Jonah was a prophet and he was the son of Amittai. In Jonah Chapter 1, God commanded him to go to Nineveh, a city that had grown very wicked. He wanted Jonah to preach against this city because of its wickedness. But Jonah did not want to do this and he decided he would run away from the Lord and flee to the city of Tarshish instead.
Jonah Flees to Tarshish
Jonah went to Joppa to find a ship that would take him to Tarshish. When he found a ship that was going his way, paid the fare and boarded the ship. But while he was on his way to Tarshish, God caused a storm over the ocean and the ship was endangered to the point where the crew believed it was going to break in two.
Blaming Jonah for the Storm
Terrified, the men threw some of the ship’s cargo overboard to lighten the load. Jonah, however, was below deck and asleep. He did not know what was going on. The captain went down to Jonah and woke him up. He told Jonah to call upon his God to save the ship. The crew, which did not know who or what sent this terrible storm, cast lots to figure out who had brought it on them. In the end, they determined that Jonah was to blame for the storm.
Jonah is Questioned
The crew demanded to know Jonah’s occupation and where he came from. Jonah simply told them that he was a Hebrew who feared God. The crew, now more terrified, asked him why he brought the storm upon them. They already knew that he had run away from God.
Jonah is Thrown Overboard
The crew did not know what to do to Jonah to stop the raging sea that was threatening their boat. Jonah told them to throw him overboard and the sea would grow calm again. He understood that the storm was his fault. The crew resisted this idea at first, but the sea was too rough. Finally they called out to Jonah’s God and begged to have their lives spared because they were innocent.
The crew finally cast Jonah overboard and the sea calmed down right away. As for the crew, they began to worship the God of Jonah and they made vows and sacrifices. God then sent a great whale to swallow Jonah. He lived inside this whale for three days and nights.
Jonah 1 (King James Version)
1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.