We use cookies to collect general visitor statistics but not personal information. Privacy policy

Jonah runs away

Jonah wants Nineveh to be destroyed and avoids warning them.
Contributed by Marian van der Kruijt
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese
One day long ago, God told Jonah, ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh, and tell the people who live there I shall have to destroy them as they have become so wicked.’ – Slide 1
Now Jonah did not like the people of Nineveh as they were enemies of his people, the Jews. He was afraid and decided to run away in the opposite direction. – Slide 2
He went down to the seacoast, to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for the far-away port of Tarshish. – Slide 3
He bought a ticket and went on board. – Slide 4
But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord sent a terrific wind which started a great storm. The sailors were afraid the ship might sink. – Slide 5
The frightened sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. – Slide 6
All this time, Jonah was sound asleep in the hold. – Slide 7
So the captain went down to him and said. ‘Why are you sleeping when we are in such danger? Get up and cry to your God, and see if he will have mercy on us and save us!’ – Slide 8
The crew decided to draw lots to see which of them had upset their god and caused this terrible storm. Jonah’s name was chosen. – Slide 9
The crew decided to draw lots to see which of them had upset their god and caused this terrible storm. Jonah’s name was chosen. ‘What have you done to bring this awful storm upon us?’ they asked Jonah. ‘Who are you? What is your work? What country are you from?’ – Slide 10
Jonah replied, ‘I am a Jew and I worship the God of heaven, who made the earth and sea.’ Then he confessed he was running away from the Lord. – Slide 11
The men were very scared. ‘Oh, why did you do it?’ they shouted. ‘What should we do to you to stop the storm?’ For the waves were getting higher and higher. ‘Throw me into the sea,’ Jonah replied, ‘and it will become calm again.’ – Slide 12
The sailors tried harder to row the ship ashore, but couldn’t make it. The storm was too fierce to fight against. – Slide 13
So they shouted out a prayer to Jonah’s God. ‘Please don’t make us die because Jonah has been disobedient. And please don’t make us guilty for throwing him overboard.’ – Slide 14
Then they picked up Jonah and threw him overboard into the raging sea. – Slide 15
At once the storm stopped! The sailors were amazed at the power of Jonah’s God, so they made sacrifices and promised to serve Him. – Slide 16
Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. – Slide 17
And Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. He spent the time praying to God, thanking Him for rescuing him and promising to obey Him in the future.’ – Slide 18
Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did. – Slide 19
The Lord spoke to Jonah again: ‘Go to that great city, Nineveh, and warn them of their punishment, as I told you to before!’ – Slide 20
This time Jonah obeyed and went to Nineveh. It was a very large city that took three days to walk through. – Slide 21
Jonah entered the city and began to preach, ‘Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!’ – Slide 22
The people believed God and decided they must stop doing wicked things. They stopped eating and started praying. They took off their fine clothes and put on rough, coarse clothes called sackcloth to show they were really sorry for being disobedient. – Slide 23
Even the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying and took off his royal robes and put on sackcloth. He sat in ashes to show God he was no longer proud and disobedient. – Slide 24
The king sent out a message to be read aloud to everyone. ‘Everyone must stop eating and pray. We must turn away from doing bad things and stop fighting and stealing.’ – Slide 25
‘Maybe then God will forgive us and not send the terrible punishment we deserve.’ – Slide 26
When God saw that they had put a stop to their evil ways, He decided not to destroy Nineveh. – Slide 27
This change of plans made Jonah very angry as the people of Nineveh were enemies of the Jews and he wanted God to destroy them. – Slide 28
He complained to the Lord: ‘This why I did not want to come to Nineveh and warn these people. I ran away because I did not want them to have the chance to change their ways and turn to you for forgiveness.’ – Slide 29
‘You are a loving God who shows mercy and kindness to those who turn to you for forgiveness. I knew how easily you could cancel your plans to destroy these people.’ – Slide 30
So Jonah went out and sat sulking on the east side of the city. He made a leafy shelter to shade him as he sat watching and hoping that God would still destroy the city. – Slide 31
The Lord arranged for a vine to grow up quickly and spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head to shade him. Jonah was pleased about the vine. – Slide 32
But God also prepared a worm! The next morning the worm ate through the stem of the plant, so that it withered away and died. – Slide 33
hot, God ordered a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah, and the sun beat down upon his head until he grew faint. – Slide 34
Jonah was angry and sulked even more. ‘I would rather die than put up with this heat.’ – Slide 35
God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?’ After all, you did not make this vine.<br/>‘I have every right to be angry,’ Jonah moaned. – Slide 36
The Lord replied, ‘You are feeling sorry for yourself because the vine died and you lost your shade. If you feel like that over a vine you did not make, then why shouldn’t I feel sorry for a great city like Nineveh with its 120,000 people.  I made them and want to rescue them from harm. – Slide 37
Slide 38