From the Greek Septuagint text as used by First Century Christians.
Though this Bible book tells of something that happened somewhere around the mid-8th Century BCE;
note that it is a third-person account, so it may have been written by another person (possibly the Scribe Ezra) at a later date.
Here we read of a prophecy that was spoken against the Assyrian City of Nineveh, which is also a moral lesson.
Is it a true story?
Well, Jesus spoke of the trials of Jonah, as recorded at 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 Amathi), and said:
2 ‘Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh and make this proclamation against it; for, cries of their evil have reached up to Me.’

3 However, Jonah got up and decided to flee from the face of Jehovah [all the way] to Tharsis. For he went down to Joppa and there he found a boat that was sailing to Tharsis, then 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 fallen asleep, and then 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 down upon them. They also asked what he did for a living and where he came 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 heavens… I worship the One that 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 they 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 sea… 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 land… 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 sea… 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 Well, from from the belly of the sea creature, Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God, 2 saying this:

‘In my affliction, I called out to You,
O Jehovah, my God,
And You paid attention to me.
I’ve called 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 sea…
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 eyes…
Won’t I see Your Holy Temple again?

5 ‘But the waters were rolling around me,
And then, they entered my soul
By the deep, I was encircled,
And my head went under the water.

6 ‘I went down between mountain fissures…
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 noticed [my bad situation];
For my prayers had ascended to You…
Yes, to You in Your Holy Temple!

8 ‘Some pay attention to things that are foolish,
While others will listen to lies…
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.
For I’ll do everything 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

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 sheep… they may not eat or drink anything at all! 8 They must each wrap themselves and their cattle in sackcloth as they all fervently call out to God! Also, every man must 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 So now, O Master and Lord; please kill me… for it would be better for me to die than to go on living!’

4 And the Lord asked:
‘Has this [really] grieved you that much?’

5 Well thereafter, Jonah left the city and sat down in front of it… he erected a shelter and just sat there, staring at it.

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 But 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 also 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 tenderly… you nourished it and worked hard over it, though it grew up in a single night, and before the next evening it was gone. 11 So, shouldn’t I spare this great city where a hundred and twenty thousand people now live that don’t know their right hands from their left… along with all of their cattle?’

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