(taken from the Holy Bible)
adaptation by Melineze Logan Hite
There lived a man named Jonah who was the son of Amittai. The voice of the Lord came upon him, but he ran away from the presence of the Lord.
God said to Jonah, "Arise, go to Nineveh that great city, and cry against it: for their wickedness is come up before me."
The people had sinned, and God was going to overthrow the city. Jonah was sent to warn the people so that they could turn away from their evil deeds. God wanted the people to turn to him.
Jonah went to Joppa where he found out that a ship was going to Tarnish. He would run away from the presence and the voice of the Lord. On board the mighty vessel he went below to sleep. He was awakened by the shipmaster who said," What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise. Call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not."
A great and fierce storm had come out of the sea, and it was strong enough to wreck the ship.
The men were afraid to death, and they began to lighten the load of the ship. They threw into the sea anything that was not essential, except the food and the water. They called upon various gods. They did not know that Jonah's god was the one, true god. Jonah sat quietly thinking. Then the men, unable to do anything that would calm the mighty sea and hurricane wind and rain, decided to draw lots. Each man would be represented by stones or straws or the like and when finally one item was pulled, these men believed that that man was the reason for the present danger. And the lot did fall on Jonah! He was amazed. How did they know? He could not hide any longer. He must come face to face with this trouble. He finally said to the frightened and weary sailors, "I am a Hebrew: and I fear the Lord, the god of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea: so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you."
When even powerful rowing by all of the men could not bring the ship to land, the men cried unto Jonah's Lord, "We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee. Let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood. For thou, O Lord , hast done as it pleased thee."
The sailors picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea. The raging sea quieted.
A sacrifice was offered unto the Lord for sparing the ship and the life of the others, who vowed allegiance to the almighty God from this time forward.
Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. He remained in the belly of the fish for three days and three long, terrifying nights.
"By reason of mine infliction....... out of the belly of hell, .....thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas, and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. I am cast out of thy sight: yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul. The depth closed me round about; the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottom of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever. Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord, my God. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the lord. My prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord."
God was satisfied with the prayers and the earnest cryings of Jonah. Jonah had begged forgiveness of almighty God. God then stopped his plan of destruction for Jonah.
"And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."
Jonah then obediently went to the great city of Nineveh, because again he heard the voice of the Lord. God said, "Arise, go unto Ninveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee." Jonah traveled for three days to Nineveh. When he first arrived he cried, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."
The people and the king of Nineveh listened attentively. Immediately they went into action. They heard. They obeyed the voice of the Lord. They put on sackcloths, rough to the skin and to the touch to let God know that they were serious about doing whatever it takes to change. They proclaimed a fast. They would not eat anything.They would not drink. The king of Nineveh arose from his throne and took his fine clothing off to put on this poor material, sackcloth, and he, even sat in ashes. " Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed, nor drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God. Yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands." From the greatest to the least, the people obeyed their ruler. They then repented of their sins.
"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them. And he did it not!"
God wants to forgive us. He is slow to anger. He wants us to turn from evil and turn to him. He wants each of us to be saved. He wants all to have eternal life.