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Jonah: a prophet goes swimming

Jonah learns about God's mercy for Nineveh.
Story also available on our translated website: Spanish
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This is Jonah. He lives in Israel. He's a prophet. <br/>Prophets tell others what God tells them to say.  <br/>One day God said to Jonah: 'Go to Nineveh and tell the people there to stop being so evil.' – Slide 1
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Nineveh is a great city in the land of Assyria. The Assyrians are good archers. They have many soldiers and fight many wars. <br/>People in other countries are afraid of them. In Israel, too, people are afraid of the Assyrians. – Slide 2
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Jonah doesn’t want to go to Nineveh. He wants God to destroy the city of Nineveh and the Assyrians who bully them. He’d much rather be relaxing in the sun than preaching to the Assyrians. – Slide 3
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Jonah has an idea. – Slide 4
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He packs his bags and heads for the harbour. – Slide 5
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He looks for a ship that is going as far away from Nineveh in the opposite direction as it is possible to go. – Slide 6
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When they are at sea, a violent storm breaks out. – Slide 7
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The sailors are terrified. <br/>They pray to their gods. But the storm is getting worse. Jonah is asleep deep in the hold of the ship. – Slide 8
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The sailors wake Jonah. They want him to pray to his God too. They draw lots to determine who is to blame for the storm and Jonah’s name is drawn. Jonah confesses that he is running away from God. <br/>Jonah tells them: ‘Throw me into the sea and the storm will stop.’ <br/>But the sailors don't want to throw Jonah into the sea. They try to steer the ship through the storm. But they don't make it. – Slide 9
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Finally, they throw Jonah into the sea. The storm stops. – Slide 10
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Jonah sinks deep under the water. – Slide 11
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A big fish God had made arrives on the scene. – Slide 12
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The fish swallows Jonah. He stays three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. – Slide 13
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Jonah prays: ‘I thought God forgot me. But when I was near death He sent me help. You saved my life. I want to thank you and do what you want me to do.’ <br/>Then God speaks to the fish. And the fish spits Jonah out onto land. – Slide 14
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So Jonah gets up and goes to Nineveh.The way is very long and he has to go through a big desert. – Slide 15
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Jonah preaches in Nineveh. He says: ‘Turn from your evil ways. Otherwise, in forty days, God will destroy your city.’ <br/>People get scared. They believe Jonah. – Slide 16
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All the people of Nineveh are sad - even the king. – Slide 17
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They are ashamed of what they used to do. <br/>They pray to God: ‘We have made many mistakes. Please forgive us and keep us alive. Don't destroy our city.’ – Slide 18
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Jonah flees to a hill overlooking Nineveh. He builds himself a little hut out of twigs and waits to see what happens. He wants to see if God will destroy the city after forty days. He wants God to kill the people of Nineveh because they are so wicked. <br/>He thinks: ‘If God kills the bad people, we don't have to be afraid of them anymore.’ – Slide 19
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But nothing happens. God sees that the people of Nineveh are very sad. They have confessed their evil and changed their ways. <br/>God has pity on them and forgives them. <br/>God lets a bush grow next to Jonah's hut. Jonah is very happy about the bush as it gives him shade but he is very angry with God for not destroying Nineveh. – Slide 20
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At night, God sends worms to the bush. The worms eat the roots. – Slide 21
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The bush withers. Jonah is terribly sad.<br/> He scolds God again for not destroying Nineveh and the Assyrians who are a such a threat to the people of Israel. – Slide 22
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Then God says to Jonah: ‘You have pity on the bush that you neither planted nor watered. Don’t I have the right to feel sorry for a city as big as Nineveh, where more than 120,000 people live, none of whom know what is right or wrong, and many animals too?’ – Slide 23
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What lessons do you think Jonah has learned? – Slide 24
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