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Bible story of Jonah told in rhyme

Swallowed whole: the Reverend Gavin Tyte tells the story of Jonah in a non-traditional way (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

Something a little different from me this week! I was once asked to write the story of Jonah in rhyme which was published in a book of stories for children and given to every primary school library in Britain.

Here is Part 1 of the story, and if you would like to hear the rest, I will be telling the whole story tomorrow, May 5, at 10am on the beach at John Smith’s Bay and all are welcome!


Welcome to the story about a loner called Jonah.

He’ll be shown and he’ll be known as a bit of a moaner.

But it’s not just a ditty about a desperate God escaper,

It’s a tale that explains the very nature of the Maker.

So take a seat and stay awake as this yarn is spun,

Let’s dive in at the beginning reading Chapter One.

Jonah runs from God

The family line is vital for a Jewish guy,

So kicking off, Jonah’s dad was tagged as Amittai.

Amittai means “truth” and Jonah means “dove”

And a dove is a bringer of love from above.

God speaks to Jonah

Now a bolt from the blue of God’s word occurred,

Get a lock on this shocker that Jonah heard,

“I’ve spotted a problem, a hornet’s nest to address,

That Nineveh city’s in a bit of a mess.

So behold, I’ve resolved to get this problem solved

By selecting and electing you to get involved.

You’re my man on a mission with a message to impart;

Tell the Ninevites it’s time for them to make a fresh start.”

But Jonah disagreed and made a mighty quick exit;

Bags packed, roof racked, the lad off and legged it.

So on the run from God he fled south to Joppa

And bought a single-trip ticket on the Med non-stopper,

Heading west for Tarshish on a voyage of defection,

A 2,000-mile sail in the opposite direction.

God sends a storm

Then the Lord sent a storm that could send the boat down.

The waves pounded the ship which risked running aground.

But the sailors were afraid and so they knelt and prayed.

They paid respects to their gods to quickly come to their aid.

And to lighten the freight they obeyed the captain’s code,

Making haste to cast away the weighty laden payload.

But Jonah’d gone below and he was safely stowed,

He was power-saving batteries in a deep sleep mode.

So the skipper went to J before the ship became a wreck

Saying, “How can you sleep? Get your butt up on the deck!

’Cause it’s time to get down on your knees and pray.

Perhaps your God’ll take note so we won’t be washed away?’”

The crew finds out who caused the storm

Now back in the day, when disaster struck,

With a run of bad luck you had to pass the buck.

So the crew debated who was fated, how to name and shame,

“Let’s take aim, cast lots and discover who’s to blame!”

They rolled a dice, tossed a coin and who should win the prize draw?

Jonah’s name was hat-pulled, Jonah picked the short straw.

Straight away they plied questions and pressurised,

“It’s time to whistle-blow the deity that’s got us hog-tied!

So tell us your profession, where you’re from and your nation.

You’ve gotta spill the baked beans about your background situation.”

J replied, “I’m a Hebrew so I back the main man,

That’s the Lord, God of Heaven who made the sea and dry land.”

The crew were terrified, afraid, ’cause he was on the run.

J explained, but they campaigned, “What the beep have you done?”

Jonah gets thrown overboard

Meanwhile, the sea was getting rougher, staying upright getting tougher,

“Tell us what to do to you so that we don’t have to suffer?”

So Jonah professed, “If you want to achieve success

Then toss me into the sea and the storm will be suppressed.

It’s the only acid test to lay this crisis to rest.

I confess it’s my fault for I’m your unwelcome guest!”

But taking to the oars the crew gave it their best

But the hurricane surged like something possessed.

Then the crew beat their breasts, hard pressed and stressed

“Lord, don’t let us die as Jonah’s death is progressed

He’s an innocent man and we beg of you thus,

You’ve done as you pleased, so don’t pin it on us!”

So they nabbed and grabbed Jonah who didn’t fight arrest.

They threw him overboard, no rubber ring or life vest,

And then straight away as if a wizard waved a magic wand,

The sea was as calm as a farm millpond.

And with conditions restored the crew on-board were awed,

With offerings and vows they bowed and praised the Lord.

So Jonah sank down, it was his time to go,

Blowing bubbles as he flowed to the depths below.

But God supplied a huge fish, he wasn’t read his last rites

And it swallowed Jonah whole for three days and three nights.

Come and listen!

To hear the rest of the story of Jonah the Moaner, join Rev Gav on Sunday at 10am on the beach at John Smith’s Bay. All are welcome. The Reverend Gavin Tyte is pastor at St Mark’s Church

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Published May 04, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated May 04, 2024 at 7:20 am)

Bible story of Jonah told in rhyme

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