Jonah

From the Greek Septuagint text as was used by First Century Christians.
This book was likely written in the mid-8th Century BCE. And though it is a prophecy against the Assyrian City of Nineveh, it is also a moral lesson.
Is it a true story? Jesus spoke of the trials of Jonah in Matthew 12:39-41, so we can safely assume that these things really happened.

Chapter 1

1 The Word of Jehovah came to Jonah (the son of AmitTai), and said:
2 'Get up and go to Nineveh (the great city),
And give them this proclamation;
For, cries of their evil have reached me.'

3 However, Jonah got up and decided to flee from the face of the Lord, [all the way] to Tharsis. For he went down to Joppa and there he found a boat that was sailing to Tharsis. So he paid his fare, boarded, and preceded to sail away from the face of Jehovah.

4 But then Jehovah raised a wind over the sea that created huge swells, and [soon] the boat was in danger of breaking up. 5 Of course, this made the sailors so fearful that they each started yelling out to their own gods, and they started throwing things into the sea to lighten the load. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the ship's hold and went to sleep, and he started snoring. 6 So the ship's captain went down to him and said, 'Why are you [just lying there] snoring? Get up and call to your God so He'll save us and we won't be destroyed!'

7 Well at that, each man started saying to his companion: 'Come, let's throw lots so we can determine the reason why this evil has befallen us!' So they threw lots, and the lot fell to Jonah. 8 And they asked him if he knew the reason why this evil had come upon them. They also asked what did for a living and where he came from from (what kind of place and what kind of people). 9 Then he told them: 'I am a servant of Jehovah, the God of the heavensÉ I worship the One who made the seas and the dry land.'

10 Well at that, the men became very fearful and they asked him what he had done (because the men realized that he was running away). So he explained [to them all that had happened].

11 Then they asked him: 'So, what must we do to you in order to calm the sea?' And just as they asked this, the sea rose in a great swell.

12 So Jonah told them: 'Just pick me up and throw me into the seaÉ then it will become calm for you. For I know that it's because of me that these great swells have come upon you.'

13 Nevertheless, the men pressed on and they tried to reach landÉ but they were unable, for the sea [kept pushing] against them. 14 So they called out to Jehovah and said: 'Please don't destroy us over the life of this man, because we don't want the blood of the righteous held against us! But for You, O Lord, we'll do whatever You wish.'

15 So then they took Jonah and threw him into the seaÉ and suddenly the sea became still and stopped tossing about. 16 As the result, the men became very fearful of Jehovah, and they made vows to Him and offered sacrifices to Him.

17 Then Jehovah ordered a great sea creature to swallow Jonah, and he stayed in its belly for three days and three nights.

Chapter 2

1 There, Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God from the belly of the sea creature, 2 saying this:

'In my affliction, I called out to You,
O Jehovah, my God,
And You paid attention to me.
I cried from the belly of the place of the dead,
And from there, You listened to my voice!

3 'You threw me into the heart of the seaÉ
Yes, into the depths of its waters,
And by the sea, I was covered.

'Then I asked, as their waves and crests poured upon me,
4 Have I been pushed away from Your eyesÉ
Will I not see Your Holy Temple again?

5 'But the waters were rolling around me,
And they entered the person I am from withinÉ
By the deep, I had been encircled,
And my head went under the water.

6 'I went down between mountain fissuresÉ
Through the earth and its bars of the ages.
And I said, O Jehovah, my God;
Let my soul rise above this corruption!

7 'Then, as my life was reaching [its end],
You remembered [my bad situation];
For my prayers had ascended to YouÉ
They had reached to You in Your Holy Temple!

8 'Some pay attention to things that are foolish,
While others will listen to liesÉ
For they've given up on Your mercy.
9 But, with my voice, I will praise You,
And I'm offering [this song] as my sacrifice.
I will do all that I've promised
If you will just save me, Jehovah!'

10 And at that, the Lord gave orders to the large sea creature, and it vomited Jonah out on dry land.

Chapter 3

1 Well thereafter, The Word of Jehovah came to Jonah a second time and said:
2 'Now, you must get up and travel
To the great city of Nineveh,
And proclaim my words over it,
Just as I told you before!'

3 So Jonah got up, and for the next three days he traveled to Nineveh, just as the Lord had told him (for God considered Nineveh to be a great city). 4 Then when Jonah arrived at the city, he spent [a full] day traveling through it proclaiming, 'In just three days, Nineveh will be wiped away!'

5 Well, because the men of Nineveh believed in God, they called for a fast and for everyone (from the least to the greatest) to wear sackcloth. 6 And when [Jonah's] words reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, removed all of his clothes and put on sackcloth, and then he sat in ashes.

7 Thereafter, the king and his great men also sent a proclamation throughout Nineveh, that said: 'The people may not eat anything, [nor may they feed] their cattle, oxen, or sheepÉ they may not eat or drink anything at all! 8 They are all to wrap themselves and their cattle in sackcloth as they all fervently call out to God! Each man must also turn from his wicked ways and from the sins of his hands and say, 9 Who knows if God will change His mind and turn from the anger of His rage, so that we will not perish?'

10 Well, when God saw what they were doing and that they had turned from their wicked ways, He changed His mind over the evil things that He said He would do to them, and He didn't do anything.

Chapter 4

1 However, Jonah was very upset and confused by this, 2 so he prayed to Jehovah and said: 'O Lord; Wasn't this the same thing that I said [would happen] when I was back in my own land? It was because of something like this that I thought about fleeing to Tharsis! For I knew that because You are kind, sympathetic, lenient, and full of mercy, You'd change Your mind about doing such evil.

3 'And now, O Master and Lord; please end my lifeÉ it's better for me to die than to live!'

4 And Jehovah asked: 'Has this [really] grieved you so much?'

5 Then Jonah left the city and sat down in front of itÉ he put up a shelter and sat there, staring at the city.

6 Then Jehovah God provided a gourd [plant] that grew up over Jonah's head to shade him during this bad [time]. And Jonah became very happy and joyful over the gourd [plant]. 7 Then early the next morning, God sent a worm that killed the [plant] and dried it up. 8 And just as the sun was rising, God sent a burning wind, which (along with the sun) burned Jonah's head. So he became discouraged to the point where he wanted to just resign from life. For he said, 'It's better for me to die than to live!'

9 Then God asked Jonah: 'Are you [really] that grieved over the gourd [plant]?'

And he replied: 'Yes, I'm grieved to the point of death!'

10 And the Lord said:
'You treated that plant so tenderlyÉ
You nourished and worked hard over itÉ
Though it just grew up in one night,
And it perished before the next evening.

11 'So, shouldn't I spare this great city
Where a hundred and twenty thousand now dwell
(Who don't know their right hands from their left),
Along with all of their cattle?'

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