The Children's Bible
Jonah The Narrow-minded Patriot
his 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 land.
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?"