Jonah 1

Verse 15. I will plant them upon their land] They shall receive

a permanent establishment there.

And they shall no more be pulled up] Most certainly this

prophecy has never yet been fulfilled. They were pulled out by the

Assyrian captivity, and by that of Babylon. Many were planted in

again, and again pulled out by the Roman conquest and

captivity, and were never since planted in, but are now scattered

among all the nations of the earth. I conclude, as the word of God

cannot fail, and this has not yet been fulfilled, it therefore

follows that it will and must be fulfilled to the fulness of its

spirit and intention. And this is established by the conclusion:

"Saith the Lord thy God." He is JEHOVAH, and cannot fail; he is

THY GOD, and will do it. He can do it, because he is JEHOVAH; and

he will do it, because he is THY GOD. Amen.

THE BOOK

OF THE

PROPHET JONAH

Chronological Notes relative to this Book, upon the supposition

that the repentance of the Ninevites happened in the twenty-third

year of the reign of Jehu, king of Israel.

-Year from the Creation, according to Archbishop Usher, 3142.

-Year of the Julian Period, 3852.

-Year since the Flood, 1486.

-Year from the foundation of Solomon's temple, 150.

-Year since the division of Solomon's monarchy into the kingdoms

of Israel and Judah, 114.

-Year before the first Olympiad, 86.

-Year before the building of Rome, according to the Varronian

computation, 109.

-Year before the birth of Jesus Christ, 858.

-Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 862.

-Twelfth year of Charilaus, king of Lacedaemon, of the family of

the Proclidae.

-Fifty-second year of Archelaus, king of Lacedaemon, of the

family of the Eurysthenidae.

-Second year of Phereclus, perpetual archon of the Athenians.

-Fourteenth year of Alladius Sylvius, king of the Albans.

-Twenty-third year of Jehu, king of Israel.

-Seventeenth year of Joash, king of Judah.

CHAPTER I

Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish, 1-3.

He is overtaken by a great tempest, 4-14;

thrown into the sea, 15, 16;

and swallowed by a fish, in the belly of which he is

miraculously preserved alive three days and three nights, 17.

NOTES ON CHAP. I

Verse 1. Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah] All that is

certainly known about this prophet has already been laid before

the reader. He was of Gath-hepher, in the tribe of Zebulun, in

lower Galilee, Jos 19:13; and he prophesied in the reigns of

Jeroboam the Second, and Joash, kings of Israel. Jeroboam came to

the throne eight hundred and twenty-three years before the

Christian era, and reigned in Samaria forty-one years,

2Ki 14:23-25. As a prophet, it is likely that he had but this

one mission.

Verse 2. Go to Nineveh] This was the capital of the Assyrian

empire, and one of the most ancient cities of the world,

Ge 10:10, 11; and one of the

largest, as it was three days' journey in circumference. Ancient

writers represent it as oblong; being in length one hundred and

fifty stadia, and ninety in breadth, the compass being four

hundred and eighty stadia. Now as the stadium is allowed to have

been equal to our furlong, eight of which make a mile, this

amounts to fifty-four English miles: see on Jon 3:3. But we must

not suppose that all this space was covered with compact streets

and buildings; it took in a considerable space of country,

probably all the cultivated ground necessary to support all the

inhabitants of that district. Calmet computes the measurement of

the circumference to be equal to twenty-five French leagues. It is

reported to have had walls one hundred feet high, and so broad

that three chariots might run abreast upon them. It was situated

on the Tigris, or a little to the west, or on the west side of

that river. It was well peopled, and had at this time one hundred

and twenty thousand persons in it reputed to be in a state of

infancy, which on a moderate computation would make the whole

number six hundred thousand persons. But some, supposing that

persons not being able to distinguish their right hand from their

left must mean children under two years of age, and reckoning one

such child for every twenty persons from that age upwards, make

the population amount to two millions five hundred thousand. Nor

can this be considered an exaggerated estimate, when we know that

London, not one-tenth of the size of ancient Nineveh, contains a

population of upwards of one million. But calculations of this

kind, relative to matters of such remote antiquity, are generally

precarious, and not very useful: and ancient authors, though the

only guides, are not always safe conductors. Mosul is generally

supposed to be the same as the ancient Nineveh. It is in the

province of Dearbekir, on the west bank of the Tigris.

Their wickedness is come up before me.] This is a

personification of evil. It ascends from earth to heaven; and

stands before the Supreme Judge, to bear witness against its own

delinquency, and that of the persons whom it has seduced.

Verse 3. To flee unto Tarshish] Some say Tartessus, in Spain,

near the straits of Gibralter, others, Tarsus, in Cilicia; and

others, Taprobana, or the island of Ceylon, formerly called

Taprobah; and Tabrobavagh in Sanscrit, to the present day.

And went down to Joppa] This place is celebrated as that where

Andromeda, daughter of Cepheus, was chained to a rock, and

exposed to be devoured by a sea-monster, from which she was

delivered by the valour of Perseus. It is the nearest port to

Jerusalem on that side of the Mediterranean.

And he found a ship] The Phoenicians carried on a considerable

trade with Tartessus, Eze 27:12; and it was probably in one of

their ships that Jonah embarked.

He paid the fare thereof] He paid for his passage. This shows

that there was traffic between the two places, and that each

passenger paid a stated fare.

From the presence of the Lord.] He considered that God was

peculiarly resident in Judea; and if he got out of that land, the

Lord would most probably appoint another prophet to carry the

message; for Jonah appears to have considered the enterprise as

difficult and dangerous, and therefore wished to avoid it.

Verse 4. A great wind] They were overtaken with a storm, which

appears from the sequel to have come by the immediate direction of

God.

Like to be broken] They had nearly suffered shipwreck.

Verse 5. Cried every man unto his god] The ship's crew were all

heathens; and, it is probable, heathens who had each a different

object of religious worship.

Cast forth the wares] Threw the lading overboard to lighten the

ship, hoping the better to ride out the storm.

Jonah was gone down] Most probably into the hold or cabin

under the deck; or where they had berths for passengers in the

sides of the ship; something in the manner of our packets.

Was fast asleep.] Probably quite exhausted and overcome with

distress, which in many cases terminates in a deep sleep. So the

disciples in the garden of Gethsemane.

Verse 6. The shipmaster] Either the captain or the pilot.

Arise, call upon thy God] He supposed that Jonah had his god, as

well as they had theirs; and that, as the danger was imminent,

every man should use the influence he had, as they were all

equally involved in it.

Verse 7. Come, and let us cast lots] This was a very ancient

mode of endeavouring to find out the mind of Divine Providence;

and in this case it proves that they supposed the storm to have

arisen on account of some hidden crime of some person aboard.

A philosopher being at sea in a violent storm. when the crew

began to call earnestly to the gods for safety, he said, "Be

silent, and cease your prayers; for should the gods know that you

are here, we shall all be lost."

The lot fell upon Jonah.] In this case God directed the lot.

Verse 8. Tell us-for whose cause] A very gentle method of

bringing the charge home to himself, and the several questions

here asked gave the utmost latitude to make the best of his own

case.

Verse 9. I fear the Lord] In this Jonah was faithful. He gave an

honest testimony concerning the God he served, which placed him

before the eyes of the sailors as infinitely higher than the

objects of their adoration; for the God of Jonah was the God of

heaven, who made the sea and the dry land, and governed both. He

also honestly told them that he was fleeing from the presence of

this God, whose honourable call he had refused to obey. See

Jon 1:10.

Verse 11. What shall we do unto thee] In these poor men there

was an uncommon degree of humanity and tender feeling.

Verse 12. I know that for my sake] I am not worthy to live;

throw me overboard. God will not quiet the storm till I am cast

out of the ship. Here was deep compunction; and honest avowal of

sin; and a justification of the displeasure which God had now

manifested.

Verse 13. The men rowed hard] Were very unwilling to proceed to

this extremity, and thought they would risk every thing rather

than cast this disobedient prophet into the great deep.

Verse 14. They cried unto the Lord] Under a conviction that he

was the self-existing Being, the Maker of the heavens and the

earth, and the author of the present storm, they put up their

prayers to him.

Let us not perish for this man's life] They were now about to

cast him overboard; but seemed to call God to witness that it

was with the utmost reluctance, and only in obedience to his

command. There is a parallel passage in the Argonautics, which has

been quoted to illustrate this:-

πολλαδεμερμηριζονενιφρεσιπευκαλιμησι

ημεναποφθισωσικαιιχθυσικυρμαβαλωσιν

αινολεχημηδειαναποτρεψωσιδεριννυν

Ver. 1171.

"And much they doubted, in their prudent minds,

Whether to kill and cast a prey to fishes

Wretched Medea, and avert their fate."

See Newcome.

Verse 16. Offered a sacrifice] The first perhaps ever offered on

board a vessel since the ark floated on the waters of the great

deluge; and it is most probable that these heathens, witnessing

what was done, became sincere converts to the true God.

Verse 17. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish] dag

gadol. This could not have been a whale, for the throat of that

animal can scarcely admit a man's leg; but it might have been a

shark, which abounds in the Mediterranean, and whose mouth and

stomach are exceedingly capacious. In several cases they have been

known to swallow a man when thrown overboard. See the note on

Mt 12:40, where the whole subject of this verse is considered

at large. That days and nights do not, among the Hebrews, signify

complete days and nights of twenty-four hours, see Es 4:16,

compared with Es 5:1; Jud 14:17, 18. Our Lord lay in the grave

one natural day, and part of two others; and it is most likely

that this was the precise time that Jonah was in the fish's belly.

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