1 Now the word of the Lord came to [a]Jonah son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to [b]Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet] and went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading places then known]. So he paid the appointed fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord [as His servant and minister].
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was a violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each man cried to his god; and they cast the goods that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came and said to him, What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call upon your God! Perhaps your God will give a thought to us so that we shall not perish.
7 And they each 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 on Jonah.
8 Then they said to him, Tell us, we pray you, on whose account has this evil come upon us? What is your occupation? Where did you come from? And what is your country and nationality?
9 And he said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, Who made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, What is this that you have done? For the men knew that he fled from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet and servant], because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may subside and be calm for us? For the sea became more and more [violently] tempestuous.
12 And [Jonah] said to them, Take me up and cast me into the sea; so shall the sea become calm for you, for I know that it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship to the land, but they could not, for the sea became more and more violent against them.
14 Therefore they cried to the Lord, We beseech You, O Lord, we beseech You, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.
15 So they took up Jonah and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
16 Then the men [reverently and worshipfully] feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17 Now the Lord had prepared and appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 1:1That Jonah was a historical character is evidenced beyond question by the reference to him in II Kings 14:25: “Jeroboam restored Israel’s border... according to the word of the Lord... which He spoke through His servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher.”
Jonah 1:2In spite of the fact that Nineveh is called a “great city” three times in the Old Testament (Gen. 10:11, 12; Jonah 1:2; 3:3) and once in the Apocrypha (Judith 1:1), skeptical Bible critics long believed the statement to be greatly exaggerated. When the walled city was first excavated, it was found to be less than nine miles in circumference. That sparked cynical claims that the author, Jonah, did not know what he was talking about. But the real author, the Holy Spirit, was being overlooked. Later excavations have revealed that Nineveh had many suburbs, three of which are mentioned along with Nineveh in Gen. 10:11, 12. One first-century writer (Diodorus of Sicily) justifiably says that Nineveh was a quadrangle measuring about sixty miles in circuit—a “great city” indeed.
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