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Bible Commentaries
Jonah 2

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


Jonah Running Back To God

Jonah Two

Jonah found out that running away from God gets a person into serious trouble. Running from God brought him into a storm and into the belly of great fish. Sin brings terrible consequences. Solomon wrote, "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard." ( Pro_13:15 ) it will always be true that the way of the "transgressor is hard." Certainly we know that not all trouble comes because we have done wrong. A good example of that would be Job. He had many troubles that were not caused by his own wrong doing. The prodigal son, like Jonah, is a good example of how that running from god brings certain misery.

Jonah ran back to God as he prayed to him out of the fish's belly. Troubles my actually be a blessing if they bring us back to God. Out of his afflictions Jonah cried and the Lord hear him. The psalmist wrote, "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me." ( Psa_120:1 ) Although he was very undeserving, God saved Jonah, and He can save us too. God saved Jonah from physical hard and He also saved him from the mess he had made in his spiritual life.

Verses 1-3

Jonah's sad situation in life -- Jon_2:1-3 : Running from God caused Jonah to find himself in a horrible state. He was in the fish's belly. Imagine the horrors that you would feel being in the guts of a tremendously large fish. This fish took Jonah into the heart of the sea. He felt that he was in Sheol or the abyss. In the fishes belly the currents and waves passed over him. The words of Jon_2:1 remind us of what a mighty God we serve. He had the power to prepare a great fish to swallow Jonah and then He had the power to preserve Him in the fish's belly. "Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly." No right thing is impossible for our mighty God. Concerning a camel going through the eye of a needle Jesus said, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." ( Mat_19:26 ) By His great power the Lord took care of Jonah while he was cut off from normal life for that time.

Jonah sought the Lord and prayed unto Him. He cried in his distress to God. He called upon Him for help. Jonah had to know that he was being preserved miraculously by the hand of God. However, this did not lesson the terribleness of his situation. Now he must deal with this experience plus the emotions of running from God. Jonah cried from hell or Sheol. He was using the word in the sense of being subterranean. He cried out of his distress to the Lord, and the heard him. Jonah's concept about what was happening was good. He did not say the mariners cast him into the sea. He said to God, "For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me." He knew that what was happening was happening by the authority of God.

Verses 4-6

Looking toward God's holy temple -- Jon_2:4-6 : Jonah realized that he had left God's holy presence. He promised that he would look again toward God's holy temple and remember Him. Jonah said that God cast him out of His sight. He was only out of his sight from Jonah's point of view, not God's. "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." ( Psa_139:7-12 )

Jonah felt banished from before the eyes of God. He said, "The waters compassed me about, even to the extinction of life; the abyss surrounded me, the seaweed was wrapped about my head." ( Jon_2:5 ) Jonah felt that his entire being was overwhelmed by the water. Jonah was in misery because he was outside of his element. When a Christian is outside of his element he can likewise expect torment. Jonah described his feelings saying, "I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God." ( Jon_2:6 ) Jonah felt shut off from God and from the entire world.

Verses 7-9

Jonah remembered the Lord -- Jon_2:7-9 : Jonah's declaration was simple, "When my life was slipping away, I remembered you -- and in your holy temple you heard my prayer. All who worship worthless idols turn from the God who offers them mercy. But with shouts of praise, I will offer a sacrifice to you, my Lord. I will keep my promise, because you are the one with power to save." Jonah realized that they only one to whom he could look for help was the Lord. He prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly.

Jonah not only prayed to God but he also gave other great Bible principles. He spoke of lying vanities or of the devotion to idols. Idolatry is strictly condemned by the Bible. Those that trust in idols are working against their own best interest. Jonah also promised to sacrifice to God and to keep the vows he had made to Him. This is an indication of a person that has repented of wrongs. Jonah knew that only his devotion to God could deliver him from his hopeless situation. Salvation is of the Lord. This was true of Jonah's physical salvation and his spiritual salvation too. His life was a mess physical and spiritually and only God could help.

Verse 10

A fish listened to God -- Jon_2:10 : What a sad lesson it is to realize that a fished listened to God while Jonah, His prophet, and many of us do not listen at all. The deliverance of Jonah was described simply in the expression, "The Lord commanded the fish to vomit up Jonah on the shore. And it did." ( Jon_2:10 ) Our powerful God could easily control the fish to do His will.

The fish "vomited up Jonah on the shore." The fish could easily float out to the shore of the sea and vomit Jonah out of its mouth on to a place where the ground was not covered with water. The rebellious prophet even brought trouble and sickness to the fish. The fact that the fish spat Jonah out at on this time frame was later used as an example of Jesus' time in the grave. ( Mat_12:40 )

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Jonah 2". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/jonah-2.html. 2014.
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