Photo courtesy of David Sharir

“Go at once to Nineveh,” God commands Jonah, “and cry out against” its wickedness (Jonah 1:1–2). But Jonah heads in the opposite direction from the Assyrian city, catching a ship to Tarshish (possibly in Spain) from the port of Jaffa. Israeli artist David Sharir depicts Jonah, bags in hand, sheepishly fleeing from God; this first painting in Sharir’s Jonah series also contains, in the panel at the right, a fond tribute to the picturesque Old City of Jaffa, where Sharir resides (see sidebar). Author Lance Wilcox suggests that the comical, fast-paced opening of the Book of Jonah signals that the narrative is a satire: Jonah, a caricature of the Reluctant Prophet often found in the Hebrew Bible, vainly attempts to hide from a God who is everywhere, even in Tarshish.