Jonah The Narrow-minded Patriot
This message from Jehovah came to Jonah, the son of Amittai: "Arise, go
to that great city, Nineveh, and preach against it; for their wickedness
is known to me." But Jonah started to flee to Tarshish from the presence
of Jehovah. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So
he paid the fare and went aboard to go with them to Tarshish from the
presence of Jehovah.
But Jehovah made a furious
wind blow over the sea, and there was such a
great storm that the ship was in danger of breaking to pieces. Then the
sailors were afraid and each cried for help to his own god. They threw
into the sea the things that were in the ship, in order to make it
lighter. But Jonah had gone down into the bottom of the ship and lay
fast asleep. Then the captain of the ship went and said to him, "How is
it that you are asleep? Call on your god; perhaps that god will think of
us, so that we may not be lost."
And they said to one another, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know
on whose account this evil has come upon us." So they cast lots, and the
lot fell upon Jonah. Then they said to him, "Tell us, what is your
business, and where do you come from? What is your country and to what
race do you belong?" He said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and a worshipper
of Jehovah, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." Then
the men were greatly frightened and said to him, "What is this you have
done?" For they knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Jehovah,
because he had told them.
Then they said to him, "What shall we do to you, that the sea may be
calm for us?" for the sea grew more and more stormy. He said to them,
"Take me up and throw me into the sea, and the sea will be calm for you,
for I know that on account of me this great storm has overtaken you."
But the men rowed hard to get back to the land; they could not, however,
for the sea grew more and more stormy ahead.
Therefore they cried to Jehovah and said, "We pray thee, O Jehovah, we
pray thee, let us not die for this man's life, nor let us be guilty of
shedding innocent blood, for thou art Jehovah; thou hast done as it
pleases thee." So they took up Jonah, and threw him into the sea; and
the sea became calm. Then the men greatly feared Jehovah, and they
offered a sacrifice and made promises to him.
But Jehovah prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside
the fish three days and three nights. There Jonah prayed to Jehovah his
God; and Jehovah spoke to the fish, and it threw Jonah out upon the dry
This message from Jehovah came to Jonah the second time, "Arise, go to
that great city, Nineveh, and give to it the message that I tell you."
So Jonah started for Nineveh, as Jehovah commanded. Now Nineveh was so
large a city, that it took three days' journey to cross it. And Jonah
began by going through the city a day's journey, and he said, "Forty
days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
And the people of Nineveh believed God; and they ordered a fast and put
on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. And when word came
to the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his robe,
dressed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he gave this order: "By the
order of the king and his nobles: Man, beast, herd, and flock shall not
taste anything; let them not eat nor drink water. Let both man and beast
put on sackcloth and let them cry earnestly to God; let them turn each
from his evil way and from the deeds of violence which they are doing.
Who knows but God may be sorry for us and turn away his fierce anger,
that we may not die."
When God saw that they turned from their evil way, he was sorry for the
evil which he said he would do to them, and did not do it.
But this displeased Jonah very much and he was angry. And he prayed to
Jehovah and said, "Ah, Jehovah, was not this what I said when I was
still in my own country? That was why I fled at once to Tarshish; for I
knew that thou art a God, gracious and merciful, patient, and loving and
ready to forgive. Therefore, O Jehovah, take now, I beg of thee, my life
from me; for it is better for me to die than to live!" But Jehovah said,
"Are you doing right in being angry?"
Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down on the east side, and there
made a hut for himself and sat under it, until he might see what would
become of the city. And Jehovah prepared a gourd and made it grow up
over Jonah as a shade for his head. So the gourd gave Jonah great
pleasure; but at dawn the next day God prepared a worm which injured the
gourd, so that it wilted. And when the sun rose, God prepared a hot east
wind. And the sun beat upon Jonah's head, so that he was faint and
begged that he might die, saying, "It is better for me to die than to
live." But God said to Jonah, "Are you doing right in being angry about
the gourd?" He replied, "It is well for one to be angry, even to death!"
Jehovah said, "You care for a gourd which has cost you no trouble and
which you have not made grow, which came up in a night and wilted in a
night. Should I not care for the great city Nineveh, in which there are
one hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand
from their left; besides much cattle?"