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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Jonah 2

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Jon 2:1. Nothing that is right is impossible with God (Mat 19:26). therefore He could preserve Jonah alive and conscious in the bowels of the fish. Being a worshiper of the true God, it was not strange that he would engage in prayer in his unusual surroundings. Aside from being cut off from the normal kind and amount of air, he was unharmed by the act of the fish, and of course the Lord could take care of that situation by His great power.

Verse 2

Jon 2:2. And said, I cried. We know that Jonah did not do any writing while in the body of the fish, but wrote his account of the affair afterward as he was composing his book. He was being preserved miraculously but that did not prevent him from feeling the unpleasantness of the surroundings. That experience together with the remembrance of his error in trying to flee from the Lord, placed him In a frame of mind to offer a humble petition to God. The word hell is from snitoL and Strong’s definition of it is, "Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat) including Us accessories and inmates." In the King James version the word is rendered grave 31 times, hell 31 and pit 3; it is the only word for "hell” in the Old Testament. It is evident that Jonah used the word only in the sense of its being a “subterranean retreat,” since he was alive and in good health. The happy fact is stated that the Lord heard the prayer and took a favorable attitude toward Jonah (though we do not have all of his prayer).

Verse 3

Jon 2:3. Jonah had told the men to cast him into the sea. but here he says the Lord did it. This is a reason for the remarks on chapter 1: 12, showing that Jonah gave his instructions to the men on the authority of God.

Verse 4

Jon 2:4. Nothing is ever invisible to the eyes of God, so out of thy sight refers to Jonah's side of the matter. He was hidden from all the scenes of the earth, yet he had faith in the existence of God and now turned to Him in his distress.

Verse 5

Jon 2:5. The original word for soul generally means any living and breathing creature. Jonah means he felt that his entire being was overwhelmed by the water. He not only was a prisoner on the inside of the fish, but that was a water creature and it was in its natural element which was not a suitable place for man. Weeds is from cuwrH which Strong defines, “A reed, especially the papyrus.” It is the word for “flags” in Exo 2:3, and hence refers to the reedy plants growing in the water. Doubtless when Jonah was cast overboard he first felt these reeds about him as he sank beneath the water and the impression was still with him for a time.

Verse 6

Jon 2:6. Jonah is describing the way he felt when he was cast out of the boat, not that it is an inspired literal report of what actually happened. Bottoms of the mountains. The hilly land of the vicinity would extend on down into the water and Jonah felt as if he had sunk down to the bases of them. Earth . . . bars . , , for ever. Again Jonah is describing the way it seemed to him as he was shut off from the entire world. This conclusion is justified by his words immediately following that the Lord brought him out of the corruption that threat-ened his life.

Verse 7

Jon 2:7. This verse suggests an old and true saying, "Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity." When the conditions here described overcame Jonah, he was induced to look to God for help. Then he prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly.

Verse 8

Jon 2:8. The prayer of Jonah not only contained his appeal for help, but also was a recognition of some of the great principles which God has ever held out before mankind. Lying vanities evidently has reference to the devotion to idols which is constantly regarded as vain in the Bihle. Whoever depends on such helpless objects are working against their own best interests.

Verse 9

Jon 2:9. The mention of Sacrifice and vows is a promise of continued devotion to God upon his deliverance from the helpless condition surrounding him; in other words, it is an indication of a truly penitent heart. Jonah is certain that if he is ever enabled to resume a life of religious services it will have to be through the help of God, for Salvation is of the Lord.

Verse 10

Jon 2:10. Strong says the original for spake is "used with great latitude.” A fish is not an intelligent creature, but God could Induce It to perform any act suitable to His will. Dry does not necessarily mean absolutely without moisture, but ground not covered or saturated with water on which a man could stand with sure footing. The fish could float out to the brink of the sea and spue Jonah from bis mouth onto the place where the ground was not covered with water.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Jonah 2". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/jonah-2.html. 1952.
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