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When your guardians become grand thieves

The Epic of Jonah and The Great Repentance

"Toss me in the sea, let it swallow me!" /  They threw Jonah into this great tempest /  "God! We're innocent and let us be free!" / And the sea grew calm amidst this great test

Ch 1

Chapter I 


The voice of the Lord God came to Jonah 

"Go now and tell Nineveh, the great city.

"Your wickedness, to Me, has climbed higher."

But Jonah fled to Tarshish, near the sea.


And the Lord God, sent out a mighty storm 

that tossed up the boat with its frightened men.

The sailors cast lots to find out its sum.

The casted lots fell onto Jonah's hand.


"Why do you bring trouble to us, stranger?

"And who are you and where do you come from?

"I'm Hebrew and fear God, the Creator!"

"What shall we do to you to calm this storm?"


"Toss me in the sea, let it swallow me!"

They threw Jonah into this great tempest.

"God! We're innocent and let us be free!"

And the sea grew calm amidst this great test.


As Jonah was swallowed by the dark sea,

God sent a large fish to swallow him up.

And he spent three days in the fish belly.

For deliverance, he prayed and looked up


Ch 2
"And God spoke to fish to give Jonah a landing"

Chapter II 


"I cry out to God, of my miseries.

"From the deepest darkness, You hear my voice.

"I'm walled by deepest darkest of rivers.

"I am surrounded by Your great billows."


"I have been cast out of Your holy sight.

"Yet, I will look again to Your temple.

"The waters surround my soul, as in night.

"And weeds wrap around my head in ripples."


"I went down to the moorings of mountains.

"And the gates closed behind me, forever.

"But You've brought me out from this shackled chain.

"To Your holy temple, went my prayer."


"Those who regard false ideals, forsake their mercy.

"I'll sacrifice to You with voice of thanksgiving.

"I'll pay what I vowed, salvation is God's fully."

And God spoke to fish to give Jonah a landing.


Ch 3
"And God relented from the disaster He spoke. That He would bring them, but He now let them live"

Chapter III 


The voice of the Lord God came the second time.

"Go now, preach the message to great Nineveh."

So Jonah went, to fulfill God's will and time.

It takes three days to walk across Nineveh.


On his first day, he cried out at the entrance.

"In forty days, this city shall be ransacked!"

The city believed and called for repentance.

From greatest to least, they fasted and wore sacks.


The city king heard word and rose from his throne.

He put on sackcloth, wept and sat in ashes.

And a proclamation was made from the throne.

"Neither man nor beast, herd nor flock eat, drink or taste."


"Let man and beast cover in sacks and repent."

"Let everyone turn from evil and violence.

"Who can tell if God will turn and relent.

"From His anger and remove our sustenance."


Then God saw into their hearts and in their works.

That they have repented and turned from evil.

And God relented from the disaster He spoke.

That He would bring them, but He now let them live.


Ch 4
"God called up a plant to give shade to Jonah. The plant shaded Jonah from his misery"

Chapter IV 


But Jonah was displeased and was angry.

With this anger, he prayed to the Lord God.

"Lord, this was what I said when in my country.

"For I know you are a merciful God."


"Slow to anger and full of loving kindness."

"You are gracious and relents doing harm.

"Therefore, take my life, give me nothingness."

But God said, "Is it right that you're inflamed?"


So Jonah went to the east end of the city.

He made himself a shelter, and sat under,

to see what would become of the great city.

God called up a plant to give shade to Jonah.


The plant shaded Jonah from his misery.

On the next morning, God prepared a worm,

which withered the plant immediately.

As the sun rose, God prepared the east wind.


The sun made Jonah faint and he wished death.

"It is better for me to die than to live."

God spoke, "Is it right, you're angry with a plant?"

Jonah said, "It is right to be, even not to live."


But God said, "You had pity on a plant.

"For which you have not laboured nor made it grow.

"It came up in a night, perished in a night.

"Should I not pity the great Nineveh now?"


"In this great city, there lives one hundred.

"And twenty thousand persons strong.

"Who cannot understand between right and wrong.

"Nor their right hand from their left; and large livestock herd?"


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Michael Dom

That is an impressive versification of the biblical story, a deeply meaningful tale with much wisdom to be extracted from the densely layered structure.

I've always liked to contrast this story with the verse where God says that He would condemn a transgression (which one I can't recall now) to the children's children and to the seventh generation or some such number.

That seemed a little excessive. Or maybe I misread.

Anyway, perhaps one takeaway may be that life itself is capricious, and your fate as you face life often depends on where you stand within your own moral conviction, the god who judges you, and your daily actions that determine the balance of it.

If you don't do the good that you're supposed to do you end up in a big fish at the bottom of the sea.

If you can't stop a plant from dying, why would you want a city to burn?

Alternatively, a city may be saved if the people showed real repentance or generations of a family may be cursed for a single act.

While the former seems to me to be more than a little unlikely, the latter may be a much more verifiable outcome.

Maybe the good book is telling us that our personal journey is what we should focus on.

That seems like wisdom to me.

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