When Josephus mentions Jonah in Ant. Book 9 Sections 204-214, the storm is important while mention of the whale occur almost an afterthought. The sermon to the Ninevites is altered as well. It becomes a prophecy foretelling their loss of dominion over
The judgments threaten by the prophets are conditional; if sinners repent they will be saved. This is the teaching of Jeremiah, Joel and Jonah. Anyone reading about the Josephan Jonah would not know that Jonah had preached to the people of
Luke tells us that Jesus uses the repentance of
When there is repentance, there is joy in heaven. The Lucan Jesus in successive parables repeats this statement. Repentance means an end to sinning. When this happens there is joy beyond this earth. Matthew has a parable about a shepherd looking for a lost sheep and his joy in finding it. In Luke’s version of the story, Jesus says “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
The Jonah story is about the capability of God to complete his plan. Jonah and Jesus are both great preachers who are vindicated. The people of Ninevah repented; the people of
Jonah is also about unexpected reversals. In 2 Kings 14:25-27, God permits the expansion of the borders of
The Sign of Jonah is about repentance and eschatological reversals. Luke understood. Luke refers to the future reversal of social roles in the Magnificat at the beginning of his gospel. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is the final part of the unique Lucan triad, the parables having in common the theme of lost and found or recovered. For those who have studied the various implications, it is the story of the ultimate outcast, a person reduced in status to feeding pigs, expressed in the language of economics. Darrell Bock has said the message is that “absolute reversal results from repentance. . . .”
Josephus delivered a political message in his rewriting of the story of Jonah, not a religious message. He did so to undermine the use of story of Jonah by Luke to support the need for repentance and the inclusive views of Luke and Paul for those who do repent.
 Josephus does not deny the importance of repentance. Josephus rehabilitated Rehoboam and Ahab by depicting their sincere repentance.