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The Lord sent this message to Jonah, the son of Amittai:

“Go to the great city of Nineveh, and give them this announcement from the Lord: ‘I am going to destroy you, for your wickedness rises before me; it smells to highest heaven.’”

But Jonah was afraid to go and ran away from the Lord. He went down to the seacoast, to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket, went on board, and climbed down into the dark hold of the ship to hide there from the Lord.

But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord flung a terrific wind over the sea, causing a great storm that threatened to send them to the bottom. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.

So the captain went down after him. “What do you mean,” he roared, “sleeping at a time like this? Get up and cry to your god, and see if he will have mercy on us and save us!”

Then the crew decided to draw straws to see which of them had offended the gods and caused this terrible storm; and Jonah drew the short one.

“What have you done,” they asked, “to bring this awful storm upon us? Who are you? What is your work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”

9-10 And he said, “I am a Jew;[a] I worship Jehovah, the God of heaven, who made the earth and sea.” Then he told them he was running away from the Lord.

The men were terribly frightened when they heard this. “Oh, why did you do it?” they shouted. 11 “What should we do to you to stop the storm?” For it was getting worse and worse.

12 “Throw me out into the sea,” he said, “and it will become calm again. For I know this terrible storm has come because of me.”

13 They tried harder to row the boat ashore, but couldn’t make it. The storm was too fierce to fight against. 14 Then they shouted out a prayer to Jehovah, Jonah’s God. “O Jehovah,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin, and don’t hold us responsible for his death, for it is not our fault—you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”

15 Then they picked up Jonah and threw him overboard into the raging sea—and the storm stopped!

16 The men stood there in awe before Jehovah, and they sacrificed to him and vowed to serve him.

17 Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.


  1. Jonah 1:9 I am a Jew, literally, “I am a Hebrew.”

Jonah Flees From the Lord

The word of the Lord came to Jonah(A) son of Amittai:(B) “Go to the great city of Nineveh(C) and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran(D) away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish(E). He went down to Joppa,(F) where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.(G)

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.(H) All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.(I)

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call(J) on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”(K)

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.”(L) They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.(M) So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord,(N) the God of heaven,(O) who made the sea(P) and the dry land.(Q)

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”(R)

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.(S) 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man,(T) for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.”(U) 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.(V) 16 At this the men greatly feared(W) the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows(X) to him.

Jonah’s Prayer

17 Now the Lord provided(Y) a huge fish to swallow Jonah,(Z) and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.