Story Seventeen

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 5
AFTER Jḗ hū, his son Jē̇-hṓ a-hăz reigned in Ĭś̝ ra-el. He was not only a wicked but also a weak king and under him Ĭś̝ ra-el became helpless in the hands of its enemies, Hăź a-el, the fierce king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, and his son, Bĕn=hā́ dăd the second. But when Jē̇-hṓ a-hăz died, his son Jṓ ash became king, and under his rule Ĭś̝ ra-el began to rise again.
Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, the prophet, was now an old man, and very feeble, and near to death. The young king, Jṓ ăsh, came to see him, and wept over him, and said to him, as Ē̇-lī́-shȧ himself had said to Ē̇-lī́ jah, "My father, my father, you are to Ĭś̝ ra-el more than its chariots and its horsemen!”
But Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, though weak in body, was yet strong in soul. He told King Jṓ ăsh to bring to him a bow and arrows, and to open the window to the east, looking toward the land of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ. Then Ē̇-lī́ shȧ caused the king to draw the bow, and he placed his hands on the king's hands. And as the king shot an arrow, Ē̇-Iī́ sha said, "This is the Lord's arrow of victory, of victory over Sy̆ŕ ĭ-a, for you shall smite the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ in Ā́ phek, and shall destroy them." Then Ē̇-lī́ shȧ told the king to take the arrows, and to strike with them on the ground. The king struck them on the ground three times, and then stopped striking. The old prophet was displeased at this, and said, "Why did you stop? You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have won as many victories over Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ; but now you shall beat the Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ three times, and no more.”
Soon after this Ē̇-lī́ shȧ died, and they buried him in a cave. In the spring of the next year the bands of the Mṓ ab-ītes came upon the place just as they were burying another man, and in their haste to escape from the enemies they placed the body in the cave where Ē̇-lī̇shȧ was buried. When the body of this man touched the body of the dead prophet, life came to it, and the man stood up. Thus, even after Ē̇-lī́ shȧ was dead, he still had power.
After the death of Ē̇-lī́ shȧ, Jṓ ăsh, the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el, made war upon Bĕn=hā́ dăd the second, king of Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ. Jṓ ăsh beat him three times in battle, and took from him all the cities that Hăź a-el, his father, had taken away from Ĭś̝ ra-el. And after leash, his son Jĕr-o-bṓ am the second reigned, who became the greatest of all the kings of the Ten Tribes. Under him the kingdom grew rich and strong. He conquered nearly all Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, and made Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ the greatest city in all those lands.
But though Sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ went down, another nation was now rising to power, Ăs-sy̆ŕ ĭ-ȧ, on the eastern side of the river Tī́ gris. Its capital was Nĭń e-veh, a great city, so vast that it would take three days for a man to walk around its walls. The Ăs-sy̆ŕ ĭ-ans̝ were beginning to conquer all the lands near them, and Ĭś̝ ra-el was in danger of falling under their power. At this time another prophet, named Jonah, was giving the word of the Lord to the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes. To Jṓ nah the Lord spoke, saying, "Go to Nĭń e-veh, that great city, and preach to it, for its wickedness rises up before me.”
But Jṓ nah did not wish to preach to the people of Nĭń e-veh, for they were the enemies of his land, the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el. He wished Nĭń e-veh to die in its sins, and not turn to God and live. So Jṓ nah tried to go away from the city where God had sent him. He went down to Jōṕ pȧ, upon the shore of the Great Sea. There he found a ship about to sail to Tāŕ shish, far away in the west. He paid the fare, and went on board, intending to go as far as possible from Nĭń e-veh.
But the Lord saw Jonah on the ship, and the Lord sent a great storm upon the sea, so that the ship seemed as though it would go in pieces. The sailors threw overboard everything on the ship, and when they could do no more, every man prayed to his god to save the ship and themselves. Jó̄ nah was now lying fast asleep under the deck of the ship, and the ship's captain came to him, and said, "What do you mean by sleeping in such a time as this? Awake, rise up, and call upon your God. Perhaps your God will hear you, and will save our lives.”
But the storm continued to rage around the ship, and they said, "There is some man on this ship who has brought upon us this trouble. Let us cast lots, and find who it is.”
Then they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jṓ nah. They said to him, all at once, "Tell us, who are you? From what country do you come? What is your business? To what people do you belong? Why have you brought all this trouble upon us?" Then Jṓ nah told them the whole story; how he came from the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el and, that he had fled away from the presence of the Lord. And they said to him, "What shall we do to you, that the storm may cease?" Then Jṓ nah said, "Take me up, and throw me into the sea; then the storm will cease, and the waters will be calm; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.”
But the men were not willing to throw Jṓ nah into the sea. They rowed hard to bring the ship to the land, but they could not.
Then they cried unto the Lord, and said, "We pray thee, O Lord, we pray thee, let us not die for this man's life; for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee." At last, when they could do nothing else to save themselves, they threw Jṓ nah into the sea. At once the storm ceased, and the waves became still. Then the men on the ship feared the Lord greatly. They offered a sacrifice to the Lord, and made promises to serve him.
And the Lord caused a great fish to swallow up Jṓ nah; and Jonah was alive within the fish for three days and three nights. Long afterward, when Jesus was on the earth, he said that as Jonah was three days inside the fish, so he would be three days in the earth; so Jṓ nah in the fish was like a prophecy of Christ. In the fish Jṓ nah cried to the Lord; and the Lord heard his prayer, and caused the great fish to throw up Jṓ nah upon the dry land. By this time Jṓ nah had learned that some men who worshipped idols were kind in their hearts, and were dear to the Lord. This was the lesson that God meant Jṓ nah to learn; and now the call of the Lord came to Jṓ nah a second time.
"Arise; go to Nĭń e-veh, that great city, and preach to it what I command you.”
So Jṓ nah went to the city of Nĭń e-veh, and as he entered into it, he called out to the people, "Within forty days shall Nĭń e-veh be destroyed." And he walked through the city all day, crying out only this, "Within forty days shall Nĭń e-veh be destroyed.”
And the people of Nĭń e-veh believed the word of the Lord as spoken by Jṓ nah. They turned away from their sins, and fasted, and sought the Lord, from the greatest of them even to the least. The king of Nĭń e-veh arose from his throne, and laid aside his royal robes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes, as a sign of his sorrow. And the king sent out a command to his people, that they should fast, and seek the Lord, and turn from sin.
And God saw that the people of Nĭń e-veh were sorry for their wickedness, and he forgave them, and did not destroy their city. But this made Jṓ nah very angry. He did not wish to have Nĭń e-veh spared, because it was the enemy of his own land, and also he feared that men would call him a false prophet when his word did not come to pass. And Jonah said to the Lord:
"O Lord, I was sure that it would be thus, that thou wouldest spare the city; and for that reason I tried to flee away; for I knew that thou wast a gracious God, full of pity, slow to anger, and rich in mercy. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
And Jṓ nah went out of the city, and built a little hut on the east side of it, and sat under its roof, to see whether God would keep the word that he had spoken. Then the Lord caused a plant with thick leaves called a gourd to grow up, and to shade Jṓ nah from the sun; and Jṓ nah was glad, and sat under its shadow. But a worm destroyed the plant; and the next day a hot wind blew, and Jṓ nah suffered from the heat; and again Jṓ nah wished that he might die. And the Lord said to Jṓ nah, "You were sorry to see the plant die, though you did not make it grow, and though it came up in a night and died in a night. And should not I have pity on Nĭń e-veh, that great city, where are more than a hundred thousand little children, and also many cattle, all helpless and knowing nothing?”
And Jṓ nah learned that men, and women, and little children, are all precious in the sight of the Lord, even though they know not God.
In most of the books of the Old Testament, we read of the Ĭś̝ ra-el-īte people, and of God's care of them; but we do not find in the Old Testament much about God as the Father of all men of every nation and every land. The book of Jṓ nah stands almost alone in the Old Testament, as showing that God loves people of other nations than Ĭś̝ ra-el. Even the people of Nĭń e-veh, who worshipped images, were under God's love; God was ready to hear their prayer and to save them. So the book of Jṓ nah shows us God as "our Heavenly Father.”
Lesson 36. Elisha and Jonah.
(Tell Stories 14 and 17 in Part Fourth. Omit Stories 15 and 16.)
1. With what land was Israel often at war in the time of the Kings? With Syria.
2. Who greatly helped the king of Israel by his power as a prophet? Elisha.
3. At what place did the Syrians send an army to make Elisha, their prisoner? At Dothan.
4. What did the servant of Elisha see around Elisha to keep him safe from the Syrians? Chariots and horses of fire.
5. Who came to visit Elisha, when he was dying? Nash the King of
6. What did the dying Elisha promise to the king? Victory over the Syrians.
7. What prophet was sent to preach to a great city? Jonah.
8. To what city was Jonah sent? To Nineveh.
9. What wonderful thing happened to Jonah? He was for three days inside a great fish.
10. What did Jonah do afterward? He preached to the people of Nineveh.