Biblical book of Jonah tells the
charming, all too human story about a prophet who reluctantly does his
job. A brief introduction can be found here.
The translation offered here is the Revised Standard Version. The pictures are from a Christian sarcophagus.
Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly
of the fish, saying,
"I called to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol  I cried, and thou didst hear my voice.
For thou didst cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas,
and the flood was round about me;
all thy waves and thy billows passed over me.
Then I said, 'I am cast out from thy presence;
how shall I again look upon thy holy temple?'
The waters closed in over me, the deep was round about me;
weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me for ever;
yet thou didst bring up my life from the Pit, O Lord my God.
When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to thee, into thy holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their true loyalty.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to thee;
what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the Lord!"
And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
by Jona Lendering for
Revision: 12 January 2007