top of page

Jonah, where are you? - by James Archer

Scene: Jerusalem; a ship; inside a big fish; Nineveh.

Cast: Jonah, the voice of the Lord, 3 sailors, Moby – a great fish, Ninevites, Narrator


Jonah         (praying)  God bless father; God bless mother; God bless me!

Lord           Jonah, where are you?

Jonah         I’m here, Lord.

Lord           Jonah, I’ve got a job for you.

Jonah         Wow!  Will it be exciting?

Lord           I will do great things through you.  I want you to go to Nineveh.

Jonah         Nineveh!  But haven’t you heard what it’s like, Lord?  Their football fans are the worst thugs in the world!  It’s not safe                 on the streets!

Lord           Jonah, do not be afraid.  I will protect you.

Jonah         Hang on a minute, Lord.  I’ll put the kettle on while I think it over.

Lord           Jonah, where are you going? (Exit Jonah; next line is offstage)

Jonah         (out of breath)  ….. taxi, taxi.  Take me to the docks as quick as you can.  I want the first boat.  Anywhere except                     Nineveh.  Quickly!

Lord           Jonah, come back!  You don’t know what you’re missing!


Narrator    Then the Lord sent a great storm, so that the ship was in danger of breaking up.  (This scene accompanied by storm noises from the Lord)

Sailor 1     God of the sea, have mercy upon us!

Sailor 2     God of the wind, have mercy upon us!

Sailor 3     Is there no more cargo to ditch?

Sailor 1     No, it’s all gone, and it’s made no difference at all

Sailor 3     What else can we do?

Sailor 2     Pray louder!

Sailor 1     May the gods protect us!

Sailor 3     Where’s the man of God?  Get him to pray!

Sailors 1&2  (together)  Who?

Sailor 3     You know – whatsisname – Jonah.

Sailor 2     Jonah?  Where is he?

Sailor 1     Asleep while we are perishing.

Sailor 3     Then go and fetch him.

Sailor 1     Jonah, how can you sleep?

Sailor 2     Don’t you care if we drown?

Sailor 1     Get up and call on your God.

Sailor 2     Perhaps he can save us.

Sailor 3     Who is your God, anyway?

Jonah        I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the Land.

Sailor 2     Wh….. Wh….. What have you done?

Sailor 1     Why are you running away from him?

Sailor 3     For God’s sake, man, get down on your knees and pray!  It’s getting rougher all the time.

Sailor 1     Why is he angry with you?

Sailor 2     Why has he set this storm upon us?

Sailor 3     What can we do to appease him?

Jonah        Pick me up and throw me into the sea, and it will become calm.  I know that it is my fault that this storm is raging                       around you.

Sailor 2     But we can’t do  that!

Sailor 1     That’s murder!

Sailor 3     To oars, to oars! (next two lines are offstage)

Sailor 1     Harder, harder!

Sailor 2     It’s no good, we can’t do it!


Narrator    Meanwhile …..

Lord          Calling Moby 1, 2, Moby 1, 2.

Moby        This is Moby 1, 2, Moby 1, 2.

Lord           Moby, are you receiving me?

Moby        Yes, master, standing by to receive.

Lord           Where are you, Moby?  I’ve got a job for you.

Moby         Cruising just south of Cyprus, master.

Lord           Good?  Can you head south-east into a little storm I’ve stirred up.  I want you to swallow a prophet for me.

Moby         A gain?

Lord           No, a prophet.  And mind you swallow him whole.

Moby         Ho, ho, ho!  Sounds like a tasty morsel to me.  I’m going to have a whale of a time.

Lord           Thank you, Moby.  Over and out.


Narrator     Meanwhile, back on ship …..

Jonah         Oh Lord!

Lord           Jonah, where are you?

Jonah         I have been banished from your sight.

Lord           Jonah, where are you going?

Jonah         Let me die, for I do not deserve to live.

Lord           Jonah, come back to me.

Jonah         Do not blame them for killing me, for I have sinned against you.


Narrator     So they took Jonah, and threw him overboard, and immediately the sea grew calm.  At this, the sailors greatly feared the Lord.  But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah.


Jonah         In my distress, I called to the Lord, and he answered me.

Lord           Jonah, where are you?

Jonah         You hurled me into the raging sea; I choked, and water spluttered up my nose.  I fainted in terror, but you, o Lord,                      rescued me from death.

Lord           Jonah, where are you going?

Jonah         When I was desperate for help, I remembered you, my God, and I prayed to you.

Lord           Jonah, come back to me.

Jonah         I will worship you with all of my heart, and do whatever you ask me to.

Lord           Jonah, I’ve got a job for you.

Jonah         What is it, Lord?

Lord           I want you to go to Nineveh.

Jonah         Yes, Lord.


Moby         This is Moby 1, 2, Moby 1, 2.

Lord            Yes, Moby.  Have you reached land yet?

Moby          Yes, master.  Beirut in sight.  Only, master …..

Lord            Yes, Moby.

Moby          Well, er, master.  It’s this prophet inside me ….. He’s singing at the top of his voice.

Lord             Yes, I can hear him.  Isn’t it wonderful?

Moby          But master, he’s tone deaf, and it’s hurting my eardrums.  And besides, he’s jumping up and down so much, he’s                        making me feel sick.

All                (Sound of vomiting)  




Narrator     So Jonah went to Nineveh to proclaim the word of the Lord.  He went to the synagogue, but it was empty.  He went                    to the market-place, but it was deserted.  Then he heard a roar.

Ninevites    Nineveh, la la la, Nineveh, la la la.  We are the champions, we are the champions.  Oy – there’s a red scarf – get                  him!  Charge!  Nineveh, la la la, Nineveh, la la la.

Narrator     So Jonah went to the football ground.

Jonah         Hey, you guys, listen to me.  I’ve got a message from the Lord.  He’s not too happy with your behaviour; in fact, He’s                  very angry – so angry that He’s going to destroy your city completely.  In forty days – that’s on July the sixth (change                    date to 40 days after performance) – so you’d better do something about it pretty quick.

Narrator     The Ninevites believed God.  They were all afraid, from the prime minister to the miners, and they went on hunger-                      strike to show the Lord that they were sorry.  When God saw what they did, and how they turned from their evil                        ways, he had compassion on them, and he did not bring about the destruction he had threatened.  So there was                      great rejoicing in Nineveh:

Ninevites     We’re on our way to heaven, we shall not be moved.   Oh when the saints go marching in …..

Jonah          But Lord, you can’t do that!  They’ve spent years doing nothing but swearing at you and insulting your people, and                     you’ve let them off the hook!  It’s not fair!

Lord             Jonah, where are you?  Where are you going?  Come back to me.

Printable and editable Word version

bottom of page