At this time another prophet, named Jonah, was giving the word of the Lord to the Israelites. To Jonah the Lord spoke, saying:
At this time another prophet, named Jonah, was giving the word of the Lord to the Israelites. To Jonah the Lord spoke, saying: He wished Nineveh to die in its sins, and not to turn to God and live. So Jonah tried to go away from the city where God had sent him.
He went down to Joppa and took a ship for Tarshish. But the Lord saw Jonah on the ship; and the Lord sent a great storm upon the sea, so that the ship seemed as though it would go to pieces. The sailors threw overboard everything on the ship; and when they could do no more, every man prayed to his god to save the ship and themselves. Jonah was now lying fast asleep, and the ship's captain came to him, and said: Awake, rise up, and call upon your God. Perhaps He will hear you and save our lives.
Let us cast lots and find who it is. They said to him, all at once: From what country do you come? What is your business? To what people do you belong? Why have you brought all this trouble upon us? And they said to him: They rowed hard to bring the ship to the land, but they could not.
Then they cried unto the Lord, and said: At once the storm ceased, and the waves became still. Then the men on the ship feared the Lord greatly. They offered a sacrifice to the Lord, and made promises to serve him. And the Lord caused a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was alive within the fish for three days and three nights.
In the fish Jonah cried to the Lord; and the Lord caused the great fish to throw up Jonah upon the dry land. Notice all through this story that, although Jonah was God's servant, he was always thinking about himself. God protected Jonah and saved him, not because he was such a good man, but because he wanted to teach him a great lesson. By this time Jonah had learned that some men who worshipped idols were kind in their hearts, and were dear to the Lord.
This was the lesson that God meant Jonah to learn; and now the call of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: They turned away from their sins and fasted and sought the Lord, from the greatest of them even to the least.
The king of Nineveh arose from his throne, and laid aside his royal robes, and covered himself with sack-cloth and sat in ashes, as a sign of his sorrow. And the king sent out a command to his people that they should fast, and seek the Lord, and turn from sin. To shade Jonah from the sun] And God saw that the people of Nineveh were sorry for their wickedness, and he forgave them, and did not destroy their city.
But this made Jonah very angry. He did not wish to have Nineveh spared, because it was the enemy of his own land; and also he feared that men would call him a false prophet when his word did not come to pass. And Jonah said to the Lord: Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. Then the Lord caused a plant with thick leaves to grow up, and to shade Jonah from the sun; and Jonah was glad, and sat under its shadow. But a worm destroyed the plant; and the next day a hot wind blew, and Jonah suffered from the heat; and again Jonah wished that he might die.
And the Lord said to Jonah: And should not I have pity on Nineveh, that great city, where are more than a hundred thousand little children, and also many cattle, -- all helpless and knowing nothing?
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He went down to Joppa, 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.