Chapter 5 by Peter Reitsma

Canadian artiimg_20170203_172644-e1493816256731.jpgst and good friend Peter Reitsma sent in this lyrical ending to the Jonah story..

And Jonah felt greatly distressed and humiliated. In the morning he gathered his few belongings and left his shelter. As he walked he reflected on the great storm, the fish that swallowed him, the terror of Nineveh, the vine, the worm that ate the vine and the scorching wind. His anger with God continued and he still wanted to die. 

Now, a Ninevite, still dressed in sackcloth followed him at a distance. Jonah chose to ignore him, still fearing reprisals because of his short message. The man approached Jonah and introduced himself. “I am Ashram, a servant of the king” he announced. “Don’t be afraid, Could I offer you a drink and some food?”

Suspiciously, Jonah accepted the man’s offer and they sat down in the shade of a large rock and shared the food and drink. The man told Jonah the officials first planned to kill him immediately when hearing the repentance message. However the servant and many Ninevites had heard of the Hebrew god and his mighty deeds. News of the arrival of the prophet by whale express reached Nineveh before Jonah. They all dreaded his arrival, and when they learned they had forty days to repent of their grisly deeds, the sackcloth came out of the storerooms. They were unable to harm a man sent from such a god.

Ashram, the Ninevite also told Jonah he wanted to share Jonah’s god, never having felt such peace and was loving the idea of mercy. As they ate the last of the goat cheese, the man gave Jonah his sword as a token of esteem. He took his leave and they parted ways. 

Jonah continued on his way to the place where the whale had spit him out. The whale, having had a bad case of indigestion was still near shore. Thinking about the seaweed wrapped around his head, Jonah did not venture near the water. And, no longer angry, Jonah spoke to the Lord.

Jonah threw the sword at the whale, who promptly ate it.

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Chapter 5 by Josh Compton

In my book Sympathy for Jonah it was noted that the Book of Jonah doesn’t really end. In chapter 4, YHWH – God – very gently makes the case for mercy upon the diabolically evil. But we never hear how Jonah responds. There is no chapter 5. So I asked people to scribble out their own endings to the story and send them to me.

Ohio folk musician Josh Compton sent in the ending below.

Also, have a listen to one of his beautiful records, Hilo. And more here

And alsohere’s a review he did of my Jonah record, mixed in with excerpts of his own reflections on the book of Jonah, written sometime before…

Anyway, find a quiet space to read this; Chapter 5…

Jonah 5 by Josh Compton