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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jonah 1

Verse 1

the word of the LORD came. This statement is unanswerable, and covers the truth of the whole contents of this book. This, or a like expression occurs seven times in Jonah (Jonah 1:1 ; Jonah 2:10 ; Jonah 3:1 , Jonah 3:3 ; Jonah 3:4 .Jonah 4:9 , Jonah 4:10 ).

the Lord. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4 . Jonah is the prophet named and described in 2 Kings 14:25 . He was a native of Gath-hepher, now el Meshhed, three miles north-east of Nazareth. Nazareth was in Galilee (see App-169 ). The statement of the Pharisee, in John 7:52 was not true.

the son of Amittai. See 2 Kings 14:25 .

Amittai = the truth of Jehovah.

Verse 2

Arise, go. Contrast "rose up to flee" (Jonah 1:3 ).

Nineveh. Op. Genesis 10:11 , Genesis 10:12 . Mentioned again in Jon 8:2 , Jon 8:3 ; Jonah 4:11 . The capital of Assyria, on the left bank of the Tigris. Called first Nina, from the patron goddess of the city; of Babylonian origin; founded by a colony from Nina in South Babylonia (see Records of the Past, vol. iv, part ii, p. 61). Khammurabi, 1915 B.C. (on Companion Bible dating), code iv, pp. 60-62, spells it Ni-nu-a. Excavations reveal "the mound of Nebi- Yunus crowned by the tomb of Jonah, which could not then be explored" (see Art. "Nineveh" in the Encycl. Brit., 11th (Cambridge) edition, 1911).

cry against it. Not whisper or speak softly, but cry, as making a general proclamation. Hebrew kara'. Compare Judges 7:3 , Judges 7:20 . Isaiah 58:1 .Joel 3:9 . Amos 4:5 , &c. Compare also verses: Jonah 1:2 , Jonah 1:6 , Jonah 1:2 .

their wickedness. Nineveh was noted for violence and cruelty of all kinds, recorded in its own bas-reliefs, &c. (seven Nahum 2:8-13 ). (Ref, to Pentateuch (Genesis 18:20 , Genesis 18:21 ).

wickedness. Hebrew, plural of ra'a'. App-44 .

Verse 3

rose up to flee. Jonah knew that Assyria was to be God's sword of judgment against Israel. If Nineveh perished, Israel might be saved. God's mercy might arrest this overthrow of Nineveh. Was this why Jonah would sacrifice himself to save his nation? This would explain his flight here, and his displeasure, as clearly stated in Jonah 4:1-3 . When he said (Jonah 1:12 ), "Take me up", &c., he had counted the cost. He confesses to the men (verses: Jonah 1:9 , Jonah 1:10 ), but not to God. He gave his life to save his People. The type of Christ may have begun here. See Galatians 1:3 , Galatians 1:13 ; and compare Romans 9:1-3 .

Tarshish . See note on 1 Kings 10:22 .

from the presence of the Lord. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 4:16 ). App-92 .

Joppa. Now Jaffa. Compare Joshua 19:46 , 2 Chronicles 2:16 . Acts 9:36 .

ship . Pleb. 'aniyah = any large merchant ship. Not the same word as in Jonah 1:5 .

he paid the fare : and counted the cost of his flight. See notes on the Structure, p. 1247.

Verse 4

wind. Hebrew ruach. App-9 .

was like = thought. Figure of speech Prosopopoeia. App-6 .

Verse 5

mariners = salts. Hebrew. mallach = salt.

cried = cried in prayer. Hebrew. keli , Not the same word as in verses: Jonah 1:2 , Jonah 1:14 .

every man. Hebrew. 'ish . App-14 .

wares = tackling. Hebrew. keli = implements.

into the sides = below deck, or cabins. Compare Ezekiel 32:23 .Amos 6:10 .

ship = the deck, or covered part. Hebrew sephinah. A genuine Hebrew word, borrowed by inland people, (Syrians. Chaldeans and Arabians), from a maritime people; not vice versa. Hebrew root saphan = to cover (Deuteronomy 33:21 (margin coiled). 1 Kings 6:9 ; 1Ki 7:3 , 1 Kings 7:7 . Jeremiah 22:14 .Haggai 1:4; Haggai 1:4 ). English "deck" is from Dutch dekken.

Verse 6

shipmaster = chief of the rope. Phoenician for captain. Hebrew. rab hachobel. Not a "later word", because a "captain" is not mentioned earlier. Rah = captain, or head. See 2 Kings 25:8 . Esther 1:8 . Daniel 1:8 . Chobel occurs in Ezekiel 27:8 , Ezekiel 27:27 , Ezekiel 27:28 , Ezekiel 27:29 , where it is rendered "pilot".

God. Hebrew. Elohim. (with 'eth) = the true God. With 'eth, in the second occurrence. App-4 .

Verse 7

evil = calamity: as in Amos 3:6 . Hebrew. raa `. App-44 .

Verse 8

for whose cause, &c. = for what cause. The lot had told them the person, but not the "cause". So they appeal to Jonah.

Verse 9

he said, &c. He does not tell them all. We find the real reason in Jonah 4:1-3 .

Hebrew. Referring to the language spoken. A title used in relation to foreigners (Genesis 40:16 . Exodus 3:18 , &c.)

the God of heaven . The title in relation to the Creator's creatures. See note on 2 Chronicles 36:23 .

Which hath made, &c. Reference to Pentateuch (Genesis 1:1 , Genesis 1:10 ).

Verse 10

men. Hebrew, plural of 'enosh. App-14 .

exceedingly = afraid. Figure of speech Potyptoton ( App-6 ) = feared a great fear.

Why . . . ? They knew the fact of his flight, but not the reason, which is not revealed till Jonah 4:1-3 . This is not therefore "a later addition", as alleged.

Verse 11

wrought, &c. = grew more and more tempestuous. Hebrew "was going on and raging".

Verse 12

Take me up . . . I know. He had counted the cost.

Verse 13

rowed hard. The tackling had gone. See note on "wares", Jonah 1:5 .

bring it = bring it back.

Verse 14

man's. Hebrew. 'ish . App-14 .

life = soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13 .

as = according as. Compare Psalms 115:3 .

Verse 15

took up = took up with reverence or care: as in Genesis 47:30 . Exodus 28:12 , Exodus 28:29 , &c. Hebrew. nasa' .

cast him, &c. Why are we to assume that the result was different in this case from that in every other, unless so stated? It must have been death. See note on p. 1247.

ceased, &c. Compare Psalms 89:9 . Luke 8:24 .

Verse 16

offered, &c. = sacrificed: i.e. they vowed that they would offer [when they landed]. Hebrew. zebach. App-43 .

Verse 17

prepared = appointed, or assigned. From Hebrew. mdndh, to number. Hence, to appoint, as in Job 7:3 .Daniel 1:5 ; Daniel 1:10-11 ; and Chaldee. mynah (Daniel 5:25 , Daniel 5:26 ). Compare Jonah 4:6-8 . Never means to create.

great fish. Large enough to swallow him. in Matthew 12:40 , Greek. kilos - any large marine monster; whence Cetacece -the mammalian order of fish. No need for any name. Compare Matthew 12:20 ; Matthew 16:4 .Luke 11:30 .

swallow up . . . belly. Not therefore kept alive in the fish ' s mouth, as some imagine. When thus swallowed up, Jonah must have died, and thus became a type of Christ. The "as" and "so" in Matthew 12:40 require Jonah's death. He would have been no type if he had been miraculously kept alive. See further notes below.

was = came to be.

belly = bowels.

three days and three nights. The Hebrew idiom "three days" can be used for parts of three days (and even of years): but not when the word "nights" is added. See Matthew 12:40 , and note the force of "as". See App-144 and App-156 .

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jonah 1". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.