What to do? (Jon 1:10-1:11)

“Then the sailors

Were even more afraid.

They said to him.

‘What is this

That you have done?’

The men knew

That he was fleeing

From the presence

Of Yahweh,

Because he had told them so.

Then they said to him.

‘What shall we do

To you?

How can the sea

Quiet down for us?’

The sea was growing

More and more tempestuous.”

The sailors on this ship were afraid and confused.  They did not know what to do.  They wanted to know why Jonah had done such a thing as to flee the presence of Yahweh, since he had apparently told them why he was on this ship.  They wanted to know what they were going to do with him, Jonah.  How could he make the sea quiet down, since it was getting rougher than before?

Jonah runs away to Tarshish (Jon 1:3-1:3)

“But Jonah set out

To flee

To Tarshish,

From the presence

Of Yahweh.

He went down

To Joppa.

There he found a ship

Going to Tarshish.

He paid the fare.

He went on board,

To go with them

To Tarshish.

He wanted to get away

From the presence

Of Yahweh.”

Unlike all the other prophets, Jonah refused his mission.  He decided to run away to Tarshish, probably in Spain, as far away as he could get from Yahweh and Israel at that time.  Most of the ancient people considered it to be the end of the world.  Tarshish was often mentioned in the biblical literature as a rich ship building area, as in Isaiah, chapter 23 and Ezekiel, chapter 27.  Jonah went to Joppa, a seacoast town on the Mediterranean Sea.  There, he had enough money to purchase a fare to board a ship headed for Tarshish.  He really wanted to get away from the presence of Yahweh, as far as he could go.