Seventeen stanzas with the acrostic TON ΠPOΦHTHN KYPIOY ("the prophet of the Lord"). The grammatical form of the first two words (an isolated accusative) and the absence of the poet's name in the acrostic give rise to speculation that parts of this kontakion are missing; but the plot seems complete and integral, with all the standard features of the genre.
With just four brief chapters, the Book of Jonah is among the shortest in the Old Testament. Even so, Romanos here concentrates on what might seem to be the less dramatic elements in the final half of the prophet's mission to Nineveh. Jonah's initial reluctance is mentioned only in passing (stanza 13); the storm at sea, the whale, the improbable psalm, and the delivery of the prophet to his destination play no role in the work. Rather, after three general stanzas stressing the Lord's freely given compassion, Romanos announces to his congregation: "My brethren, let us pay heed to these Ninevites: they are the topic of this hymn" (4.1). The city's contrition and penance are then described in great detail through the words of the king, who acts as a spokesman for his people (6.5-10.10). The Ninevites go one step beyond repentance by begging for and receiving God's pity (12). This turn of events infuriates Jonah, who describes himself as "a prophet of wrath, not forgiveness. I am a stiff-necked servant" (13.8-9). The destruction of the gourd plant allows Romanos to draw a forceful moral from his sung sermon: like the implacable Elijah in kontakion 45, Jonah must learn "to cherish repentance." 1
Scripture (graphē) is mentioned once (12.1). Both the king's direct sub