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His Prayer of Thanksgiving
This beautiful song of deliverance shows clearly the familiarity of the writer with earlier Psalms. It reflects very plainly the horror inspired by the sea in the minds of an inland people. It is not necessary, on the interpretation adopted, to argue whether or not it is suitable to Jonah’s position. Advocates of the national view of the book think it specially suitable to describe the sorrows of the people when drowning in the deep gulf of exile. If so, the references to ’thy holy temple’ are not happy. On the whole, a personal application suits best the quotations from the Psalms, especially Jonah 2:4 = Psalms 31:22, Jonah 2:9 = Psalms 42:4; Psalms 50:14.
2. Out of the belly of hell] hell=Sheol, the realm of the dead, thought of here as a devouring monster. The phrase is purely pictorial: cp. ’from the jaws of death.’
3. Both parts of this v. are echoes from Psalms 88:6-7; Psalms 42:7.
4. Cp. Psalms 31:22. Toward thy holy temple] cp. 1 Kings 8:35-38, and for the longing for the Temple Psalms 84, etc.
5. Even to the soul] cp. Psalms 69:1. The meaning is that the waters so press in that life itself is threatened. The weeds] Floating sea-weed entangles him as he sinks.
6. The bottoms of the mountains] their roots or foundations lying deep in the heart of the sea: cp. Milton, ’Hymn on the Nativity:’ ’While the Creator great.. Cast the dark foundations deep.’ Was about] RV ’closed upon.’ The thought is that as he sinks he goes far from the earth, the home of the living, and its doors are closed and barred against him for ever. No return to the light and sunshine seems possible. Corruption] RV ’the pit,’ i.e. of Sheol, as in Jonah 2:2.
7. Cp. Psalms 107:5; Psalms 142:3 mg. Psalms 18:6.
8. Lying vanities] cp. Deuteronomy 32:21 = idol gods. ’Vanity,’ lit. ’a breath,’ means something evanescent and worthless.
Their own mercy] This is used as a name for Jehovah. In Psalms 144:2 the same word is rendered ’my goodness,’ RV ’loving-kindness.’ It is here a pregnant use describing Jehovah as the sum and source of mercy,
9. Cp. Psalms 42:4; Psalms 50:14-23. For vowed cp. also Jonah 1:16.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jonah 2". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany