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Jonah's mission to Nineveh

1THE word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:

2“Go to the great city of Nineveh; go and denounce it, for I am confronted by its wickedness.”

3But to escape from the LORD Jonah set out for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board to travel with it to Tarshish out of the reach of the LORD.

4The LORD let loose a hurricane on the sea, which rose so high that the ship threatened to break up in the storm.

5The sailors were terror-stricken; everyone cried out to his own god for help, and they threw things overboard to lighten the ship. Meanwhile Jonah, who had gone below deck, was lying there fast asleep.

6When the captain came upon him he said, “What, fast asleep? Get up and call to your god! Perhaps he will spare a thought for us, and we shall not perish.”

7The sailors said among themselves, “Let us cast lots to find who is to blame for our misfortune.” They cast lots, and when Jonah was singled out

8they wanted to be told how he was to blame. They questioned him: “What is your business? Where do you come from? Which is your country? What is your nationality?”

9“I am a Hebrew,” he answered, “and I worship the LORD the God of heaven, who made both sea and dry land.”

10At this the sailors were even more afraid. “What is this you have done?” they said, because they knew he was trying to escape from the LORD, for he had told them.

11“What must we do with you to make the sea calm for us?” they asked; for it was getting worse.

12“Pick me up and throw me overboard,” he replied; “then the sea will go down. I know it is my fault that this great storm has struck you.”

13Though the crew rowed hard to put back to land it was no use, for the sea was running higher and higher.

14At last they called to the LORD, “Do not let us perish, LORD, for this man's life; do not hold us responsible for the death of an innocent man, for all this, LORD, is what you yourself have brought about.”

15Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging of the sea subsided.

16Seized by a great fear of the LORD, the men offered a sacrifice and made vows to him.

17The LORD ordained that a great fish should swallow Jonah, and he remained in its belly for three days and three nights.

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