“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”
Obviously, these are the familiar first three verses of the Old Testament book of Jonah. The story of Jonah has always intrigued me: the story of a prophet who flees from God and in turn has the opportunity to enjoy the undersea lodgings of a large fish. We hear the story repeatedly in Sunday School as little children and often tend to gloss over it later in life because it is so familiar to us. Further, the story itself is the subject of much speculation about who Jonah actually was and the potential allegorical meanings of the book as describing the selfishness of Israel.
Without going too deep into such speculation, we can examine the character of Jonah and see exactly who he is today.