Malbim, short for Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michel, was a Jewish rabbi who lived from 1809-1879. Malbim was one of the first Jewish commentators to comment on the whole Old Testament since the Middle Ages.
While Malbim’s comments on why Jonah fled from God’s command to prophesy against Nineveh shares similarities with previous commentators in Steven Bob’s book Go to Nineveh: Medieval Jewish Commentaries on the Book of Jonah, there was one element present that I had not previously found. Malbim writes,
So that they will return in repentance. The mission was not for the benefit of Nineveh. For we have not found another case in which the Eternal sent a prophet from Israel to cause idolaters to return in repentance. It certainly is not the intention of the Eternal to send prophets only to Israel. Rather God’s concern for Nineveh is really out of concern for Israel
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