Jonah Chapter 1

Yahweh sends Jonah to Nineveh

1 The word of Yahweh came to Jonah, son of Amit tai,

2 ¡°Go to Nine veh, the great city, and preach against it, because I have known its wickedness.¡±

3 But Jonah decided to flee from Yahweh and go to Tarshish. He went down to Jop pa, found a ship bound for Tarshish, and paid the fare. Then he boarded it and went into the hold of the ship, journeying with them to Tarshish, far away from Yahweh.

4 Yahweh stirred up a storm wind on the sea, so there was a sea tempest, which threatened to destroy the ship. Heb 27,18

5 The sailors took fright, and each cried out to his own god. To lighten the ship, they threw its cargo into the sea.

6 Meanwhile Jonah had gone into the hold of the ship, where he lay fast asleep. The captain came upon him and said, ¡°How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god. Perhaps he will be mindful of us and will not allow us to die here.¡±

7 The sailors said to each other, ¡°Let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this disaster.¡± So they did, and the lot fell on Jonah.

8 They questioned him, ¡°So you are responsible for this evil that has come upon us? Tell us where you are from. What is your country, your nationality?¡±

9 And Jonah told them his story, ¡°I am a Hebrew and I worship Yahweh, God of heaven who made the sea and the land¡­.¡±

10 As they knew that he was fleeing from Yahweh, the sailors were seized with great fear and said to him, ¡°What a terrible thing have you done!¡±

11 ¡°What shall we do with you now to make the sea calm down?¡± The sea was gro wing more and more agitated.

12 He said to them, ¡°Pick me up and throw me into the sea. It will quiet down, for I know it is because of me that this storm has come.¡±

13 The sailors, however, still did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea had grown much rougher than before.

14 Then they called on Yahweh, ¡°O Yah weh, do not let us perish for taking this man¡¯s life. Do not hold us guilty of shedding innocent blood. For you, Yahweh, have done this as you have thought right.¡±

15 They took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm again.

16 At this the men were seized with great fear of Yahweh. They offered a sacrifice to Yahweh and made vows to him.


Comments Jonah, Chapter 1

• 1.1 Jonah refuses to obey the call from Yahweh: perhaps because he does not feel responsible for the salvation of the hated Ninevites. He is asleep while the sailors, good pagans, are trying to save the boat. (Though this is not a religious work, it does interest the pious Jonah too.) Jonah delights in thinking about the punishment that God is going to inflict on the pagans of Nineveh. He complains of God¡¯s mer cy toward the Ninevites, because his own reputation will suffer from this.

God guides the world according to a broad and generous vision. Because he created everyone, he feels responsible for everyone and wants to save humans and cattle (4:11) regardless of their race or religion. The story of Jonah soon became popular, and Jesus would mention it:

¨C The Ninevites¡¯ conversion (Lk 11:30).

¨C The comparison with the three days that Jonah spent in the fish¡¯s belly (Mt 12:40).