62”X52”  OIL ON CANVAS    1988

The prophet Jonah, who lived in era of the first Temple, was commanded by God to go to Nineveh, capital of  Assyria, one of the most powerful cities of that time, but a place of great evil, and to prophesy its destruction, unless the people repented. Jonah,instead, fled from God and boarded a ship to Tarshish, trying to escape from his mission. Jonah knew that Assyria would eventually conquer Israel, and he wished for its destruction, not its salvation.

God sent  a tempest into the sea. When the sailors, discovered that Jonah was the cause of the raging storm, they reluctantly cast him overboard. God sent a large fish to swallow him and Jonah remained in the fish for three days and three nights praying. When he was released from the fish, God again commanded Jonah to proclaim the Divine message that in forty days the city would be destroyed unless they radically reformed their lives.

The Prophet’s dramatic warning was believed and the inhabitants, including the King of Nineveh, fasted and covered themselves with ashes and sackcloth. God accepted their repentance and Nineveh was saved.

Jonah was anguished because he  had hoped for the destruction of Nineveh,  Israel’s implacable enemy. He made himself a booth and sat in it to see what would happen.  God made a huge Kikayon grow to give Jonah shade and protect him from the sun. Jonah was overjoyed with the shade of the plant, but then God sent a worm to wither it. The destruction of the Kikayon so grieved Jonah that he wished to die.
God then said to Jonah,” You took pity on the Kikayon for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow; it lived one night and perished. And I - shall I not take pity upon Nineveh the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, (i.e. children) and many animals as well?” View Full Resolution Image