By: Mae Esther

 “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-3

“I need to get to Tarshish straight away!” Jonah said fumbling through his money pouch.  He wiped his wet red face with the end of his wide sleeve and glanced around.

The burly man with the earing and bold head grunted and gave him the ticket.

“It leaves as the sun sets.” He barked pointing to the blue and white ship docked on the still waters.

Jonah mumbled a thank you, hid his face and hurried. He needed to get on that boat now!

He handed over his ticket to a sailor and almost tripped as he ran up the ramp. Some of the fishermen and people boarding the ship stared at him curiously. No one had ever seen someone get on a ship so fast and look so agitated.

Jonah made his way below deck but was stopped by one of the sailors, “Cant’ get down there yet – still being cleaned.”

“When can I go down? I need to get away from….from….” His voice trailed off and he pointed to the sky.

The sailor followed Jonah’s finger and then looked back at him with his brow creased. There was nothing up there.

“Don’t worry about a storm – none happening. Perfect weather.” Shaking his head and chuckling to himself, the sailor walked off.

Reluctantly, Jonah hurried to a secluded darkening corner of the ship where he could watch the sun sink over the horizon. He looked around anxiously and waited to be allowed to hide below deck.

When the ship finally left port, Jonah exhaled in relief. He was free. Free from God and free from those Ninevites.

Jonah closed his eyes briefly and told himself to enjoy the journey. All will be well. Who would find him on this ship anyways?

Jonah looked up at the sky and gasped at how beautiful it looked.  It sparkled so bright like an open cave filled with diamonds.

“Wow.” He whispered in awe.

The whole night was still and perfect.

“There’s food for sale if you want to buy some?” A passager said interrupting Jonah’s thoughts.

Jonah nodded a thank you but didn’t move. He wasn’t hungry. This running away thing was handwork and emotionally exhausting.

Just as he was about to settle for the night to sleep, he felt a gush of wind brush his unruly curls.

Jonah frowned, just a minute a go there had been no wind. Where was this coming from?

He stood up and peered over, the wind was definitely picking up. He leaned over a little more and noticed the dark waters below beginning to churn and foam.


Behind him a few sailors began to shout, “The wind is picking up. Secure your belongings.”

Jonah grabbed his bag tightly and sat back on his spot.

Suddenly a great wind picked up out of nowhere.

Gushing, howling, and screeching.

The ship tossed from side to side.

Jonah’s eyes rounded in fear. He looked at the sky and saw furious clouds tumbling over each other.

Suddenly deafening thunder rumbled out of nowhere and everyone gasped.

The lighting and thunder got louder and stronger.

Booming, rumbling, roaring and ear-splitting sounds surrounded them.

The heavens opened and rain gushed down.

Suddenly, the wind started roaring and picking up speed. The wind was furious! It hissed and roared and groaned and moaned.

Their boat rocked back and forth.

Sailors started falling on their knees, yelling and screaming the names of their gods.

“Help us!”

“Save us!”

“Get us out of here!”

Some tore their clothes in agony. They were terrified.

The ship tumbled along the water, lopsided. No one could stand or walk straight. They were sinking.

They were going to die!

“Throw as many things as you can overboard.” A tall sailor shouted.

“Hurry, Hurry!” A little round sailor shouted above the roaring wind.

Soon, trunks, bags, clothes and dishes were sinking to the depth of the ocean.

Slowly, Jonah looked around and sneaked away below deck. He grabbed onto the walls of the ship and stumbled to a quiet place to sleep. He was exhausted.

Soon he was snoring away.

“Wake up man!”

“Hey, get up!

Jonah bolted upright someone was shaking him violently. It was the captain.

“Man, how can you sleep at a time like this? Get up and call to your god to save us!”

Jonah opened his mouth to speak but then shut it again.

“Maybe your god will hear us – our gods are not doing anything and we’re frantic.” The captain eyes bulged.

Jonah turned when he heard a commotion behind him – sailors were shouting his name and thundering towards him.

Jonah shrunk back and shut his eyes waiting to be knockout.

“We just cast lots and it fell on you!” A giant of a sailor boomed. His face red and blotchy.

“Who are you?” Another one demanded.

“What have you done?” The captain grabbed Jonah by the neck of his tunic and shook him.

“Why is this storm happening?” He shouted.

Some men shouted, others shook him and everyone glared waiting for a response.

Jonah swallowed and put up his hand, “Ok, ok.” He took a deep breath and exhaled. “I’ll tell you everything.” He whispered.

The men stepped back and waited.

The ship shook violently and everyone gasped.

“Hurry man! We don’t have time.” The captain demanded.

“My name is Jonah and I’m a Hebrew. I worship the Lord of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

The men’s eyes rounded in fear, “What did you do that your god wants you dead?” Their voice trembled.

“He asked me to go and preach at Ninevah, but, I ran away. I’m hiding from him!”

Everyone gasped and then silence.

They scowled.

Finally the captain spoke “What should we do to you to make the sea calm again?”

Jonah cleared his throat and clenched his hands.

He let out a shaky breath and stood up.

“Pick me up and throw me into the sea.”

“What! Are you crazy!”

“Throw me and the storm will stop! I know it’s my fault.”

“No, no.” The captain shook his head, “we will try our best to row to land.”

Everyone agreed and they got busy trying to get the ship to safety.

But it was impossible, the sea was too violent and wild.

The captain looked at Jonah sadly; he turned to two strong sailors and gave a quick nod.

Jonah braced himself and closed his eyes tight.

From behind closed lids he could hear the men crying out to his God.

“Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.”

With a quick movement they hurled Jonah into the dark, enraged, foamy, treacherous waters below.

Jonah stiffened as his body smashed into the water.

He kicked his feet rapidly to propel himself above the ferocious waves but it was impossible. Water was filling his mouth and he couldn’t breathe.

All of a sudden, the waves stopped raging.

The wind went silent.

The rain stopped.

It was calm again.

Jonah looked up to heaven and exhaled.

Suddenly a dark menacing shadow swam rapidly toward him from the very depth of the ocean.

Jonah’s eyes rounded in fear as the monstrous animal opened his jaw ready to devour him.

Jonah’s screams echoed through the night as he disappeared down the belly of the great fish.


Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish.

Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.”

 You can find all these verse and the story of Jonah in the bible – Read it in Jonah 1 and 2 and 3.





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