LOOK at the man in the water. He is in a lot of trouble, isn’t he? That fish is about to swallow him! Do you know who this man is? His name is Joʹnah. Let’s see how he got into so much trouble.
Joʹnah is a prophet of Jehovah. It is not long after the death of the prophet E·liʹsha that Jehovah tells Joʹnah: ‘Go to the great city of Ninʹe·veh. The badness of the people there is very great, and I want you to speak to them about it.’
But Joʹnah does not want to go. So he gets on a boat that is going in the opposite direction from Ninʹe·veh. Jehovah is not pleased with Joʹnah for running away. So He causes a big storm. It is so bad that the boat is in danger of sinking. The sailors are very much afraid, and they cry out to their gods for help.
Finally Joʹnah tells them: ‘I worship Jehovah, the God who made the heaven and the earth. And I am running away from doing what Jehovah told me to do.’ So the sailors ask: ‘What should we do to you to stop the storm?’
‘Throw me into the sea, and the sea will become calm again,’ Joʹnah says. The sailors don’t want to do it, but as the storm gets worse they finally throw Joʹnah overboard. Right away the storm stops, and the sea is calm again.
As Joʹnah sinks down into the water, the big fish swallows him. But he doesn’t die. For three days and three nights he is in the belly of that fish. Joʹnah is very sorry that he did not obey Jehovah and go to Ninʹe·veh. So do you know what he does?
Joʹnah prays to Jehovah for help. Then Jehovah makes the fish vomit Joʹnah out onto dry land. After that Joʹnah goes to Ninʹe·veh. Doesn’t this teach us how important it is that we do whatever Jehovah says?