Jonah was a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel from the 8th century BC. He is the central figure of the Book of Jonah, and is known for the story in which he was swallowed by a whale. His story is also told in the Qur'an.
Jonah attempts to flee from his duty to God. As a result, God sends a storm that nearly capsizes his ship. Because of this, his name has become a term for someone believed to be jinxed, and therefore dangerous to those around them, especially among seamen.