To clarify, I'm not asking who the King of Nineveh in Sefer Yonah was. I'm simply wondering why he's unnamed (see Yonah 3:6-7). He was probably some sort of Assyrian ruler, and several of those were named in Tanach. Why is the one in Yonah unnamed?

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    Because it doesn't matter? Similarly, why wasn't the ship captain named?
    – Double AA
    Oct 9, 2022 at 13:37
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    @DoubleAA I think it does matter. This isn't just any "goyishe" city, this the capital of the empire that ruled the Kingdom of Israel at the time. Does that not bear some significance in understanding why Yonah was so against going there? בדיעבד, perhaps a better question would have been why the importance of Ninenveh seems to be downplayed in the book - presented as a city-state in the middle of nowhere (Yonah can't find shade outside of the city...) ruled by a nameless king?
    – Harel13
    Oct 9, 2022 at 13:45
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    If he would of been commanded to go to the king and say the prophecy, I would understand why the name would be relevant. However, he gave his prophecy directly to the people. The king only heard about it second hand. He was entirely irrelevant to the story. He did make an edict to fast etc but chazal tell us that the real thing was the Teshuva not the fasting, so he was really mostly irrelevant to the story. His name is therefore not mentioned
    – Chatzkel
    Oct 9, 2022 at 14:43
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    In the context of the story the fact that he was king was and did Teshuva and instructed the people how to do so important. Historical information like his name was not and would have detracted from the main message of the story.
    – Schmerel
    Oct 9, 2022 at 15:06
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    @DoubleAA -- Is there a study somewhere of why some people in Tanach are named and others not? If "it doesn't matter", one must explain why in cases the person is named it does matter. Oct 9, 2022 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


Every single letter in Torah teaches us something. There was nothing to be gained by noting the name of anyone left unnamed, and if there was something to be gained but not in the way of the possuk, the midrash might.


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