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Jonah 1-4Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Jonah’s Flight

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted[a] Me.” However, Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, from the Lord’s presence.

Then the Lord hurled a violent wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god. They threw the ship’s cargo into the sea to lighten the load. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel and had stretched out and fallen into a deep sleep.

The captain approached him and said, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up! Call to your god.[b] Maybe this god will consider us, and we won’t perish.”

“Come on!” the sailors said to each other. “Let’s cast lots. Then we’ll know who is to blame for this trouble we’re in.” So they cast lots, and the lot singled out Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business and where are you from? What is your country and what people are you from?”

He answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship[c] Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 Then the men were even more afraid and said to him, “What is this you’ve done?” The men knew he was fleeing from the Lord’s presence, because he had told them. 11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you to calm this sea that’s against us?” For the sea was getting worse and worse.

12 He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea[d] so it may quiet down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this violent storm that is against you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they couldn’t because the sea was raging against them more and more.

14 So they called out to the Lord: “Please, Yahweh, don’t let us perish because of this man’s life, and don’t charge us with innocent blood! For You, Yahweh, have done just as You pleased.” 15 Then they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16 The men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

17 [e]Now the Lord had appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in[f] the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah’s Prayer

Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside[g] the fish:

I called to the Lord in my distress,
and He answered me.
I cried out for help in the belly of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
You threw me into the depths,
into the heart of the seas,
and the current[h] overcame me.
All Your breakers and Your billows swept over me.
But I said: I have been banished
from Your sight,
yet I will look once more[i]
toward Your holy temple.
The waters engulfed me up to the neck;[j]
the watery depths overcame me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
I sank to the foundations of the mountains;
the earth with its prison bars closed behind me forever!
But You raised my life from the Pit, Lord my God!
As my life was fading away,
I remembered Yahweh.
My prayer came to You,
to Your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols
forsake faithful love,
but as for me, I will sacrifice to You
with a voice of thanksgiving.
I will fulfill what I have vowed.
Salvation[k] is from the Lord!

10 Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Jonah’s Preaching

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command.

Now Nineveh was an extremely large city,[l] a three-day walk.[m] Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!” The men of Nineveh believed in God.[n] They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least.

When word reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he issued a decree in Nineveh:

By order of the king and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, is to taste anything at all. They must not eat or drink water. Furthermore, both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth, and everyone must call out earnestly to God. Each must turn from his evil ways and from the violence[o] he is doing.[p] Who knows? God may turn and relent; He may turn from His burning anger so that we will not perish.

10 Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.

Jonah’s Anger

But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. He prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from sending disaster. And now, Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God appointed a plant,[q] and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort.[r] Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.

As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”

Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“Yes,” he replied. “It is right. I’m angry enough to die!”

10 So the Lord said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. 11 Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people[s] who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”

Footnotes:

  1. Jonah 1:2 Or has come up to
  2. Jonah 1:6 Or God
  3. Jonah 1:9 Or fear
  4. Jonah 1:12 Lit sea that’s against you
  5. Jonah 1:17 Jnh 2:1 in Hb
  6. Jonah 1:17 Lit in the belly of
  7. Jonah 2:1 Lit from the belly of
  8. Jonah 2:3 Lit river
  9. Jonah 2:4 LXX reads said: Indeed, will I look . . . ?
  10. Jonah 2:5 Or me, threatening my life
  11. Jonah 2:9 Or Deliverance
  12. Jonah 3:3 Or was a great city to God
  13. Jonah 3:3 Probably the time required to cover the city on foot
  14. Jonah 3:5 Or believed God
  15. Jonah 3:8 Or injustice
  16. Jonah 3:8 Lit violence in their hands
  17. Jonah 4:6 A castor-oil plant or a climbing gourd
  18. Jonah 4:6 Lit to deliver him from his evil
  19. Jonah 4:11 Or men

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