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Introduction

Who is the main focus in the book of Jonah?  Is it Jonah.  a whale, a boat, or what?  Ther main focus is God. 

The Name:    God    Appears 15 Times
The title:    Lord     Appears 26 times

The Name    Jonah    Appears 17 Times

                  15   God
                  26 Lord
                  41 Times

So God is the focal point and not Jonah.  If you have a problem with Jonah, you really have a problem with God.


JONAH EXEGESIS

1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

The word of the \Lord\ came
A Preemptory Word
Without the call and Revelation of God there can be no Prophet
How God spoke is not as important as knowing God spoke.
the book begins wit divine activity

to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,
Jonah means dove -- Gen.8:8-9
actual personage
K & E say Jonah was an old man ... p379
Geth-Hepher, in the tribe of Zebulon.
 

2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

"Arise, go to Nineveh the great city,
Absolute, imperative final, arise and go are imperatives
The only account of a Prophet being sent to the heathen.
for Nineveh's good
for the purpose of shaming Israel
Nineveh 500 miles from Palestine, bordered on three sides by rivers,
capitol of the gentile world, East bank of the Tigris River. One of
the oldest cities in the world
 
and cry against it,
to proclaim or recite the message of God
 
for their wickedness has come up before Me."
what happens with men is known to God
fertility cult worship, cruelty to victims in warfare
 

3.    But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

But Jonah rose up to flee
Jonah needed to bow and submit to God's will instead of saying "but"
Jonah rose but in disobedience
Jonah resigned
renounce the office of prophet rather than to carry out the mission
A prophet fleeing from his God you can flee from duty but not control
 
to Tarshish
a mining colony near the Rock of Gibraltar
as far away as he could go
knew the city he wanted to go to in advance
only record of a prophet charged with a message concealing it
 
from the presence of the \Lord.
he probably knew Ps 139:7-10 but ignored it
some thought the presence of God was localized
this may mean from the special presence of God
 

So he went down to Joppa,
part of modern Telaviv modern
 
found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare,
had he gone to Nineveh his way would have been paid
obedience is economical, disobedience is expensive
the fare of the ship was his smallest payment
 
and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish
away from God's direction is always downward.
 
from the presence of the \Lord.\
note repetition of this phrase
 

4 And the LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.

And the \Lord\ hurled a great wind on the sea
the direct action of God
Jonah wont preach so God preaches through a storm
 
and there was a great storm on the sea
God planned to stop Jonah's progress
Jonah just thinks he is fleeing
 
so that the ship was about to break up.
These sailors knew the danger.
 

5 Then the sailors became afraid, and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten {it} for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep.

Then the sailors became afraid,
evidence this storm was out of the ordinary
sin of one involves others
 
and every man cried to his god,
what ever religion one has is stirred in danger
worshippers of foreign gods
 
and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them.
cargo becomes unimportant
do we need to throw habits away etc.
vessel will ride higher
practical help and prayer
 
But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep.
Jonah asleep but God is awake
falsely feels secure and at peace
gone down before the storm
sleep is not proof of incense or God's approval
sleep can come from carnality and a seared conscious
Down to Joppa down in the ship and laid down, the direction is downward.
 

6 So the captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps {your} god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish."

So the captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping?
The ship is about to break and Jonah doesn't even seem to care.
 
Get up, call on your god.
the offended god must be placated -- Propitiation
captain rebukes Jonah's lack of concern
irony here as a heathen pleas with the prophet
 
Perhaps {your} god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.
Any god in a storm philosophy.
 

7 And each man said to his mate, "Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity {has struck} us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

And each man said to his mate, "Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity {has struck} us." So they cast lots
sailors believe somebody has offended a God
The basic passage is Prov. 16:33.
1. The selection of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:8)
2. The division of the promised land (Num. 26:55 and Josh. 18:5-10).
3. The detection of a culprit (Josh. 7:14-18 and Jonah 1:7)
4. The choice of Saul as King (1 Sam 10:19
5. the order of priest and their duties (Chron. 24:5 and Luke 1:9)
God sometimes sanctioned the casting of lots as a mode of deciding in difficult cases.
Acts 1:26 The last time lots are mentioned in the Bible.

and the lot fell on Jonah.
Neither God nor Jonah were surprised.
 

8 Then they said to him, "Tell us, now! On whose account {has} this calamity {struck} us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"

"Tell us, now! On whose account {has} this calamity {struck} us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"
Five rapid and pertinent questions
Was displeasing to God.
Also about his parentage, and especially about the land
These questions must have gone home to Jonah's conscience
Make a full confession with his own mouth
 

9 And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land."

And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the \Lord\
It is used in the Old Testament, only when they are spoken of by foreigners, or speak of
themselves to foreigners
Jonah answers the last question first.
I fear the Lord- in profession: his practice belied his profession
The sailors did not ask Jonah concerning his God, but he was impelled to confess freely
 
God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land."
The heathen had distinct gods for the "heaven," the "sea," and "land."
Jonah was but the reflection of Israel's backsliding from God,
Continuous action of fearing
The absolute superiority of his God who made
He had told them before,
The title, the God of heaven, asserts the doctrine of the creation of the heavens by God
If he lost filial fear by fleeing and disobeying, be recovered it by repentance.
Was master of the seas (Jos. 3:10)
Though orthodox in his beliefs, Jonah refuses to fulfill his divine mission to Ninevah.
 

10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, "How could you do this?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

Then the men became extremely frightened
Before, they had feared the tempest and the loss of their lives. Now they feared God.
Such fear is the beginning of conversion
There appears in the test a strong verbal expression of fear--"they feared with a great
fear"--i.e., they were exceedingly afraid.
Like most pagans, these men were greatly feared that the wrath of God would fall upon them
for their failing to worship Him properly.
 
and they said to him, "How could you do this?"
If professors of religion do wrong, they will hear of it from those who make no such profession.
An exclamation of horror at his flight from Jehovah
The storm preached the omnipotence of God more powerfully
Their question was why flee?
For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the \Lord,\ because he had told them. Jonah had answered some questions before securing passage on the vessel.
 

11 So they said to him, "What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?"-- for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.

So they said to him, "What should we do to you
God is to be appeased (Cf. 2 Kings 17:25-27)
They knew him to be a prophet
 
that the sea may become calm for us?"
They knew him to be a prophet; they ask him the mind of God.
-- for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.
But like a thing alive and obeying its Master's Will
 

12 And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm {has come} upon you."

And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you,
Desiring to perish, and not let others perish on his account."
Jonah showed a more noble side of his character.

for I know that on account of me this great storm {has come} upon you."
Rather than go to Nineveh he preferred to die
 

13 However, the men rowed {desperately} to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming {even} stormier against them.

However, the men rowed {desperately} to return to land but they could not,
"To dig" with oars
The reluctance of the sailors to throw Jonah into the sea stands in sharp contrast to Jonah's reluctance.
The Hebrew word Chathat does not mean to row, but to break through;
Their concern for one life stands in marked contrast to the attitude of Jonah.
They lay down their oars and appealed to God.
 
for the sea was becoming {even} stormier against them.
Yahweh was not pleased with their plan.
God's displeasure and God's counsel-were against them.
 
14 Then they called on the LORD and said, "We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for Thou, O LORD, hast done as Thou hast pleased."

Then they called on the LORD
Cried with an earnest, submissive cry, as men do in great earnestness.
The heathen sailors pray to Jonah's God before following Jonah's advice.
Prayed with submission towards God, and much fervor.
 
and said, "We earnestly pray, O \Lord,\
Prepared by education and discipline to receive the truth.
This second prayer came in light of knowledge and reverent fear.
Double use of particles, cried, beseech.
 
do not let us perish on account of this man's life
They seem to know something of the Noachic Law that punished murder.
 
and do not put innocent blood on us;  for Thou, O \Lord,\ hast done as Thou hast pleased."
They forsake idolatry and abandoned their former gods.
They seek to know the true God.
They regard Jonah as a prophet or servant of the Almighty God, upon
whom, from fear of his God, they do not venture to lay their hand.
Fear had changes from blind terror of the unknown to reverent fear of God.
Wonderful, concise, confession of faith in these new converts.
He has been detected by casting of lots, he has passed sentence on himself, is all Thy doing.
 
 
15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.

So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea,
As it were bearing him with respect and honor.
Revering his God, they respected him.
This was a sacrifice caused by sin.
Jonah's disobedience caused Jonah's death.

and the sea stopped its raging.
There was suddenly a great calm.
The sea, when it had received Jonah, was hushed at once, to shew that God alone had raised it and quelled it.
It stood still, like a servant, when it had accomplished its mission.
Storm preaching is over.
A proof of God's power over the elements of nature.
At the sight of the sudden great calm "the men feared the Lord exceedingly"
Jehovah proved able, the soldiers believed and latter make vows
 
 
16 Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

Then the men feared the \Lord\ greatly,
In wonder and awe they feared the Lord exceedingly, for they too were capable of
recognizing and confessing that the God of Israel was all powerful and universal.
The arm of the holy God was so suddenly manifested.
Their fear of God could then be translated "worship."
 
and they offered a sacrifice to the \Lord\
Not after they landed, but immediately, on board the ship.
God in longsuffering had extended His salvation to the Gentiles.

and made vows.
How would Jonah know of these vows?
They combine faith and works.
The mariners honored their fear by offering a sacrifice and making vows.
Forsaking their idols, made a sacrifice of thanksgiving pledged themselves to Israel's God.
Vowed more when they should land.
The text implies that they sacrificed immediately on the cessation of the storm.
 
 
17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
 
And the \Lord\ appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah,
The text makes it clear that the fish was specially prepared by the Lord.
Tomb that received the body of our Lord; yet in this they were alike that they had been unused as tombs before.
A whale, because this is extremely rare in the Mediterranean
The fish is simply a humble servant of the saving God.
The creature could be any large fish of even something created for the moment.
A miracle in any view is needed and we have no data to speculate further.
God could as easily have kept Jonah alive in the sea as in the fish's belly, but in order to prefigure the burial of the Lord, He willed him to be within the belly.
 
and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
The three days and three nights are not to be regarded as fully three times twenty hours, but are to be interpreted according to Hebrew usage.
Was a rare type of miracle.
by miracle, was not consumed; by miracle, breathed; by miracle, retained his senses.
On the third day; the Hebrew counting the first and third parts of days as whole twenty-four hour days.
The antitype confirms the truth of the type.
It is not credible that Christ would use a mere legendary tale, with no historical basis, to confirm his most solemn statement concerning the momentous fact of His resurrection.
 
 

JON 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the \Lord\ his God from the stomach of the fish,

Then Jonah prayed to the \Lord\ his God
Jonah had finally become willing to pray.
Jonah why pray in disobedience "His God"
Jonah ceased to pray when he began to rebel.
Rebellion cannot join hands with communion.
 
from the stomach of the fish,
The voice of a child is heard wherever he cries in distress.
He did not pray for deliverance from the fish, but praised God for delivering him by the fish.
No place is amiss for prayer.
 

JON 2:2 and he said, #"I called out of my distress to the \Lord,\ And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.

and he said, #"I called out of my distress to the \Lord,
It is in the past tense throughout, in keeping with the fact it was composed after the
experience.
Jonah at least knew to whom to pray.
Jonah, however, had always known the true God.

And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.
The region of the dead.
The deep waters were as a grave, he was counted among the dead.
Inside the fish was a kind of grave.
 

JON 2:3 "For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas
And the current engulfed me. All Thy breakers and billows passed over me.

For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas
His heart turns again toward the temple of the true God.
"Thou" Jonah recognized the source whence his sufferings come.
 
And the current engulfed me. All Thy breakers and billows passed over me.
"breakers" the latter "rolling billows"
This line is an exact reproduction of a line in Psalm 42:7.
Surrounded him, encompassing him on all sides.
The punishment of God is often intense, but love is seen in it all.
Thy waves and Thy billows, because he felt in his conscience that the sea with its waves and billows was the servant of God and of His wrath, to punish sin.
Not only does he confess the evil of his ways, but makes vows to God.
 

JON 2:4 "So I said, 'I have been expelled from Thy sight.     Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.'

"So I said, 'I have been expelled from Thy sight.
"I", in the emphatic position.
I am cast forth, driven forth.
Literally as being expelled from "in front of thy eyes."
From thy protecting care.
Jonah had willfully withdrawn from standing in God's presence. Now God had taken him at his word,
A just retribution on one who had fled "from the presence of the Lord."
He feels it his bitterest sorrow to be deprived of God's presence, which once he regarded as a burden
He had turned his back on God; so God turned His back on him, making his sin his punishment.
A strong term, implying banishment with violence.
Fears that he has forfeited the favor of God.
A strong term implying banishment with violence.
From thy protecting care.
 
Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.'
Banishment from the temple means to the speaker banishment from God's presence.
His faith pierced the darkness, and pictured the mercy-seat and the Divine presence.
"If I be cast away, this one thing will I do, I will still look to God. Magnificent faith!
In the confidence of faith he anticipates yet to see the temple of Jerusalem.
Jonah saw more than justice; he saw God's love, also, and hopefully pled for mercy.
Jonah will turn in prayer.
In the confidence of faith he anticipates yet to see the temple at Jerusalem.
What he could not do in body, he would do in his soul.
The Jews were wont to turn towards Jerusalem when they prayed.
A special place set apart by God's presence.
 

JON 2:5 "Water encompassed me to the point of death.    The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.

"Water encompassed me to the point of death.
There was but a breath between him and death.
The waters so encompassed the psalmist that he thought his existence was about to be changed from life to death.
Death seemed so certain.

The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.
Jonah sank to the bottom before he was swallowed by the fish.
Since seaweeds grow at the bottom of the ocean, the depth of distress and hopelessness is seen.
Portions of sea-weed, swallowed by the fish, wrapped itself around him.
Water "at my throat" clearly conveys "threatened my life," the more normal translation of the word.
Entangled with the other material within the fish.
So that there was no escape. The weed was like a grave-band.
Jonah sank to the bottom before he was swallowed by the fish.
He found himself in the fish's stomach, together with seaweeds.
 

JON 2:6 "I descended to the roots of the mountains.    The earth with its bars { was} around me forever,   But Thou hast brought up my life from the pit,   O \Lord\ my God.

"I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The Hebrew conceived of the earth as floating upon the great deep of waters.
The cuttings off, where the mountains seem to be cut off by the ocean floor; the roots of the mountains.
Such hidden rocks extend along the whole length of that coast. These were dungeon-walls.
Seems to refer to the bases or foundations of the mountains in the ocean.

The earth with its bars { was} around me forever,
Her bars, those long submarine reefs of rock, his prison-bars, were around him for ever: the sea-weeds were his chains.
Sheol was thought to be below the subterranean ocean.
The bars signify a physical beam of a city gate. The author thought that he was doomed for ever to separation from the land of the living.
Sheol was thought to be below the subterranean ocean.
Submarine reefs of rock, his prison bars.
The gate by which I might return was locked behind me.
Because he had no power in himself of returning to earth and life.

But Thou hast brought up my life from the pit,
The deliverance has already taken place.
Had not God sent the fish to deliver him.
His rescue was like a resurrection of the body, and displayed the grace and power of Jehovah.
Against hope he believes in hope, and speaks as if the deliverance were actually being accomplished.
In spite of it all, I am preserved.
If the Lord be our God, he will be to us the resurrection and the life.
These words "Oh Lord, my God" are full of meaning, and express the faith and joy of the Prophet.
After he felt himself safe in the fish's belly, he despaired not of God's mercy.
His sure hope of deliverance is through Jehovah's infinite resources.
Salvation is an act of God in the face of the impossible.

O \Lord\ my God.
Being the God of all, He was especially his God.
These words are full of meaning, and express the faith and joy of the Prophet.
He allows each to say, my GOD, as if the infinite God belonged wholly to each.
Corruption would be better rendered grave.
God the Creator is seen also to be God the Redeemer.
Jonah recognized the concern of God for him personally.
 
 
JON 2:7 "While I was fainting away, I remembered the \Lord\; And my prayer came to Thee,   Into Thy holy temple.

 "While I was fainting away,
The word is used of actual faintness from heat, thirst, exhaustion, when a film comes over the eyes.
The worst fainting is in the mind.

I remembered the \Lord\;
That was his salvation
All his former thought of God had been forgetfulness.
Remembrance of God's power, God's promise, God's readiness to save, will renew our strength.
To act on the basis of commitment.
This suggests the renewal of his submission to the divine will.
Faith revived when Jonah "remembered the Lord."
Spiritual light shone on that depth of darkness.

And my prayer came to Thee,
Yahweh was ready to hear and to help those who looked to him in sincerity.
He poured out his heart in prayer.
God heard the prophet's cry, though uttered from the ocean's depths, and when he heard, he came to the rescue of his servant.
No sooner had he so prayed, than God heard.
Prayer is the characteristic activity of the Christian life.

Into Thy holy temple.
Many commentators are certain this temple is not the building in Jerusalem, but the
Heavenly palace of Isaiah.
Ordinarily, prayer was to be offered in the courts of the temple at Jerusalem.
Physical separation from the temple does not prevent the prayer that is offered from
reaching God in his holy temple.
The sanctuary where God's presence was most assured.
He regards his prayer as already heard.
My prayer being sent to him was heard in the highest heavens though it was prayed in the
lowest deeps.
Pictured the mercy-seat and the Divine presence.
God, who is wholly everywhere but the whole of Him no where, was as much in the Temple as in heaven.
 

JON 2:8 "Those who regard vain idols   Forsake their faithfulness,

"Those who regard vain idols
Reverence to idols, powerless to save.
Vanity has the sense of worthlessness.
Contrasts himself in his reliance upon God with those who in the distress of their souls have turned to idols.
Vain is a figure of something unsubstantial or worthless.
Regard or reverence idols, powerless to save.
Forfeit the "loyal love," "grace," or "mercy" they could have from Yahweh.
His own idol had been his false love for his country, that he would not have his people go into captivity.
Patriotism is a poor God.
Vanity is the quality of state of being vain, unreal, profitless.
All men's idols, idols of flesh, idols of intellect, idols of ambition, idols of pride, idols of self and self-will. Men guard them as though they could keep them, but the are breath and wind, vanishing like air into air.
Jonah contrasts the joy and comfort arising from the thought of God with the miserable fate of idolaters.
Lying vanities--a descriptive name for the idols and gods of paganism.

Forsake their faithfulness,
In abandoning their God, they give up the love and mercy.
All alike forsake their own mercy.
Naomi praise God, that He hath not forsaken His mercy.
They take nothing from God, but rob themselves.
Divine favor which is better than life, and commit moral suicide.
Those that worship other gods, as the heathen mariners did, and expect relief and comfort from them, turn their back upon their own happiness.
They take nothing from God, but rob themselves of natural enjoyments, Divine favor which is better than life, and commit moral suicide.
Mercy is not getting what we deserve--Grace is getting what we don't deserve.
His own idol had been his false love for his country; and by leaving his office he forsook God, His mercy.
Jonah reaffirmed his repudiation of idolatry as a way of worship.
 

JON 2:9 But I will sacrifice to Thee With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay.    Salvation is from the \Lord\.

 But I will sacrifice to Thee
An expression of gratitude to God, rather than an effort to appease his wrath.
To express gratitude for the favor that has been shown.
The emphatic I plus the adversative conjunction makes a contrast with the idolaters.

With the voice of thanksgiving.
Not to gain God's favor, but to express gratitude for the favor that has been shown.
It was uttered while deliverance was yet in the future.
The law appointed sacrifices of thanksgiving; these he would offer, not in act only.
The emphatic I plus the adversative conjunction, but makes a contrast with the idolaters.
His sacrifice of thanksgiving should be offered with prayer and praise.
So Jehoshaphat appointed singers to praise the Lord in front of the army before the battle with Moab and Ammon, as if the victory was already gained. God honors such confidence in Him.
The praise of Yahweh is the most commanded activity in scripture.
His sacrifice of thanksgiving should be offered with prayer and praise.
Thanksgiving is grateful acknowledgement of favors and gift.
Illust.  My granddaughter saying this was fun grandpa, put her hand in mine.
Jonah's sacrifice should be offered with prayer and praise.

That which I have vowed I will pay.
Vows made in the extremity of distress which now the psalmist is glad to fulfill.
He would pay what he had vowed, and chiefly himself, his life which God had given back to him.
Although the vow was not required, once made it was to be performed.
The Hebrew word seemeth to imply two things:
    1. That his vow till paid was incomplete.
    2. Till that were done he could not be at peace within himself.

Probably his vow was that if God would deliver him he would readily go wherever he should please to send him,
A sacred promise to God to abstain from certain things or practices or to perform certain things.
Chiefly himself, his life which God had given back.
The vow was a voluntary promise or pledge of material or spiritual nature.

Salvation is from the \Lord\.
Salvation is a gift of God, not an achievement of man.
It is wholly His, none can share in bestowing it, none can have any hope, save from Him.
An intensive form, as though he would say, strong might.
In truth, God alone saves and delivers.
As to the sustaining of the work in a man's heart, salvation is of the Lord.
May be considered a type and figure of Christ's resurrection.
He who knows no impossibility caused the fish to feel ill and head toward the shore.
It was a complete salvation. Jonah was not left in the deep, nor sent to the surface to swim to land.
He was left in no danger, but enjoyed a perfect rescue.
May be considered a type and figure of Christ's resurrection.
He who knows no impossibility caused the fish to feel ill and head toward the shore.
The book of Jonah intended to be a hint to His own nation that He was also interested in other nations.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord. This is a confession, a praise, a creed, and a summary of the psalm. In truth, God alone saves and delivers.
Jonah's experience shall encourage others, in all ages, to trust in God as the God of their salvation.
 

JON 2:10 Then the \Lord\ commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

Then the \Lord\ commanded the fish,
The inner assurance that God saves was matched by an actual even.
At exactly the right moment, Jehovah spake unto the fish, and it vomited Jonah.
    1. The power of God over all creatures.
    2. The ease with which God governs all creatures.

He has only to speak-the world is created, the storm is stilled, and the dead raised.
If only God's people were as obedient as the rest of his creation.

May be considered a type and figure of Christ's resurrection.
Why was he received into the fish's belly, and given back on the third day, except to signify that Christ would on the third day return from the depths of hell.
He who knows no impossibility caused the fish to feel ill and head toward the shore.
It may be assumed that it was the coast of Palestine.
All things yield to His will.
God laid His will upon it, and the fish forthwith obeyed.

". . . the fish, . . . "
"the fish," means "great fish" or "sea monster."
The voracious creature, which never opened his mouth save to destroy life, had swallowed him, to save it.

upon the dry land.
Except for some such astounding miracle the Ninevites would have given little heed to Jonah.
If only God's people were as obedient as the rest of his creation.
Jonah found himself upon land, safe but chastened.
It may be assumed that it was the coast of Palestine.
Jonah found himself upon land, safe but chastened.
Except for some such astounding miracle the Ninevites would have given little heed to Jonah.
When God had him at His mercy, He showed him mercy, and did not contend for ever.
 

 JON 3:1 Now the word of the \Lord\ came to Jonah the second time, saying,
Note the renewed charge to the penitent Prophet.
Duties once unwelcome become sweet when we have passed through the experience of misery that comes from neglecting them.
 

JON 3:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you."

"Arise, go to Nineveh the great city . . . "
Seems to imply that he was then in some settled home, perhaps at Gath-heper.
God selects the field of labor for his ministers.
Go therefore he must, go in spite of the world, go in spite of self, go whatever should be his fate.
A great and proud city.

". . . and proclaim to it . . . "
A slight modification: proclaim unto it instead of "against" it.
To cry unto her, seems to imply that she had some interest in and so some hope from this cry.

". . . the proclamation which I am going to tell you."
God's authority plain, stern, uncompromising.
God gives the message.
"Preach" is instructive. It means "to cry".
They should sound it out loudly, plainly, urgently.
Not his own imaginations, nor any fine things of his own spinning.
The preaching must be only what God wants.
The work of the Church is to preach, to proclaim what God commands it.
God's thoughts are the converting forces.
Now he must go without any definite instruction as to the precise end in view, with a readiness merely to proclaim whatever word the Lord might be pleased to put into his mouth.
He must go forth breathing the sentiment, "I delight to do thy will, O my God!"

". . . I am going to tell you."
Emphatic "I" accompanied by a participle translated as I tell you.
God is commanding, see that thou preach no other message than Mine.
 

JON 3:3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the \Lord.\ Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,  a three days walk.

 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh
Guilty Jonah saved from the jaws of death gives a ray of hope to guilty Nineveh.
The more he suppresses himself, and becomes but a voice through which God speaks, the better for himself, his hearers, and his work.
In what spirit should God's servants go forth to do His work?
    1.    They should be strictly obedient.
    2.    They should be simply trustful; quite sure that God would will the right, and give them grace as
            they needed.
    3. They should be prompt and ready, going at once and cheerfully
    4. They should leave with God the results of their mission.

He was now as prompt to obey as formerly to flee.

". . . Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,
Most magnificent of all the capitals of the ancient world
It included parks, gardens, fields, people and cattle within its vast circumference.
The entire metropolitan area.
Might gain support from Genesis 10:11-12.
There were gorgeous temples and princely palaces

". . . a three days' walk.
This would be sixty to seventy-five miles.
A day's journey would be twenty to twenty-five miles.
Great aggregate of cities.
A three day's journey in circumference.
The diameter or length of the city is intended.
Confirmed by heathen writers, who describe Nineveh as 480 stadia in circumference.
A day's journey to be 150 stadia
 

JON 3:4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk;   and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk;
Jonah proclaimed his message of judgment all day long as he traveled into the city.

and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."
The "yet" in 3:4 indicates an implied promise.
"Yet" always denotes some long-suffering of God.
Forty days of grace are granted.
The Gospel warns us in time enough for escape.
It warns us because God loves.
In this sermon two things are noteworthy
    1. It was direct, simple, plain. There is no enlargement, no argument, no exhortation. There is great
        power in simplicity.
    2. It was also alarming. It sounded just one note, and that was a note of warning.

God knew exactly the day when Nineveh's lease of mercy should end.
The main point of his preaching is all that is given.
The ruin of the city was at hand.
Forty days in scripture is a number of a probation.
 

JON 3:5 Then the people of Nineveh believed in God;  and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

". . . Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; . . . "
Equivalent to "believed on God" and is saving faith, as with Abraham.
They responded in faith to Israel's God.
Recognizing Jehovah as the true God.
The foundation of all true repentance is crediting God's word of threatening.
Pass by the human instrument, and hear God speaking through the Prophet.
Not merely the acceptance of God's message as truth, but the much greater belief in God.
Therefore they repented. So must all sinners.
The message must have come from the Lord.
They recognized Jonah as God's messenger; they recognized God's power as able to execute the threat, and they had confidence in his mercy if they repented.

and they called a fast and put on sackcloth
The lack of repentance of the part of Jonah himself through out the book stands in striking contrast to the universal repentance and humiliation of the Assyrians.
Fasting and clothing in sackcloth were customary in humiliation.
They brought no sacrifices or offerings, but sorrow, self-abasement, and amendment.
Marked by a spirit of deep humiliation and abasement.
Not only did they believe, they acted.

from the greatest to the least of them.
Educated and uneducated alike
Pervading all classes
A whole people prostrate before the God of judgment.
Its myriads bowed themselves in penitence and prayer.
Both old and young, all without exception.
Every age, sex and condition.
 

JON 3:6 When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne laid aside his robe from him,   covered {himself} with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes.

Comes down from the throne, removes the symbols of his royal authority, dons sackcloth like his subjects, and sits in ashes.
The robe was the most magnificent part of their dress.
The king has thus acknowledged his subjection to the King of kings.
Happy must it be for any land when those who occupy its highest places of power and influence are the foremost in confessing the truth of God.
Sets an example in reformation.
 

JON 3:7 And he issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles:     Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.

Every one in Nineveh had an evil way and the royal proclamation was a confession of it.
The repentance which had been spontaneous now becomes obligatory.
Even the animals are to share the fasting and sackcloth.
It was not produced by the king alone, but by the king and his nobles.
The king and nobles of Nineveh were not ashamed to own themselves believers in the Word of God.
The inclusion of the animal symbolizes total humiliation.
 
 
JON 3:8 "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth;  and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence

 "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth;
As they put trappings on horses in funerals.
Sorrow would have everything answer to it's sorrow.
Sackcloth was regarded as a symbol of humility and utter dependence on God. It was a coarse, ugly cloth, not fit for normal wear (WBC, pg. 848).
Symbolized the unity of man and nature.
It was a custom among the ancient heathen to withhold food from their cattle as well as themselves in times of morning and humiliation.
Total humiliation.
    1.    Man would have everything reflect his glory.
    2.    Self-humiliation would have everything reflect its lowliness.

and let men call on God earnestly
To cry vehemently with all their strength and soul. To God, not to idols, which they worshipped.
Urgent, strong praying to God.
 
that each may turn from his wicked way
Signs of remorse were to be validated by true repentance.
They turn away from idols, and look at God of mercy.
Each man has his own special heart's-sin.
Moral transformation of the life of the people.
All were to return, but by forsaking each, one by one, his own habitual, favorite sin.
"Turn" is the Hebrew expression for repentance.
These heathen felt that amendment of life was the truest devotion.
Everyone had an evil way, and the proclamation was a general acknowledgment of it.
"Besetting sins", must be given up.
An "about face" and involves a decision or act of will.

and from the violence
Ruthless wickedness.
Their treatment of other people was about to bring disaster upon them.
This is the special sin of the Assyrians, always grasping after empire, oppressing other nations.
The national humiliation is not to expend it's energy in fasting and donning of sackcloth, but is to result in a moral transformation of the life of the people.
This specifies a physical sense of wrong or wild, ruthless wickedness.
 

JON 3:9 "Who knows,  God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger so that we shall not perish?"

 "Who knows,
Some faint hope remained.
Jonah's preaching was very powerful, but there was no proclamation of mercy nor was Christ in it.
The pathos of this question is increased as we call to mind the ignorance of the Ninevites regarding the true God.
The king is not positive that God will spare the city

God may turn and relent, and withdraw His burning anger
The word repent, when used of God, does not denote sorrow for sin.  (See study at the end of this exegesis)
The suppliants hoped for his turning and repentance.
Can God repent? The form used here is from the Hebrew verb Nacham, which is derived from the idea of "breathe heavily" as in sorrow or in relief as one is consoled, "may heave a sigh of relief".
The Ninevites believed the Lord's greatest desire was not to destroy men but to save them.
"Repent" points to a decision on God's part to change his method of dealing with his creatures.
Fierce stems from the idea of burning and is a noun in the Hebrew text.
Anger is derived from the idea of to breathe or snort.
 
so that we shall not perish?"
Implies being in the grip of death.
Spare them from destruction
That the doom deserved and threatened might not come upon them, that, in a word, they might be saved.
That we perish not implies being in the grip of death, "that we might not keep on dying."
 
 
JON 3:10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do {it.}

 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way,
The change in the moral life.
Seen in deeds rather than words.
He not only heard their professions, but saw from their acts that these were real.
They showed their faith by their works.
Abandoning the sin that had offended God.
Tearing the idol from their hearts.
Their luxury, cruelty, violence and unrighteousness were given up.
They renounced their old habits of wickedness and adopted a new and virtuous course of life.

then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do {it.}
Relented of the necessity of punishing them.
Inasmuch as He leaves His threatening unfulfilled, and `does it not'.
The Lord did not change in essence, only His way of dealing with man changed.
All God's promises and threatenings are conditional.
Men repent, or change their mind, in reference to sin. God repents, or changes His mind, in reference to the sinner.
Relented or was relieved of the necessity of punishing them
God's threat of punishment can be set aside when real repentance is in evidence.
The change in the moral life of the Ninevites that moved God to compassion.
 
 
JON 4:1 But it greatly displeased Jonah,   and he became angry.

But it greatly displeased Jonah,
Means to be sad, injurious or evil.
An untempered zeal.
He was vexed and irritated.
It was the same Jonah, still the narrow little nationalist.
The reason of his inhuman displeasure was a fear for his own fame.
Sparing Nineveh involved the future destruction of Israel.
Reasons for his displeasure.
    1. Personal pique at liability of being charged a false prophet.
    2. Patriotism which could not endure mercy shown to heathens.

and he became angry.
Expressed the extreme reaction of Jonah.
"It proceeded to be hot unto Him."
He was "burned up" over the turn of events.
To anger at the sight of God's mercy to the sinner.
Could not tolerate the thought of God having compassion upon the heathen.
 

JON 4:2 And he prayed to the \Lord\ and said, "Please \Lord,\ was not this what I said for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God,  slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness,  and one who relents concerning calamity.

And he prayed to the \Lord\
He carried His complaint to God.
Conducts himself as though he were a faithful believer not a rebel against God

and said, "Please \Lord,\
Expresses depreciation and submissiveness.
His complaint is called a prayer
A strange kind of prayer Jonah's was more a quarrel than a prayer.
He directed his complaints to God.

was not this what I said
Jonah's concern is to justify himself and his word.
while I was still in my {own} country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish,
Jonah was unwilling to see Nineveh spared.
He was unwilling to see Ninevah spared and his prediction unfulfilled.
In his prayer Jonah's concern is to justify himself and his word.
fled to Tarshish because he did not want them to be saved.
"So quick to flee to Tarshish" in order to save Yahweh the unthinkable necessity of saving the Ninevites should they repent.

for I knew that Thou art a gracious
The welfare of man upon His heart.
His very nature is gracious. "God is love."
He had the welfare of man upon His heart.
Gracious implies the giving of good things to the just and unjust.

and compassionate God,
The benevolent attitude of Yahweh towards all mankind
Pointing to the love of God.
Ever disposed to relieve suffering, pardon the guilty, dispense happiness.
Points to the love of God.

slow to anger
delaying it.
Long-suffering.
God endures much of man's wickedness.
Not passionate and easily provided
His anger does not break through immediately
It is not God's first wish to punish the wayward.

and abundant in lovingkindness,
Kindness is a translation of the Hebrew word "hesed", meaning loyalty to a covenant promise.

and one who relents concerning calamity.
Though He threatens He does not often strike. He finds reason in himself alone for sparing the guilty and saving the penitent.
It is revealed fully what Jonah is rejecting. The words would carry every Israelite mind back to Ex. 34:6-7.
 

JON 4:3 "Therefore now, O \Lord,\ please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."

Central was hatred of the Assyrians in Jonah's existence
Israel that they had let hatred of the heathen become so dominant in their thoughts.
Jonah considered himself a discredited prophet
He wishes to die though he will not take his own life.
He did not attempt to take his own life. Life was considered a sacred trust coming from God.
His request was as unreasonable as it was unjustifiable.
See here the sad prevalence of carnal spirit- no acknowledgment of the higher wisdom of God.
 

JON 4:4 And the \Lord\ said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?"

God did not upbraid the prophet for ingratitude and self-will.
God deals with Jonah's conscience not answering the fool according to his folly.
"Is your anger right."
To lead the prophet to reflection so he could see himself and the absurdity of his reaction.
Contains a suggestion of reproof as God sought to show Jonah the absurdity of his reaction
The Lord called Jonah's attitude into question.
 

JON 4:5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it.   There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

Then Jonah went out from the city
There is no clear expression as to when the prophet left the city. The context simply indicates that it was prior to the expiration of the forty day.

and sat east of it.
He doggedly determined to wait for the destruction he had foretold
The opposite side to that by which he had entered
Displeased and angry because Ninevah

There he made a shelter for himself
Going to higher ground outside the city proper.
A temporary hut of branches and leaves.
At the feast of harvest, booths were made of branches and were used by the people for swelling places.
Selfish ends and worldly devices are nothing more than booths in which men can never rest and find shelter.

and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.
He still expected that some calamity would befall the Ninevites.
Not praying for the salvation of Nineveh nor to gather strength for another preaching tour, but that he might see what would become of the city.
The forty days named in his message had not yet elapsed.
Undoubtedly the presence of the proud, austere Hebrew prophet produced a continued psychological effect on the inhabitants of Nineveh.
 

JON 4:6 So the \Lord\ God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

 So the \Lord\ God appointed a plant
God speaks again, this time by preparing a gourd to shade Jonah's booth.
God again commanded the gourd, as he did the whale.

and it grew up over Jonah
Whatever the plant was, its growth was abnormal.
In order to comfort His prophet, the Lord causes this plant to grow miraculously fast.

to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort.
The Hebrew word is the same as in verse 1, and it refers not so much to the physical discomfort occasioned by the heat, but rather to the condition of his mind.
One looks at these words and thinks of the comfort of the shadows God allows to come into our lives.

And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.
Whereas before he had been greatly displeased now he was overjoyed.
Jonah's exaggerated joy over the little bit of extra comfort provided by the plant contrast with his callous anger at God's mercy to the Ninevites.
Jonah literally rejoiced a great joy.
Gladness is not gratitude, he was not thankful to God, whose goodness had provided it
 
 
 

JON 4:7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered.

But God appointed a worm
The destruction of the gourd was also an act of God.
Intending to teach Jonah a further lesson, prepared a worm, appointing it to that end.
Having prepared the gourd, the Lord prepared the worm. What an effective answer that simple fact is to those who are timid about bringing small things to the heavenly Father.
Again divine intervention occurs as God miraculously appointed or selected a lowly worm to play its part.

when dawn came the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered.
The worm, striking at the roots, destroyed the plant, and with it, the blessing of its shade.
It is a peculiarity of the castor-oil plant that it fades readily when injured.
God has a right to recall His gifts.
 

JON 4:8 And it came about when the sun came up that God appointed a scorching east wind,
and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with {all} his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."

And it came about when the sun came up that God appointed a scorching east wind,
Almost unbearably hot, dry wind that blows in off the desert.
For the fourth time we red that God "prepared" something.
A vehement east wind.
There are two kinds of sirocco, equally destructive and annoying-the violent wind, which fills the air with dust and sand, and the quiet one, when scarcely any air is moving, but the heat is most overpowering.
God prepared a wind. This final act of the Lord robbed Jonah of his last earthly comfort, the cool shade.

and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint
His position on the east of the city (ver. 5) exposed him to the full force of the scorching sun and wind.
Jonah lost completely what little patience with God's way he had possessed.
Dogged in his obstinacy of spirit and parched in body.
The perpendicular rays of an Assyrian sun.
Completely exhausted he began to cry out for the escape of death.

and begged with {all} his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."
He cried out the second time for the release of death. The first time he wished for death because of his inner despair, this time he cried to God because of his physical distress.
He would rather die than behold Nineveh converted and saved.
A deeper source of discontent is God's apparent unfairness. God had lavished his mercy on the hateful Ninevites yet cannot allow more than a few moments' shade for Jonah.
True repentance vs. selfish concern.
He refuses to acknowledge his waywardness, he would rather die.
What Jonah does not see is that the judgment of God is resting upon him rather than upon Nineveh.
 

JON 4:9 Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?"   And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."

Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?"
The question of verse 4 is here repeated.
Will grumbling help you?
Here Jonah's anger is specifically related to the gourd. His anger was divided between the city and God for sparing it.
The production of the gourd is attributed to Jehovah-Elohim, a composite name, which serves to mark the transition of Jehovah to Elohim.
God was striving to point up the absurdity of Jonah's spiritual unconcern for human welfare.
Jonah can be merciful, yet he is unwilling that God should be merciful.

And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."
I am right to be angry, so that my anger almost kills me.
Defends himself against the reproaches of God's voice within him.
If Jonah answers No, he admits he is wrong to question God's sovereignty as creator and God's freedom to deal with Nineveh as he chooses.
If Jonah answers Yes (as he in fact does), he admits the validity of pity as a motive for sparing a creature from destruction.
 

JON 4:10 Then the \Lord\ said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work, and {which} you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.

Then the \Lord\ said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work,
Does God surrender him to despair? No, He is not willing that even wicked Jonah should perish.
(Ezek. 33:11)
Jonah was concerned over something for which he had not labored, Yahweh was concerned over his creation.
Surely the one soul is of more value than many gourds.
God speaks of those on whom man must have pity, those who never had any share in its guilt, the 120,000 children of Nineveh.

for which you did not work, and {which} you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.
Filled with pity for a mere plant, a plant for which you did not labor, which you did not cause to grow up. I did that, not you.
Jonah did work so Nineveh could repent, no rejoicing in his labor.
This would indicate a total population of some 600,000 or more.
God answered Jonah by dealing with the plant as Jonah would have had Him deal with Nineveh.
 

JON 4:11 "And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know {the difference} between their right and left hand,  as well as many animals?"

The Ninevites were human beings -men, women, and children-objects of God's special creation, and therefore objects of his love.
As sovereign Lord of creation he asserts his freedom to spare even Nineveh from destruction.

in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know {the difference} between their right and left hand,
Children of tender years incapable of moral discernment.
That is 120,000 infants, who could not be accused of any particular wrong-doing.
Children under 3 or 4 years old. Six score thousand of these.
Contrast with Genesis 18:32.

as well as many animals?"
The Lord's pity extends also to the animal world.
How many animals would have perished is Nineveh had been overthrown?
The great though which these words suggest to our minds is God's great compassion for the helpless and the ignorant.
 

 

THE END

 
 
 
 
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