Outside the sphere of modern western civilizations, and those who have been heavily influenced by them, storytelling has traditionally been used to convey both entertainment and serious cultural ideology simultaneously. Fictitious tales are told with serious points to be made; in short, truth is conveyed by fiction. From the nineteenth century onwards the book of Jonah has been increasingly dismissed in western Christian prophetic biblical criticism because, unlike the other written prophets, it does not convey prophetic statements that can be related to historically verifiable events, but can be read only as a prophetic legend.1 This has not meant that the narrative has not been appreciated as a story. Instead of concentrating on the short prophetic message spoken by Jonah, commentators turned their attention to God’s word spoken to Jonah, not as the very word of God, but as an author’s narrative theology. The book became studied as an allegory, moral didactic tale/parable, or a prose poem, and it is still occasionally viewed as a narrative midrash on Exodus 34:6-7 or 2 Kings 14:25, or some other biblical text.2 The assumption that a clear distinction exists between an imaginative, ahistorical narrative and the conveying of truth is not normative for storytellers. In the case of Jonah the story is demonstrably fictitious, exaggerated and ironic, but the narrative clearly has something to say about God and about prophets that the author thought needed recording and that the compilers of the canon considered significant. Jonah should be viewed in light of other stories in the biblical tradition as an attempt to deal seriously with a perceived truth by means of a creative and imaginative fiction.