Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Jonah and the Whale song - an extended version

The song "Jonah and the Whale" is much beloved at Sunday Schools. It's jolly but (like lots of Sunday School versions of the Jonah story) ends when Jonah came out of the fish, and misses out most of the interesting parts of the book of Jonah. In particular, there's no mention of the tree that Jonah shades under and is subsequently eaten by a worm, a strange little parable wrapped inside the whole strange parable that is the book of Jonah.

Here's the original song (written by Hugh Mitchell in 1957 - it's often uncredited but is listed by the Churches Copyright Licensing Authority). The tune can be found in various places online and in an organ version by Canon Quentin Bellamy:
Come listen to my tale
Of Jonah and the whale
Way down in the middle of the ocean.
Now how did he get there
Whatever did he wear
Way down in the middle of the ocean
A-preaching he should be
At Nineveh, you see -
To disobeys a very foolish notion.
But God forgave his sin
Salvation entered in
Way down in the middle of the ocean.
And here's our second verse (written by myself and my daughter):
God sent Jonah a tree
He said hip-hip-hooree
He sheltered neath its broad and shady branches.
But God sent down a worm
It wriggled and it squirmed
Deep down in the middle of the desert.
The worm ate up the tree
Near Nineveh you see
And Jonah got all hot and tired and bothered.
But God said to Jonah,
Dont you be a moaner,
Deep down in the middle of the desert. 
Original - copyright Hugh Mitchell, 1957; second verse copyright Magnus Ramage & Alice Calcraft, 2014. (Images: Jonah Journal by Rabbi David Paskin)