Probably Jonah himself was the penman of this book. In 2 Kings 14:25, we find, that he was of Gath - hepher in Galilee, a city that elongs to the tribe of Zebulon. We find also, that he was a essenger of mercy to Israel in the reign of Jeroboam the second. e have here a remarkable instance of God's mercy, toward repenting inners. And in Jonah we have a most remarkable type, of our ord's burial and resurrection.
Jonah disobeys the command of God, ver. 1 - 3. Is arrested by a storm, ver. 4 - 6. Discovered to be the cause of the storm, ver. 7 - 10. Cast into the sea and swallowed by a fish, ver. 11 - 17.
That great city - It is said to have been one hundred and fifty furlongs in length, that is eighteen miles and three quarters, and eleven miles and one quarter in breadth.
From the presence - From the place where God usually had shewed himself present, by revealing his word and will to his prophets. Perhaps he might think God would not put him upon this work, when he was got into a strange country.
Into the sides - ln some cabin or other, whither he went before the storm arose.
Will think upon us - With pity and favour.
Cast lots - "Lots are an appeal to heaven in doubtful cases, and therefore not to be used but where the matter is undeterminable in any other way."
Tell us - What hast thou done, for which God is so angry with thee, and with us for thy sake
I fear - I worship and serve the true God; the eternal and almighty God, who made and ruleth the heavens.
Rowed hard - They were willing to be at any labour to save him.
Unto the Lord - Now they all cry to Jonah's God, to Jehovah. And said - Let us not perish for taking away his life. Hast done - Sending the tempest, arresting the prophet by it, detecting him by lot, sentencing him by his own mouth, and confirming the condemning sentence by the continuance of the storm.
Feared the Lord - Perhaps as Jonah's casting over - board was a type of Christ's death, so the effect it had upon the mariners might be a type of the conversion of the Heathen from idols unto God. Made vows - Probably they vowed, they would ever worship him whom Jonah preached, the Creator of heaven and earth.
A great fish - The Hebrew word is, numbered, has appointed him for Jonah's receiver and deliverer. God has the command of all his creatures, and can make any of them serve his designs of mercy to his people.
Jonah's prayer and deliverance.
Affliction - Straits with which he was encompassed, his body and mind being both shut up, the one by the monstrous dungeon of the fish's belly, and the other by the terrors of the Almighty. Heardest my voice - Of which undoubtedly God gave him an assurance in his own soul.
I said - With myself, I thought in the midst of my fears and sufferings. Cast out - Cut off from all hope of life, and as it were forgotten of God. I will look - Toward heaven.
The weeds - It seems to mean, my case was as hopeless as that of a man wrapt about with weeds in the depth of the sea.
I went down - The fish carried him down as deep in the sea as are the bottoms of the mountains. With her bars - I seemed to be imprisoned where the bars that secured were as durable as the rocks, which they were made of. Yet - By what was first my danger, thou hast wonderfully secured me. From corruption - Or the pit, a description of the state of the dead. O Lord - In the assurance of faith, he speaks of the thing as already done.
Thine holy temple - Heaven, the temple of his glory, whence God gives the command for his delivery.
They - Whoever they are that depend upon idols. Mercy - The Lord, who is to all that depend upon him, the fountain of living waters; who is an eternal fountain of mercy, and flows freely to all that wait for him.
Vowed - Which probably was to go to Nineveh, and preach what God commanded him. The Lord - He only can save.
Spake - Though fishes understand not as man, yet they have ears to hear their Creator.
Jonah's mission renewed and executed, ver. 1 - 4. The humiliation and reformation of the Ninevites, ver. 5 - 9. Their sentence revoked, ver. 10.
Exceeding great - The greatest city of the known world at that day, it was then in its flourishing state greater than Babylon, whose compass was three hundred eighty - five furlongs, but Nineveh was in compass, four hundred and eighty. It is said, her walls were an hundred foot in height, her walls broad enough for three coaches to meet, and safely pass by each other; that it had fifteen hundred towers on its walls, each two hundred foot high, and one million, four hundred thousand men employed for eight years to build it. Of three days journey - To walk round the walls, allowing twenty miles to each day's journey.
Shall be overthrown - The threat is express. But there was a reserve with God, on condition of repentance.
From the greatest - Great and small, rich and poor.
The king - Probably Phul Belochus. His robe - Put off his rich apparel.
Taste any thing - Man and beast are to forbear to eat and drink, that the fast might be most solemn, that the cry of man, seconded with the cry of hungry cattle, might enter the ears of God, who preserveth man and beast.
And beast - Their horses and camels, both which they adorned with rich and costly clothing, they must now in testimony of an hearty repentance, clothe with sackcloth; the clothing of beasts must witness for men. The violence - Oppression and rapine. In their hands - Which are practised by them.
Jonah repines at God's mercy, ver. 1 - 3. Is reproved, ver. 4. His discontent at the withering of the gourd, ver. 5 - 9. God improves it for his conviction, ver. 10, 11.
It - The divine forbearance sparing Nineveh.
Was not this - Did I not think of this That thy pardon would contradict my preaching.
Than to live - Disgraced and upbraided by hardened sinners, who will brand me for a liar.
A booth - Some small and mean shed, probably of green boughs. 'Till he might see - It seems the forty days were not fully expired.
Prepared - Commanded that in the place where Jonah's booth stood, this spreading plant should spring up to be a shade when the gathered boughs were withered. To deliver - To give some ease to his mind.
Prepared - By the same power which caused the gourd suddenly to spring, and spread itself. It smote - Which early next morning, bit the root, so that the whole gourd withered.
A east wind - A dry, scorching, blasting wind. Fainted - Overcome by the heat. Better to die - But Jonah must be wiser, and humbler, and more merciful too, e'er he die. Before God hath done with him, he will teach him to value his own life more, and to be more tender of the life of others.
I do well to be angry - If in the violence of this passion I should die (as some have) yet were I not to blame. What a speech! Verily the law made nothing perfect!
Laboured - Thou didst not set it. Grow - Nor didst thou water or give growth to it.
I - The God of infinite compassions and goodness. That great city - Wouldest thou have me less merciful to such a goodly city, than thou art to a weed Who cannot discern - Here are more than six - score innocents who are infants. Much cattle - Beside men, women and children who are in Nineveh, there are many other of my creatures that are not sinful, and my tender mercies are and shall be over all my works. If thou wouldest be their butcher, yet I will be their God. Go Jonah, rest thyself content and be thankful: that goodness, which spared Nineveh, hath spared thee in this thy inexcusable frowardness. I will be to repenting Nineveh what I am to thee, a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and I will turn from the evil which thou and they deserve.