The Message

Jonah 1

Running Away from God

11-2 One day long ago, God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.”

But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get.

4-6 But God sent a huge storm at sea, the waves towering.

The ship was about to break into pieces. The sailors were terrified. They called out in desperation to their gods. They threw everything they were carrying overboard to lighten the ship. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship to take a nap. He was sound asleep. The captain came to him and said, “What’s this? Sleeping! Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe your god will see we’re in trouble and rescue us.”

Then the sailors said to one another, “Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s draw straws to identify the culprit on this ship who’s responsible for this disaster.”

So they drew straws. Jonah got the short straw.

Then they grilled him: “Confess. Why this disaster? What is your work? Where do you come from? What country? What family?”

He told them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship God, the God of heaven who made sea and land.”

10 At that, the men were frightened, really frightened, and said, “What on earth have you done!” As Jonah talked, the sailors realized that he was running away from God.

11 They said to him, “What are we going to do with you—to get rid of this storm?” By this time the sea was wild, totally out of control.

12 Jonah said, “Throw me overboard, into the sea. Then the storm will stop. It’s all my fault. I’m the cause of the storm. Get rid of me and you’ll get rid of the storm.”

13 But no. The men tried rowing back to shore. They made no headway. The storm only got worse and worse, wild and raging.

14 Then they prayed to God, “O God! Don’t let us drown because of this man’s life, and don’t blame us for his death. You are God. Do what you think is best.”

15 They took Jonah and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea was quieted down.

16 The sailors were impressed, no longer terrified by the sea, but in awe of God. They worshiped God, offered a sacrifice, and made vows.

17 Then God assigned a huge fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish’s belly three days and nights.

New International Reader's Version

Jonah 1

Jonah Runs Away From the Lord

1A message from the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai. The Lord said, “Go to the great city of Nineveh. Preach against it. The sins of its people have come to my attention.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord. He headed for Tarshish. So he went down to the port of Joppa. There he found a ship that was going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board. Then he sailed for Tarshish. He was running away from the Lord.

But the Lord sent a strong wind over the Mediterranean Sea. A wild storm came up. It was so wild that the ship was in danger of breaking apart. All the sailors were afraid. Each one cried out to his own god for help. They threw the ship’s contents into the sea. They were trying to make the ship lighter.

But Jonah had gone below deck. There he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went down to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call out to your god for help! Maybe he’ll pay attention to what’s happening to us. Then we won’t die.”

Here is what the sailors said to one another. “Someone is to blame for getting us into all this trouble. Come. Let’s cast lots to find out who it is.” So they did. And Jonah was picked. They asked him, “What terrible thing have you done to bring all this trouble on us? Tell us. What do you do for a living? Where do you come from? What is your country? What people do you belong to?”

He answered, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship the Lord. He is the God of heaven. He made the sea and the dry land.”

10 They found out he was running away from the Lord. That’s because he had told them. Then they became terrified. So they asked him, “How could you do a thing like that?”

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied. “Then it will become calm. I know it’s my fault that this terrible storm has come on you.”

13 But the men didn’t do what he said. Instead, they did their best to row back to land. But they couldn’t. The sea got even rougher than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord. They prayed, “Please, Lord, don’t let us die for taking this man’s life. After all, he might not be guilty of doing anything wrong. So don’t hold us responsible for killing him. Lord, you always do what you want to.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard. And the stormy sea became calm. 16 The men saw what had happened. Then they began to have great respect for the Lord. They offered a sacrifice to him. And they made promises to him.

Jonah Prays to the Lord

17 Now the Lord sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.