"as Jonah was sent to the Ninevites"
Painting of Jonah on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1511)
Public DomainPainting of Jonah on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1511) - Credit: Michelangelo

In the Book of Jonah, Jonah, the sole righteous man in Nineveh, is chosen by God to warn his fellow citizens that their iniquity will result in the city’s destruction. Reluctant to embrace this role, Jonah flees in a boat. God besets the vessel with storms, leaving the other sailors no choice but to throw him overboard. He is then swallowed by a large fish – or whale – which has been sent by God and in whose innards he dwells for three days before being vomited out. God once more entreats Jonah to prophecy destruction to the Ninevites, and this time he obeys. The Ninevites heed his word and proclaim a fast. As a result of their humility, God spares them his wrath.