God Calls and Jonah Runs
1The Lord spoke his word to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do.”
3But Jonah got up to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish. He went to the city of Joppa, where he found a ship that was going to the city of Tarshish. Jonah paid for the trip and went aboard, planning to go to Tarshish to run away from the Lord.
4But the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, which made the sea so stormy that the ship was in danger of breaking apart. 5The sailors were afraid, and each man cried to his own god. They began throwing the cargo from the ship into the sea to make the ship lighter.
But Jonah had gone down far inside the ship to lie down, and he fell fast asleep. 6The captain of the ship came and said, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray to your god! Maybe your god will pay attention to us, and we won’t die!”
7Then the men said to each other, “Let’s throw lots to see who caused these troubles to happen to us.”
When they threw lots, the lot showed that the trouble had happened because of Jonah. 8Then they said to him, “Tell us, who caused our trouble? What is your job? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?”
9Then Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew. I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10The men were very afraid, and they asked Jonah, “What terrible thing did you do?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord because he had told them.)
11Since the wind and the waves of the sea were becoming much stronger, they said to him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12Jonah said to them, “Pick me up, and throw me into the sea, and then it will calm down. I know it is my fault that this great storm has come on you.”
13Instead, the men tried to row the ship back to the land, but they could not, because the sea was becoming more stormy.
14So the men cried to the Lord, “Lord, please don’t let us die because of this man’s life; please don’t think we are guilty of killing an innocent person. Lord, you have caused all this to happen; you wanted it this way.” 15So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea became calm. 16Then they began to fear the Lord very much; they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made promises to him.
17The Lord caused a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.