1Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2“Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim [judgment] against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3But Jonah ran away to Tarshish to escape from the presence of the Lord [and his duty as His prophet]. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading cities]. So he paid the fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord.
4But the Lord hurled a great wind toward the sea, and there was a violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. 5Then the sailors were afraid, and each man cried out to his god; and to lighten the ship [and diminish the danger] they threw the ship’s cargo into the sea. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship and had lain down and was sound asleep. 6So the captain came up to him and said, “How can you stay asleep? Get up! Call on your god! Perhaps your god will give a thought to us so that we will not perish.”
7And they said to another, “Come, let us cast lots, so we may learn who is to blame for this disaster.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8Then they said to him, “Now tell us! Who is to blame for this disaster? What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country?” 9So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10Then the men became extremely frightened and said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was running from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11Then they said to him, “What should we do to you, so that the sea will become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming more and more violent. 12Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.” 13Nevertheless, the men rowed hard [breaking through the waves] to return to land, but they could not, because the sea became even more violent [surging higher] against them. 14Then they called on the Lord and said, “Please, O Lord, do not let us perish because of taking this man’s life, and do not make us accountable for innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as You pleased.”
15So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. 16Then the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17Now the Lord had prepared (appointed, destined) a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.