The Book of Jonah
Jonah 1:1 – 4:11; Micah 7:18 – 7:20
HaShem told Jonah the son of Amittai, to go to the great city of Nineveh, and make my thoughts known because their evil ways are known to me.
But Jonah fled from HaShem’s presence to Tarshish. He went down to Jaffa and found a ship bound for Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went aboard into it, to go with them to Tarshish.
But HaShem made a heavy storm at sea and the ship was about to break up.
Then the sailors were frightened, and every man prayed; they threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea in order to lighten it for them.
But Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship; and was lying fast asleep.
So the captain came and said to him, “What are you doing at a time sleeping like this? Get up and pray to HaShem and maybe he will spare us.”
Then they said to one another, “Let’s cast lots. That might tell us who brought the evil storm.”
They cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us, now, on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? To what people do you belong?”
He said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear HaShem, the Lord of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
Then the men were terribly frightened, and said to him, “What have you done?” For the men knew that he had fled from HaShem’s presence, because he had told them.
Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, so that the sea may calm down for us.”
He replied, “Pick me up, and throw me into the sea; so that the sea will calm down for you; for I know that this great storm is upon you because of me.”
Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to bring the ship back to land; but they could not; for the sea grew more and more stormy against them.
Therefore they cried to HaShem, and said, “We beg You, HaShem, don’t let us perish because of this man, and do not let us be guilty of shedding innocent blood.”
So they picked up Jonah, and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased its raging. Now HaShem had prepared a big fish to swallow up Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Then Jonah prayed to HaShem from the fish’s belly. And said, “I cried to You out of my distress, and You answered me; from inside the grave I cried, and You heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the midst of the seas; and the flood rolled around me; all Your billows and Your waves swept over me. I am cast from Your presence; yet I will look again upon Your holy Temple.
The waters surrounded me, even to the soul; the depth rolled around me, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the roots of the mountains; the earth with its bars was about me forever; yet You have brought up my life from the grave. When I fainted I remembered You; and my prayer reached You, in Your Holy Temple. Those who revere vain idols forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed.”
Then HaShem spoke to the fish, and it spit out Jonah out upon the dry land. Then HaShem’s word came to Jonah the second time, ”
Go to the great city of Nineveh, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”
So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to HaShem’s word. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city of three days’ journey.
Jonah began to enter the city one day’s journey, proclaiming, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”
So the people of Nineveh believed HaShem; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, great and small alike. When word came to the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, dressed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he issued a proclamation and published it throughout Nineveh by a decree of the king and his nobles, saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed or drink water.
But let man and beast put on sackcloth, and cry mightily to HaShem. Let everyone turn from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows, HaShem may repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, and we will not perish.”
When HaShem saw their deeds, how they turned from their evil ways, HaShem repented of the evil that He had said He would do to them, and He did not do it.
But Jonah was very angry about this. He prayed to HaShem, “Please HaShem was this not what I said, when I was yet in my country? This is why I fled to Tarshish; for I knew that You are a gracious and merciful G-d, slow to anger, of great kindness, and relenting of evil. I beg You, take my life from me for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Then HaShem said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”
So Jonah went out of the city, and sat to its east side waiting to see what would become of the city.
Then HaShem prepared a gourd, and made grow up over Jonah, so that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly pleased with the gourd.
But when dawn came the next day, HaShem prepared a worm, and it struck the gourd so that it withered. Then at sunrise, HaShem prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, so that he fainted, and wished to die, saying, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
Then HaShem said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry over the gourd?” He said, “I am very angry, even to death.”
Then HaShem said: “You had pity on the gourd, for which you did not labor, or make grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night. Why shouldn’t I have pity on the Nineveh where there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who need guidance from me?”
Who is a G-d like You, who pardons iniquity, and passes over the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.
He will again have compassion on us; He will subdue our iniquities; and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob, and mercy to Abraham, which you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.