The Lord’s voice came to Jonas, the son of Amathi:
Up, and to the great city of Nineve make thy way; I would have thee preach to them; great guilt of theirs claims my cognizance.
Rise up he did, but his thought was, he would escape to Tharsis, and there avoid the Lord’s scrutiny. So he made his way to Joppa, and there, sure enough, was a ship bound for Tharsis; passage-money was paid, and aboard went Jonas with the rest of them, sailing for Tharsis to be out of the Lord’s way.
But now the Lord sent out a boisterous wind over the sea, that raised a great tempest there, and the ship was like to have been broken all to pieces.
Sore afraid the mariners were, and loud they called upon their god; ay, and fell to throwing the tackle overboard, to lighten ship. And what of Jonas? He had gone down into the ship’s hold, and fallen fast asleep.
But that would not serve; up came the captain and asked what he meant, to lie there sleeping? Up, said he, and cry out upon thy God! Who knows but God will take pity on us, and grant us our lives yet?
By this, the ship’s company were of another counsel; Nay, said one to other, cast we the lot, and so find out how it is that such peril has befallen us! Cast lots they did, and Jonas was singled out.
Tell us, they cried, for whose sake it is that we are come into such peril! Tell us what thy errand is, whence thou art journeying and whither, what nation it was gave thee birth.
I am a Hebrew, he told them, and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, that made the sea and the dry land both.
And when they heard (for he told them all) that this was a man who would escape from the Lord’s sight, they were in a great taking of fear. What ailed thee? they asked.
And how must we use thee, if we would have yonder seas calmed for us? (Even as they spoke, the waves grew more angry yet.)
Why, said he, take me up and throw me over the ship’s side, and the sea will grant you respite; doubt there is none, I am the cause of all this peril that has befallen you.
What would you? They fell to the oars, hoping to make land thus, but could nothing avail; ever angrier grew the seas about them.
And at last they cried out upon the Lord; Take we this man’s life, they said, let it not be to our own undoing! Do not charge us with the death of an innocent man, thou who hast so manifested thy divine will!
And with that, they took Jonas up, and threw him over the ship’s side. All at once, the raging of the sea was stilled;
what awe fell on those mariners! What sacrifices they made, what vows they offered to the Lord!