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.
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, "I pray thee, Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that thou art a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repentest of evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take my life from me, I beseech thee, for it is better for me to die than to live."
Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city, and
made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he
should see what would become of the city. And
God appointed a plant, and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be
a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was
exceedingly glad because of the plant. But
when dawn came up the next day, God
appointed a worm which attacked the plant, so that it withered. When
the sun rose, God appointed a sultry east wind, and the sun beat
upon the head of Jonah so that he was faint; and he asked that he might
die, and said, "It is better for me to die than to live."
But God said to Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?"
And he said, "I do well to be angry, angry enough to die."
And the Lord said, "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night, and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?"
Jona Lendering for
Revision: 12 January 2007