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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.