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Bible Commentaries

Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Jonah 3

Verse 1

the word of the Lord. See note on Jonah 1:1 .

The LORD . Hebrew. Jehovah , App-4 .

Verse 2

the great city. Compare Jonah 1:1 , Jonah 1:2 ; Jonah 4:11 . Diodorus Siculus (cent. 1 B.C.), and Herodotus (cent. 4 B.C.), Jon 3:58 , both say it was about sixty miles in circuit and about twenty miles across. We must remember that such cities included large areas for cultivation and pasturage. Compare "much cattle", Jonah 4:11 .

preach = proclaim. Hebrew. kara = to cry aloud: as in verses: Jonah 3:4 , Jonah 3:5 , Jonah 3:8 ; Jonah 1:2 , Jonah 1:6 , Jonah 1:14 .

Verse 3

three days, &c. i.e. in circuit.

Verse 4

a = one cried. See note on "preach", Jonah 3:2 .

forty. The number of probation. See App-10 .

Verse 5

people = men. Hebrew pl of 'enosh . App-14 .

believed . Heb Aman . App-69 .

God. Hebrew. Elohim . App-4 .

proclaimed a fast. Professor Rawlings has shown just at this time Nineveh was in a time of trouble, and Assyrian history was "shrouded in darkness for forty years". Hope was given to all the neighbouring countries which were asserting their independence. This explains the readiness of Nineveh to hearken and obey, as was done on another occasion when the prophet of Nineveh declared it needful. (see Professor Sayce, The Higher Criticism and the Monuments, (pp 489, 490) by the Persians in a national trouble; in Greece, a fast which included cattle (Herodotus, ix. 24) and by Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Pelop && 33, 34). This decline of Nineveh gave hope to Israel: which hope had been encouraged by the prophet Jonah himself (2 Kings 14:25-27 ). This may have been the reason for Jonah's not wishing to avert the overthrow (Jonah 3:4 ) of Nineveh, by giving it the opportunity to repent and thus secure Jehovah's favour (Joel 2:14 ). We thus have veritable history, and not allegory.

Verse 7

nobles = great. ones.

man. Hebrew ' adam . App-14 .

herd nor flock. See note on "that great city", Jonah 3:2 , and "much cattle", Jonah 4:11 ,

Verse 8

evil wicked. Hebrew. raa App-44 .

Verse 9

Who can tell . . ? Compare "Who knoweth . . . ? 2 Samuel 12:22 .Joel 2:14 . Jonah, for one, thought Jehovah might to so. Hence his reluctance to give Nineveh the opportunity to repent.

if = [but that).

Verse 10

repented. Figure of speech Anthropopatheia. App-6 .

of = concerning

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jonah 3". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.