Book of Jonah the Prophet, The Book of Jonah Commentary Bible Study

Book of Jonah the Prophet, The Book of Jonah Commentary, Bible Study

"Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonas: and Jonas was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. And Jonas prayed to the Lord his God out of the belly of the fish. And he said: I cried out of my affliction to the Lord, and he heard me: I cried out of the belly of hell, and thou hast heard my voice. And thou hast cast me forth into the deep in the heart of the sea, and a flood hath compassed me: all thy billows, and thy waves have passed over me."
Book Of Jonah (Jonas)
Prophecy Of Jonah (Jonas)


Chapter 1

Jonas being sent to preach in Ninive, fleeth away by sea: a tempest riseth: of which he being found, by lot, to be the cause, is cast into the sea, which thereupon is calmed.

1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonas the son of Amathi, saying: 2 Arise, and go to Ninive the great city, and preach in it: for the wickedness thereof is come up before me. 3 And Jonas rose up to flee into Tharsis from the face of the Lord, and he went down to Joppe, and found a ship going to Tharsis: and he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tharsis from the face of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent a great wind into the sea: and a great tempest was raised in the sea, and the ship was in danger to be broken. 5 And 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 Jonas went down into the inner part of the ship, and fell into a deep sleep.

2 "Ninive"... The capital city of the Assyrian empire.

3 "Tharsis"... Which some take to be Tharsus of Cilicia, others to be Tartessus of Spain, others to be Carthage.

5 "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.

6 And the shipmaster came to him, and said to him: Why art thou fast asleep? rise up, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think of us, that we may not perish. 7 And they said every one to his fellow: Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know why this evil is upon us. And they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonas. 8 And they said to him: Tell us for what cause this evil is upon us, what is thy business? of what country art thou? and whither goest thou? or of what people art thou? 9 And he said to them: I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord the God of heaven, who made both the sea and the dry land. 10 And the men were greatly afraid, and they said to him: Why hast thou done this? (for the men knew that he fled from the face of the Lord: because he had told them.)

11 And they said to him: What shall we do to thee, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea flowed and swelled. 12 And he said to them: Take me up, and cast me into the sea, and the sea shall be calm to you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13 And the men rowed hard to return to land, but they were not able: because the sea tossed and swelled upon them. 14 And 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 thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee. 15 And they took Jonas, and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from raging.

16 And the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and sacrificed victims to the Lord, and made vows.


Chapter 2

Jonas is swallowed up by a great fish: he prayeth with confidence in God; and the fish casteth him out on the dry land.

1 Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonas: and Jonas was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2 And Jonas prayed to the Lord his God out of the belly of the fish. 3 And he said: I cried out of my affliction to the Lord, and he heard me: I cried out of the belly of hell, and thou hast heard my voice. 4 And thou hast cast me forth into the deep in the heart of the sea, and a flood hath compassed me: all thy billows, and thy waves have passed over me. 5 And I said: I am cast away out of the sight of thy eyes: but yet I shall see thy holy temple again.

6 The waters compassed me about even to the soul: the deep hath closed me round about, the sea hath covered my head. 7 I went down to the lowest parts of the mountains: the bars of the earth have shut me up for ever: and thou wilt bring up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. 8 When my soul was in distress within me, I remembered the Lord: that my prayer may come to thee, unto thy holy temple. 9 They that are vain observe vanities, forsake their own mercy. 10 But I with the voice of praise will sacrifice to thee: I will pay whatsoever I have vowed for my salvation to the Lord.

11 And the Lord spoke to the fish: and it vomited out Jonas upon the dry land.

11 "Spoke to the fish"... God's speaking to the fish, was nothing else but his will, which all things obey.


Chapter 3

Jonas is sent again to preach in Ninive. Upon their fasting and repentance, God recalleth the sentence by which they were to be destroyed.

1 And the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time, saying: 2 Arise, and go to Ninive the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee. 3 And Jonas arose, and went to Ninive, according to the word of the Lord: now Ninive was a great city of three days' journey. 4 And Jonas began to enter into the city one day's journey: and he cried, and said: Yet forty days, and Ninive shall be destroyed. 5 And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least.

3 "Of three days' journey"... By the computation of some ancient historians, Ninive was about fifty miles round: so that to go through all the chief streets and public places was three days' journey.

6 And the word came to the king of Ninive; and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Ninive from the mouth of the king and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen nor sheep, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water. 8 And 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. 9 Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish? 10 And 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.


Chapter 4

Jonas, repining to see that his prophecy is not fulfilled, is reproved by the type of the ivy.

1 And Jonas was exceedingly troubled, and was angry: 2 And 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 Tharsis: for I know that thou art a gracious and merciful God, patient, and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil. 3 And now, O Lord, I beseech thee take my life from me: for it is better for me to die than to live. 4 And the Lord said: Dost thou think thou hast reason to be angry? 5 Then Jonas 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, till he might see what would befall the city.

1 "Was exceedingly troubled"... 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.

6 And the Lord God prepared an ivy, and it came up over the head of Jonas, to be a shadow over his head, and to cover him (for he was fatigued), and Jonas was exceeding glad of the ivy. 7 But God prepared a worm, when the morning arose on the following day: and it struck the ivy and it withered. 8 And when the sun was risen, the Lord commanded a hot and burning wind: and the sun beat upon the head of Jonas, 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. 9 And the Lord said to Jonas: Dost thou think thou hast reason to be angry, for the ivy? And he said: I am angry with reason even unto death. 10 And the Lord said: Thou art grieved for the ivy, for which thou hast not laboured, nor made it to grow, which in one night came up, and in one night perished.

6 "The Lord God prepared an ivy"... Hederam. In the Hebrew it is Kikajon, which some render a gourd: others a palmerist, or palma Christi.

11 And shall not I spare Ninive, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and many beasts?

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