A study conducted by The Three Faiths Forum
Hebrew Bible - Jewish Text
Jonah 1; 1-4. 1;12. 1;15. 2; 1-4
“God said to Jonah son of Amittai, “Leave and go to the great city Nineveh, and speak out against it, because they are evil people”. But Jonah fled from God to the city of Tarshish;…he found a ship going to Tarshish, paid, and went down into it to travel with them to Tarshish away from God. But God cast a mighty wind into the sea, and there was a furious storm on the sea, and the ship was in danger of sinking. He (Jonah) said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea, so that the sea storm will subside from you; I know that it is because of me this mighty storm is upon you."… So they picked Jonah up and cast him into the sea, and the sea stopped storming…The Lord appointed a huge fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights…And Jonah prayed to the Lord his God, from the belly of the fish. And he said: I called out in my distress to God, and He answered me; from the belly of the grave I cried out, You heard my voice’”
New Testament – Christian Text
“When he (Jesus) was twelve, his parents went up to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. On their way home from the feast, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing… they failed to find him and went back to Jerusalem looking everywhere. Three days later they found him in the Temple sitting with the scholars, asking them questions. Everyone who heard his questions was amazed by his intelligence…his parents were overcome with relief when they saw him and gasped ‘We have been so worried looking for you!’. He replied ‘You should have known I was busy with religious affairs!’”
Qur’an – Muslim Text
The Prophets 51-73, Quran 21:51-73
“When he (Abraham) said to his father and his people, “What are these values which you cling to with devotion?” They said, “Our fathers worshipped them”. He said, “Clearly you and your fathers are making a mistake”. They said, “Have you come to us with the truth or are you joking with us?”. He said, “No - your God is the God of the heavens and the earth, who created them, and I believe that. And by God, I will scheme against your idols after you have gone and turned your backs”. And he smashed them all (the idols) to fragments, except the largest... They [returned and] exclaimed, “Who has done this to our gods?!”. Someone said,… “Abraham!”. They said, “Bring him before the people to justify his actions!”. They said to Abraham, “Have you done this to our gods, Abraham?!” He said, “No, this was done by your largest god – if he can speak and is so powerful, ask him!”. Afterwards they said to themselves “Actually it is we ourselves who are the wrongdoers”. Then they were made to hang their heads”.All translations have been adapted and paraphrased by Miriam Kaye for the specific purpose of Tools 4 Trialogue textual study. Tools 4 Trialogue is a programme of the Three Faiths Forum.
Suggested Notes for Facilitators
Questions on the Texts
1. Why does Jonah run away?
2. Does he really think he can escape God?
3. What does the text tell us about people’s relationships with God?
4. What do we learn about people who rebel from God or from their duties?
5. Why does the end of the text portray Jonah praying to God? Why was Jonah praying to God?