From The Work of God's Children
THE PROPHECY OF JONAH
JONAH prophesied in the reign of JEREBOAM II: as we learn from 2 Kings 14:25. To whom also he foretold his success in restoring all the borders of Israel. He was of GETH OPHER in the tribe of ZEBULUN, and consequently of GALILEE. He prophesied and prefigured in his own person the death and resurrection of CHRIST: and was the only one among the prophets that was sent to preach to the Gentiles.
Jonah had previously been spelled Jonas.
Jeroboam had previously been spelled Jereboam.
Jonah Chapter 1
Jonah being sent to preach in Nineveh, flees away by sea: a tempest rises: of which he being found, by lot, to be the cause, is cast into the sea, which thereupon is calmed.
1:1. Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amathi, saying:
1:2. Arise and go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach in it: For the wickedness thereof is come up before me.
Nineveh. . .The capital city of the Assyrian empire.
1:3. Jonah rose up to flee into Tarshish from the face of the Lord, and he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish: and he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the face of the Lord,
Tarshish sometimes spelled Tharsis. . .Which some take to be Tharsus of Cilicia, others to be Tartessus of Spain, others to be Carthage.
Joppa was previously spelled Joppe.
1:4. But the Lord sent a great wind to the sea: and a great tempest was raised in the sea, and the ship was in danger to be broken.
1:5. The mariners were afraid, and the men cried to their god: and they cast forth the wares that were in the ship, into the sea, to lighten it of them: and Jonah went down into the inner part of the ship, and fell into a deep sleep.
A deep sleep. . .This is a lively image of the insensibility of sinners, fleeing from God, and threatened on every side with his judgments: and yet sleeping as if they were secure.
1:6. The ship master came to him and said to him: Why are you fast asleep? rise up call upon your God, if so be that God will think of us that we may not perish.
1:7. They said every one to his fellow: Come and let us cast lots, that we may know why this evil is upon us. They cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
They took Jonah
, and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from raging. Jonah 1:15
1:8. They said to him: Tell us for what cause this evil is upon us, what is thy business? of what country are you? and where do you go? or of what people are you?
1:9. He said to them: I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, and the God of Heaven, who made both the sea and the dry land.
1:10. The men were greatly afraid, and they said to him: Why have you done this? (For the men knew that he fled from the face of the Lord: because he had told them.)
1:11. They said to him: What shall we do with you, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea flowed and swelled.
1:12. He said to them: take me up, and cast me into the sea, and the sea shall be calm to you: for I know for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
1:13. The men rowed hard to return the land, but they were not able: because the sea tossed and swelled upon them.
1:14. They cried to the Lord, and said: We beseech thee, O Lord let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for You, oh Lord, have done as it pleased You.
1:15. They took Jonah, and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from raging.
1:16. The men feared the Lord exceedingly, and sacrificed victims to the Lord, and made vows.
Jonah Chapter 2
Jonah is swallowed up by a great fish: he prays with confidence in God; and the fish casts him out on the dry land.
2:1. Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah: and Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights.
2:2. Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God, out of the belly of the fish.
2:3. He said: I cried out of my affliction to the Lord, and He heard me: I cried out of the belly of hell, and You have heard my voice.
2:4. You have cast me forth into the deep, in the heart of the sea, and a flood has compassed me: all Your billows, and Your waves have passed over me.
2:5. I said: I am cast away out of the sight of Your eyes: but yet I shall see the holy temple again.
2:6. The waters compassed me about even to the soul: the deep has closed me round about, the sea had covered my head.
2:7. I went down to the lowest parts of the mountains: the bars of the earth have shut me up forever: and You will bring up my life from corruption, O Lord, my God.
2:8. When my soul was in distress within me, I remembered the Lord: that my prayer may come to You, unto the holy temple.
2:9. They that in vain observe vanities, forsake their own mercy.
2:10. But I with the voice of praise will sacrifice to You: I will pay whatsoever I have vowed for my salvation to the Lord.
2:11. The Lord spoke to the fish: and it spewed out Jonah upon the dry land.
Spoke to the fish. . .God's speaking to the fish, was nothing else but His will, which all things obey.
Jonah Chapter 3
began to enter into the city one day's journey: and he cried and said: Yet forty days and Nineveh
shall be destroyed.Jonah 3:4
Jonah is sent again to preach in Nineveh. Upon their fasting and repentance, God recalls the sentence by which they were to be destroyed.
3:1. The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time saying:
3:2. Arise, and go to Nineveh, the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee.
3:3. Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord: now Nineveh was a great city of three days' journey.
Of three days' journey. . .By the computation of some ancient historians, Nineveh was about fifty miles round: so that to go through all the chief streets and public places was three days' journey.
3:4. Jonah began to enter into the city one day's journey: and he cried and said: Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed.
3:5. The men of Nineveh believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least.
Let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands.
The king of Nineveh
in sackcloth and ashesJonah 3:8
3:6. The word came to the king of Nineveh: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed in sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
3:7. He caused it to be proclaimed and published in Nineveh, from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen, nor sheep taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water.
3:8. Let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands.
3:9. Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish?
3:10. God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and God had mercy with regard to the evil which he had said that he would do to them, and he did it not.
Jonah Chapter 4
The Lord God prepared an ivy, and it came up over the head of Jonah
, to be a shadow over his head, and to cover him (for he was fatigued) ...Jonah 4:6
4:1. Jonah was exceedingly troubled, and was angry:
Was exceedingly troubled, etc. . .His concern was lest he should pass for a false prophet; or rather, lest God's word, by this occasion, might come to be slighted and disbelieved.
4:2. He prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord, is not this what I said, when I was yet in my own country? therefore I went before to flee into Tarshish: for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, patient, and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil.
4:3. Now, O Lord, I beseech thee take my life from me: for it is better for me to die than to live.
4:4. The Lord said: Do you think you have reason to be angry?
4:5. Then Jonah went out of the city, and sat toward the east side of the city: and he made himself a booth there, and he sat under it in the shadow, until he might see what would befall the city.
4:6. The Lord God prepared an ivy, and it came up over the head of Jonah, to be a shadow over his head, and to cover him (for he was fatigued): and Jonah was exceeding glad of the ivy.
The Lord God prepared an ivy. . .Hederam. In the Hebrew it is Kikajon, which some render a gourd: others a palmerist, or palma Christi.
4:7. But God prepared a worm, when the morning arose on the following day: and it struck the ivy and it withered.
4:8. When the sun was risen, the Lord commanded a hot and burning wind: and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, and he broiled with the heat: and he desired for his soul that he might die, and said: It is better for me to die than to live.
4:9. The Lord said to Jonah: Do you think you have reason to be angry, for the ivy? He said: I am angry with reason even unto death.
4:10. The Lord said: You art grieved for the ivy, for which you have not labored, nor made it to grow, which in one night came up, and in one night perished.
4:11. Shall I not spare Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons, that do not know how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and many beasts?
Distinguish between... God is referring to the children and infants.
---excerpt from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Book of Jonah - - This book professes to give an account of what actually took place in the experience of the prophet. Some critics have sought to interpret the book as a parable or allegory, and not as a history. They have done so for various reasons. Thus
(1.) some reject it on the ground that the miraculous element enters so largely into it, and that it is not prophetical but narrative in its form;
(2.) others, denying the possibility of miracles altogether, hold that therefore it cannot be true history. Jonah and his story is referred to by our Lord (Matthew 12:39, Matthew 12:40; Luke 11:29), a fact to which the greatest weight must be attached. It is impossible to interpret this reference on any other theory. This one argument is of sufficient importance to settle the whole question. No theories devised for the purpose of getting rid of difficulties can stand against such a proof that the book is a veritable history. There is every reason to believe that this book was written by Jonah himself. It gives an account of
(1.) his divine commission to go to Nineveh, his disobedience, and the punishment following (Jonah 1:1-17);
(2.) his prayer and miraculous deliverance (Jonah 1:17-2:10);
(3.) the second commission given to him, and his prompt obedience in delivering the message from God, and its results in the repentance of the Ninevites, and God's long-sparing mercy toward them (John 3:1);
(4.) Jonah's displeasure at God's merciful decision, and the rebuke tendered to the impatient prophet (John 4:1). Nineveh was spared after Jonah's mission for more than a century. The history of Jonah may well be regarded "as a part of that great onward movement which was before the Law and under the Law; which gained strength and volume as the fullness of the times drew near." Perowne's Jonah.
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