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Jonah 1-4 King James Version (KJV)

Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly,

And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.

10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?

So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Jonah 1-4 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

God Calls and Jonah Runs

The Lord spoke his word to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it. I see the evil things they do.”

But Jonah got up to run away from the Lord. He went to the city of Joppa. There he found a ship that was going to the city of Tarshish. Jonah paid for the trip and went aboard. He wanted to go to Tarshish to run away from the Lord.

But the Lord sent a great wind on the sea. This wind made the sea very rough. So the ship was in danger of breaking apart. The sailors were afraid. Each man cried to his own god. The men began throwing the cargo into the sea. This would make the ship lighter so it would not sink.

But Jonah had gone down into the ship to lie down. He fell fast asleep. The captain of the ship came and said, “Why are you sleeping? Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe your god will pay attention to us. Maybe he will save us!”

Then the men said to each other, “Let’s throw lots to see who caused these troubles to happen to us.”

So the men threw lots. The lot showed that the trouble had happened because of Jonah. Then the men said to Jonah, “Tell us what you have done. Why has this terrible thing happened to us? What is your job? Where do you come from? What is your country? Who are your people?”

Then Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew. I fear the Lord, the God of heaven. He is the God who made the sea and the land.”

10 Then the men were very afraid. They asked Jonah, “What terrible thing did you do?” They knew Jonah was running away from the Lord because Jonah had told them.

11 The wind and the waves of the sea were becoming much stronger. So the men said to Jonah, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down?”

12 Jonah said to them, “Pick me up, and throw me into the sea. Then it will calm down. I know it is my fault that this great storm has come on you.”

13 Instead, the men tried to row the ship back to the land. But they could not. The wind and the waves of the sea were becoming much stronger.

Jonah’s Punishment

14 So the men cried to the Lord, “Lord, please don’t let us die because of taking this man’s life. Please don’t think we are guilty of killing an innocent man. Lord, you have caused all this to happen. You wanted it this way.” 15 Then the men picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea. So the sea became calm. 16 Then they began to fear the Lord very much. They offered a sacrifice to the Lord. They also made promises to him.

17 And the Lord caused a very big fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

While Jonah was in the stomach of the fish, he prayed to the Lord his God. Jonah said,

“I was in danger.
    So I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
I was about to die.
    So I cried to you,
    and you heard my voice.
You threw me into the sea.
    I went down, down into the deep sea.
The water was all around me.
    Your powerful waves flowed over me.
I said, ‘I was driven out of your presence.
    But I hope to see your Holy Temple again.’
The waters of the sea closed over me.
I was about to die.
The deep sea was all around me.
    Seaweed wrapped around my head.
I went down to where the mountains of the sea start to rise.
    I thought I was locked in this prison forever.
But you saved me from death,
    Lord my God.

“When my life had almost gone,
    I remembered the Lord.
Lord, I prayed to you.
    And you heard my prayers in your Holy Temple.

“People who worship useless idols
    give up their loyalty to you.
Lord, I will praise and thank you
    while I give sacrifices to you.
I will make promises to you.
    And I will do what I promise.
Salvation comes from the Lord!”

10 Then the Lord spoke to the fish. And the fish spit Jonah out of its stomach onto the dry land.

God Calls and Jonah Obeys

Then the Lord spoke his word to Jonah again. The Lord said, “Get up. Go to the great city Nineveh. Preach against it what I tell you.”

So Jonah obeyed the Lord. He got up and went to Nineveh. It was a very large city. It took a person three days just to walk across it. Jonah entered the city. When he had walked for one day, he preached to the people. He said, “After 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed!”

The people of Nineveh believed in God. They announced they would stop eating for a while. They put on rough cloth to show how sad they were. All the people in the city wore the cloth. People from the most important to the least important did this.

When the king of Nineveh heard this news, he got up from his throne. He took off his robe. He covered himself with rough cloth and sat in ashes to show how upset he was.

He made an announcement and sent it through the city. The announcement said:

By command of the king and his important men: No person or animal should eat anything. No herd or flock will be allowed to taste anything. Do not let them eat food or drink water. But every person and animal should be covered with rough cloth. People should cry loudly to God. Everyone must turn away from his evil life. Everyone must stop doing harm. Maybe God will change his mind. Maybe he will stop being angry. Then we will not die.

10 God saw what the people did. He saw that they stopped doing evil things. So God changed his mind and did not do what he had warned. He did not punish them.

God’s Mercy Makes Jonah Angry

But Jonah was very unhappy that God did not destroy the city. He was angry. He complained to the Lord and said, “I knew this would happen. I knew it when I was still in my own country. It is why I quickly ran away to Tarshish. I knew that you are a God who is kind and shows mercy. You don’t become angry quickly. You have great love. I knew you would rather forgive than punish them. So now I ask you, Lord, please kill me. It is better for me to die than to live.”

Then the Lord said, “Do you think it is right for you to be angry?”

Jonah went out and sat down east of the city. There he made a shelter for himself. And he sat there in the shade. He was waiting to see what would happen to the city. The Lord made a plant grow quickly up over Jonah. This made a cool place for him to sit. And it helped him to be more comfortable. Jonah was very pleased to have the plant for shade. The next day the sun rose. And God sent a worm to attack the plant. Then the plant died.

When the sun was high in the sky, God sent a hot east wind to blow. The sun became very hot on Jonah’s head. And he became very weak. He wished he were dead. Jonah said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

But God said this to Jonah: “Do you think it is right for you to be angry because of the plant?”

Jonah answered, “It is right for me to be angry! I will stay angry until I die!”

10 And the Lord said, “You showed concern for that plant. But you did not plant it or make it grow. It appeared in the night, and the next day it died. 11 Then surely I can show concern for the great city Nineveh. There are many animals in that city. And there are more than 120,000 people living there. Those people simply do not know right from wrong!”

International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

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