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 concerns a prophecy against the Assyrian City of Nineveh, it is less a prophecy and more a moral lesson.
Is it a true story? Jesus spoke of the trials of Jonah in Matthew 12:39-41, so we assume it to be true.

Chapter 1

1 The word of Jehovah came to Jonah (the son of AmitTai), saying:
2 'Get up and go to the great city Nineveh,
And there, deliver this proclamation;
For, cries of their evil have reached Me.'

3 But Jonah got up to flee from the face of Jehovah, to Tharsis. So he went down to Joppa and found a boat that was sailing to Tharsis, paid his fare, boarded, and preceded to sail away from the face of Jehovah, to Tharsis.

4 Then Jehovah raised a wind upon the sea that created huge swells, and [soon] the boat was in danger of breaking up. 5 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. However, Jonah just went down into the ship's hold, went to sleep, and started snoring.

6 Well, 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 Then each man started saying to his neighbor: '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 started asking him: '[Do you know] the reason why this evil has come upon us? What do you do for a livingÉ where have you come fromÉ 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 did you do' (because the men realized that he was running away)? So he explained [to them all that had happened].

11 Then they asked him: '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 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 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 never see Your Holy Temple again?

5 'But the water was rolling around me,
And then, it entered my soulÉ
By the deep, I was 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 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 offer [this song] as my sacrifice.
I'll do everything that I've promised,
If you will just save me, Jehovah!'

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

Chapter 3

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

3 So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, just as Jehovah had told him, which took him three days (for God considered Nineveh a great city). 4 Then when Jonah entered the city, he spent the 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 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 sheepÉ they may not eat or drink anything at all! 8 And the people are to wrap sackcloth around themselves and their cattle 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 that He said He would do to them, and He didn't do it.

Chapter 4

1 Well, 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, so he could just sit and stare 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 Jehovah 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 hand from their left),
Along with all of their cattle?'

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