Book of Jonah: Chapter 1

Greetings in the name of the Lord God of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. My name is Jonah, son of a VDI, I had an exciting adventure that I would like to tell you about. It all started in one beautiful spring day when I went out of my house to feed the animals on the farm. After I was done feeding the animals, I decided to sit back and relax. Much to my surprise, the word of the Lord God came to me, though it wants to Nineveh, that great city and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me. Of course at first, I was stuck. Why would the Lord God speak to me a lonely farmer. I was nobody important. At least I thought so. I had grown up in my small town. In the northern kingdom of Israel, I learned my Torah and about our God of the mountain of Sinai. I did not have any advanced training because my teacher did not see anything unusual in me for more Torah study, for some reason, the Lord God saw something in me that day and wanted me to do something for him. But to go to Nineveh, that was asking a bit too much. The nearby to the north of us had created a large army. They were invading the territories of the nations of the North, and we feared that one day they would turn their eyes upon us. Several of our traveling caravans of merchants were seized by the ninevites, robbed and killed. I was taught that you can never trust the ninevites so why in the world would the Lord God want me to go to Nineveh and cry out against it for all the wickedness that they were doing? It would be better for us if the ninevites were destroyed by the Lord God. Also, I never traveled outside the boundaries of the northern kingdom. I have no experience no knowledge and no wealth to make such a journey. That evening, I went to sleep tired from the day’s work. I had a dream that evening and in that dream, the Lord God spoke to me again telling me that I needed to go to Nineveh Great city and cry out against it because of its wickedness. The Dream woke me up, and it was near daybreak. So I got out of bed and decided that I needed to get away from the Lord God because I felt he would not stop telling me to go to the ninevites I was taught that the Lord God of Israel remained within the borders of the Promised Land. So I figured that I could leave the country and go somewhere else, then the Lord God would not be able to find me and forced me to go to Nineveh. In the back of my mind, I knew that I was disobeying the Lord God. But this trip to Nineveh scared me more than my fear for the Lord God. But Where would I go? I decided that I would go to the furthest city away from the northern kingdom of Israel, I would go to the town of Tarshish. The fastest way to get to Tarshish and away from my home was to obtain passage on a ship that was heading in that direction. So I went down to Joppa in search of finding a boat. I brought all the money that I had, and I was fortunate because it was just enough to pay for my fare with a little leftover. I got on board the ship hoping that I could get away from the presence of the Lord God. I did not have any luggage with me. Not even a change in clothes. Frankly, it was just me. But luckily for me, none of the sailors on the boat asked me why I was going to Tarshish without a change of clothing. The seat was calm as we left from Java. It was a beautiful spring day, and the warm breeze off the sea felt wonderful upon my face. We had been at sea for two days when a great wind came upon the sea, and a mighty storm rage toward us. The captain told us that he had never seen a rainstorm so intense. I could see in the captain’s face that he was afraid that the wind would capsize the boat. The storm forced us to move away from the shoreline. After a time you could not see the coastline anymore. We did not know where we were. I realized that this storm must have been from the Lord God. Since this was a storm the captain had never seen and because of its intensity had to be from the Spirit of God. The first thing I realized is that the Lord God was not contained to just the promised land. The Lord God is the ruler and creator of the earth and all that was in it. I became terrified to the point where I could not do anything. Therefore, I sat down on the deck near a master Hold on as tightly as I could. The boat was rocking back and forth and up and down, which made it almost impossible to hold on to the mast. But I held on because I knew that if I let go, I would have been thrown into the sea last forever. To make sure that I was not thrown into the sea, I managed to walk down the stairs into the hold of the boat. I figured that the Lord God had sent the storm to kill me. So I laid on the deck curled up and was prepared to die. I fell asleep believing that I would never wake up again. The sailors were afraid that they were going to die. So each of them cried out to their own God. But nothing changed. And the storm continued to intensify. This, the sailors through the cargo that was on the ship into the sea, hoping that the lighter boat would survive. The first cargo they threw overboard was their metal and wooden idols. They prayed hard to those idols and nothing happened. They had lost confidence in their false gods and threw them into the sea. Perhaps they thought that this storm was brought upon them by a stronger God than theirs. When the rain did not stop, they threw the rest of the cards On the ship into the sea. Yes, the storm raged on. The captain of the ship came down into the hold of the boat to find me asleep. He yelled at me, which woke me up. The captain said to me, how can you be asleep, the captain told me that the storm had intensified and then that they prayed to each of their gods and nothing happened. The captain thought that perhaps if I prayed to my God, the Creator of heaven and earth, that I might be able to get the storm to pass to save the boat and the sailors that were on it. So I prayed to the Lord God. And I said to him, that the ship and the people onboard the vessel should be spared because it was I, Jonah, who had run away from the Lord God and it is I who should be punished. I asked the Lord God to spare those who were with me, but the storm raged on. Since the storm did not subside, the sailor said to one another, Come, let us cast lots so that we may know on whose account this calamity has come upon us. I knew that the calamity of the storm was my fault and probably should have come out and said so but I did not Does the sailors cast their lawns and four out of the five lots landed on me? The sailors looked at me and said, Tell us why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And what people are you? I told them that I was a Hebrew from the northern kingdom of Israel and that I worship the one and true God who is the creator of heaven and earth. I was astonished that these men became more afraid. They must have known something about the Lord God of the Hebrew people. They looked at me and asked me why I was fleeing the presence of my Lord God. I had told them that the purpose of my trip was to flee from the presence of my Lord God, when I boarded the boat, most of them mocked me and some of them even laughed at me. Well, they were not laughing anymore. Now they were scared and frightened. I knew in my heart that the Lord God was coming after me and that the only way to save the men on the boat was to have them threw me overboard. So I offered a prayer to my Lord God and said, Lord God, it was wrong and To run away from you, please spare these men because they had nothing to do with my disobedience. Lord God forgive me for trying to run away from your presence. Then I looked at the sailors and said to them that they needed to throw me into the sea and that the sea would quiet down because the Lord God was only interested in me. I told him that the Lord God was a compassionate and gracious God and would not take vengeance on them, for they did not know what they were doing when they took me on board to give me passage to the city of Tarshish. The sailors did not throw me overboard. They either did not believe my story, or they were so compassionate that they did not want me to die. Each man got to an hour of the boat and started rolling to shore. They rode faster and faster in an attempt to make it to the shoreline. But the harder they rode the further away from the coastline they traveled. The storm was getting worse when finally they can send it to my request and they threw me overboard. The sailors on the boat, led by the captain cried out to the Lord God and ask the Lord God to spare their lives and not hold them personally accountable. For my death, I told them that the Lord God was merciful and that he would not hold them responsible for my death. I knew that it was my responsibility and that it was my actions that brought on the storm. I knew that my disobedience by running away from the Lord God required a punishment. The men on the boat did not commit any crime when they threw me overboard and must not be punished. I could tell that these men had come to know the God of Israel. After they threw me overboard, the storm subsided and they were able to roll to the shoreline. They disembarked and traveled into the town to purchase a land. They brought the land back to the seashore and offered it as a sacrifice to the Lord God. They also took a vow that the God of Israel would now be their God. Therefore, something good happened out of my disobedience, I was able to bring nine men into the presence of the Lord God. This also taught me that the God of Israel not only resided everywhere in the world, but that the God of Israel was indeed the God of all people because these nine men who did not know the Lord God became believers and followers. I was in the ocean, bobbing up and down. I was trying to save my life. But I was not sure how that was going to happen because I was a long way from the shoreline and I did not have a boat to take me to it. I was startled by a loud noise that was behind me. I was able turn around and saw a large fish coming toward me. I had never seen a fish this large before in my entire life. The giant fish opened its mouth, and it still it was large enough to swallow me whole. That is precisely what happened. That giant fish swallowed me and I landed in the belly of the fish. I knew that what I did was wrong, but did the Lord God have to punish me in this way, I would never be able to see my family again. I would never be able to read from God’s Torah again. I could never go back and visit the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem which was sanctified to the Lord God ever again. So for three days and three nights I sat in the belly of this giant fish without any idea of what was going to happen next. The air was found. I was thirsty and hungry. wondered what the Lord God had in store for me now.