God told Jonah to go to a city called Nineveh and tell them that He knew about all the evil things they were doing. But instead, Jonah tried to run away to a city called Tarshish. He was trying to get away from God. To get to Tarshish, Jonah had to get in a ship in the city of Joppa and travel there by sea.
While he was on the ship, the Lord brought a great storm upon the water. The ship was almost ready to break into pieces! The men on the ship started crying out to their gods for help. And they threw all the cargo on board into the sea to help lighten the load. All the while Jonah stayed in the bottom of the boat, underneath the deck. He was sleeping there. The captain woke Jonah and said, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and cry out to your god! Maybe He will listen to you and save us so that we will not die!"
Then the men on the ship decided to try and find out why this was happening. They guessed that Jonah was the reason for the storm. So they asked him, "Why is this bad thing happening? Where are you from and what do you do?" So Jonah said, "I am from Israel and I believe in the God of Heaven who made everything." Then the men on the ship were very afraid and said to Jonah, "What have you done?" because Jonah told them that he was running away from God.
So they asked Jonah, "What do we need to do so that the sea will calm down?" Jonah said, "Pick me up and throw me into the water and the storm will go away. It is my fault that this storm has come upon us all." But even though Jonah said this, the men on the ship would not throw Jonah overboard. Instead they tried rowing harder and fought against the storm. But then they prayed to God and said, "Lord, do not punish us for doing what we are about to do because we’re doing what we think you want us to do." And after saying that they threw Jonah overboard. Immediately the storm stopped and the sea was calm. Then the men believed in God and began to fear Him.
Then the Lord sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah spent three days and three nights in the fish’s belly.