OD told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach. Instead, Jonah began to run from God. Now, going to Nineveh would have been a long trip. But it wasn't the trip that bothered Jonah. He evidently hated the Assyrians that lived in Nineveh. How strange. He claimed to fear God, but he had no regard for the people who (at that moment had the most to fear from God. God was ready to destroy Nineveh for their sins (Jonah 1:2). But Jonah didn't care. It seems that Jonah even considered death to be a better fate than having to preach to the Assyrians (Jonah 1:12).
Anyway, Jonah was running from God, and he knew it (Jonah 1:10). But God knew it too (Jonah 1:4). Running from God is more ridiculous than running from your own shadow. Jonah got on a ship headed for Tarshish, the opposite direction from Nineveh. And, as they sailed, he went to sleep in the belly of the ship. But God sent a storm to wake him up (both physically and spiritually). Next thing we know, Jonah is overboard & in the belly of a whale.