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And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

3:4 Nineveh shall be overthrown. Jonah was evidently a powerful and compelling preacher, and the Ninevite Assyrians were not yet as hardened in their wickedness as they would eventually become. Not only the people but the king (possibly “governor,” since Nineveh was not yet the capital) were brought to repentance. Eventually, Nineveh would indeed be “overthrown,” but God spared her for a season at this time.

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