The Bible – Old Testament
This is the word of the LORD that came to Jonah, son of Amittai: 1
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it; their wickedness has come up before me.”
2 But Jonah made ready to flee to Tarshish away from the LORD. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish, away from the LORD.
The LORD, however, hurled a violent wind upon the sea, and in the furious tempest that arose the ship was on the point of breaking up.
Then the mariners became frightened and each one cried to his god. To lighten the ship for themselves, they threw its cargo into the sea. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship, and lay there fast asleep.
The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Rise up, call upon your God! Perhaps God will be mindful of us so that we may not perish.”
Then they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots to find out on whose account we have met with this misfortune.” So they cast lots, and thus singled out Jonah.
“Tell us,” they said, “what is your business? Where do you come from? What is your country, and to what people do you belong?”
“I am a Hebrew,” Jonah answered them; “I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
Now the men were seized with great fear and said to him, “How could you do such a thing!” – They knew that he was fleeing from the LORD, because he had told them. –
“What shall we do with you,” they asked, “that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growing more and more turbulent.
Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea, that it may quiet down for you; since I know it is because of me that this violent storm has come upon you.”
Still the men rowed hard to regain the land, but they could not, for the sea grew ever more turbulent.
3 Then they cried to the LORD: “We beseech you, O LORD, let us not perish for taking this man’s life; do not charge us with shedding innocent blood, for you, LORD, have done as you saw fit.”
Then they took Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea’s raging abated.
Struck with great fear of the LORD, the men offered sacrifice and made vows to him.
1  Jonah, son of Amittai: a prophet of this name lived at the time of Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.).
2  Tarshish: identified by many with Tartessus, an ancient Phoenician colony in southwest Spain; precise identification with any particular Phoenician center in the western Mediterranean is uncertain. To the Hebrews it stood for the far west.
3  Since it has pleased the Lord to punish Jonah, the mariners ask that in ridding themselves of him they be not charged with the crime of murder.