corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.10.15
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Jonah

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4

Book Overview - Jonah

by Johann Peter Lange

            

THE

BOOK OF JONAH

EXPOUNDED

by

PAUL KLEINERT,

Pastor At St. Gertraud, And Professor Of Old Testament Theology In The University Of Berlin.

TRANSLATED AND ENLARGED

by

CHARLES ELLIOTT, D. D,

Professor Of Biblical Literature In The Presbyterian Theological Seminary At Chicago, Ill.

JONAH

_____________

INTRODUCTION

I. Contents

The prophet Jonah, the son of Amittai, receives a divine command to announce judgment against the great city, Nineveh, whose wickedness had come up before Jehovah. He attempts to evade the command by flight, and embarks in a ship to go to Tarshish. A storm rises on the sea. While the crew are praying, Jonah sleeps. But he is awakened; and the sailors perceiving in the fury [Unbill] of the storm a token of the divine wrath, cast lots, by which he is designated as the guilty person. On being interrogated by the crew, he acknowledges to them his guilt, and advises them to cast him into the sea, for the purpose of appeasing the divine anger. They put forth ineffectual efforts to escape from danger, without having recourse to this extreme measure, but finally follow his advice. ( Jonah 1)

A large fish swallows Jonah. He thanks God that he is preserved in life; and Isaiah, on the third day, vomited out by the fish on the land. ( Jonah 2)

He now obeys the command of God, which comes to him the second time, and goes to proclaim to Nineveh, that within forty days, it shall be destroyed on account of its sins. But the Ninevites, with the king at their head, observe a great public fast,[FN1] and Jehovah determines to withdraw his threatening. ( Jonah 3)

Jonah having waited for the issue in a booth over against the city, must have felt that the effect [of the divine purpose to remit the calamity.—C. E.] would be to make his proclamation appear false. His displeasure, on this account, is heightened by an incident. A plant [a palmchrist], which had rapidly shot up, had refreshed him with its shade. But during the night it is destroyed by a worm; and when, on the day following, a scorching wind augments the burning heat of the sun, Jonah despairs of life [“meint Jonah am Leben verzweifeln zu müssen,” thinks that he must despair of life]. But God had appointed this incident for the purpose of showing him the unreasonableness of his displeasure. “Dost thou have pity on an insignificant plant, and shall not I have pity on the great city?” ( Jonah 4)

II. The Historical Character of the Book

The narrative indicates history; for it designates its hero, not by a general or symbolical, but by a historical name,—that of Jonah. And not merely this; but it subjoins a patronymic also, “the son of Amittai.” Jonah, the prophet, the son of Amittai, is a historical person. We learn from 2 Kings 14:25, that he was a native of Gath-Hepher,[FN2] which was, according to Jewish tradition, as given by Jerome, in his preface to this book, a small village, two miles from Sepphoris, called in his time Diocæsaria, on the road to Tiberias. [“Geth in secundo Sephorim miliario, quœ hodie appellator Diocœsaria, euntibus Tiberiadem hand grandis est viculus.”—Hieronymus.] This description corresponds to the situation of the present village of Meshad, north of Nazareth, where in fact a grave is pointed out as that of Jonah. [Quaresmius, ii855; Robinson, Palestine, 3:449; Bib. Researches, p140.] He foretold to Jeroboam II. (b. c824–783) the success of his wars for the extension [the restoration of the ancient boundaries.—C. E.] of the kingdom of Israel; and was consequently an early contemporary of the prophet Amos. In the relations of the book to the history of the times, there is nothing to contradict the opinion that this was the period of Jonah’s ministry [Wirkungszeit]. Assyria, which, according to the statement of Herodotus, ruled Hither Asia five hundred and twenty years, was then a powerful empire; and as Jeroboam’s reign falls within the last century of the Assyrian dominion, Nineveh must certainly have possessed, at that time, the great extent which is assigned to it in this book, and which is also attested by profane authors. The separate cities of which this great metropolis [Weltstadt] was made up, were also of a very ancient foundation. (Comp. with1, 2) And, if twenty years after the death of Jeroboam, Menahem became tributary to the Assyrian king, Pul ( 2 Kings 15:19), it is obviously no rash assumption to affirm that even in the time of Jeroboam the Assyrians could not have been a strange people to the Israelites.

The more special historical characteristics, which an historical interpretation, something more than acute, believes that it has discovered in this book, namely, that Jonah went on a political mission to Nineveh, the nature of which it undertakes to determine (Forbiger, Goldhorn), belong of course to the domain of fiction and hypothesis. To the same place we assign the fables of the Rabbins, that can be gleaned in Carpzov (Introd. ii346), concerning the person and history of Jonah, together with the ingenious combinations of the same history with profane Mythology in Forbiger, Rosenmüller, Friedrichsen, Baur, and, in part also, Hitzig. Song of Solomon, then, even at an early period, the narrative of this book was considered historical. (The earliest reference to it is found in Tobit xiv8, LXX.) The arguments which have been raised against the historical character of the recorded events, reduce themselves (comp 3 below) to the incredibility of the reported incidents of Jonah’s life; and on a closer examination (comp. Jonah 3:7; Jonah 4:6), to the incomprehensibility of the miracle of the fish, which, in very early times, provoked mockery and jest. (Lucian, Verœ Hint., i. § 30 f. ed. Bip.; Augustini Ep. 102, opp. ed. Migne, ii. p382.) They are consequently of a subjective nature. The analogies adduced in support of this miracle may be adapted to facilitate belief in this history, on the part of him who is inclined to believe, or who already believes, without such aid; but they will hardly convince the unbeliever [Gegner]; and they were evidently not in the mind of the author, who undoubtedly intended to record a miracle, and not a natural event. [“We feel ourselves precluded from any doubt of the reality of the transactions recorded in this book, by the simplicity of the language itself; by the historical allusions in Tobit xiv4–vi15, and Josephus, Ant., ix10, sec2; and by the accordance with other authorities of the historical and geographical notices; by the thought that we might as well doubt all other miracles in Scripture as doubt these (‘Quod aut omnia divina mirdcula credenda non sint, aut hoc cur non credatur causa nulla sit.’ Aug. Ephesians 102. in Quœst. 6 de Jona, ii284; cf. Cyril. Alex. Comment, in Jonam, iii367–389); above all, by the explicit, words and teaching of our blessed Lord himself ( Matthew 12:39; Matthew 12:41; Matthew 16:4; Luke 11:29), and by the correspondence of the miracles in the histories of Jonah and the Messiah.”—Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, s. v. “Jonah.”—C. E.]

[O. R. Hertwig’s Tables: The historical truth of the narrative, assailed as early as the time of Lucian, is defended on the following grounds:—

(1.) The numerous historical and geographical statements bear in themselves a genuine historical character; for

(a.) The mission of Jonah to Nineveh entirely agrees with the historical circumstances of his time,

(b.) The description of the size of Nineveh harmonizes with the classical accounts of it. (Comp. Diod. Sic. ii3.)

(c.) The deep moral corruption is attested by Nahum.

(d.) The mourning of men and cattle ( Jonah 3:5-8) is confirmed by Herodotus, ix24, as an Asiatic custom.

(2.) The fundamental idea of the book, and the psychologically faithful description of the personality of the prophet and of the other persons,—ship’s crew and Ninevites,—entirely exclude fiction.

Compare Harless (in his Zeitschr. für Protest. 1851, 21:2) and M. Baumgarten.

(3.) The compilers of the Canon believed in the historical truth of the narrative, and for that reason received it among the prophetical writings.

(4.) The historical truth of the book is placed beyond all doubt by the words of Christ, Matthew 12:39 fit.; Matthew 26:4; Luke 11:29-32.

Compare Sack (Christl. Apol.) and Delitzsch. The belief of its historical character universally prevailed, not only in the Jewish Synagogue, but also in the Christian Church, until the middle of last century. (Tob. xiv8; LXX.; Joseph. Ant.)

In the last and present centuries the view that the book is a fiction was and has been maintained:—

(1.) An allegory: v. d. Hardt, Less, Palmer, Krahmer.

(2.) A legend: Eichhorn. A tale: Augusti, Roman, Müller, and others.

(3.) A myth, with Grecian (Forbiger, Rosenm, Friedrichsen), or with Assyr-Babyl. elements (Baur).

(4.) A moral didactic fable, or parable (Pareau, Gesen, Jahn, de Wette, Winer, Knobel, Niemeyer, Paulus, Ewald, and others).

(5.) A prophetic didactic fiction (Koster, Jäger, Hitzig.)—C. E.]

III. Symbolical Character of the Book

The main question is that which relates to the understanding of this book, not that concerning its historical contents [Gehalt], which will be answered differently, according to the degree in which the reader considers his conscience bound by the fides historica of the Holy Scriptures. Whether the events are taken from actual life or not, this much is evident, that the record of them is not the proper aim [nicht Selbstzweck ist] of the book: it is intended to communicate a deeper instruction in historical form.

That the book was written for the purpose of communicating such instruction is proved:—

1. From its position among the prophetical writings. The direct object of these writings Isaiah, without exception, to convey instruction in divine truth. If it be said, that the book was placed among the twelve Minor Prophets, because Jonah was its author, it may be replied, first, that of its authorship by Jonah we have nowhere any mention; and that, according to this rule, the Lamentations ought also to be placed among the prophetical books. Just with as little propriety can an argument be founded upon the fact that the book treats of the fortunes of a prophet, for according to this rule, Micah and Malachi would have no place among the prophetical writings; while on the other hand the books of Moses, from Exodus to Deuteronomy, and a whole series of chapters in the books of Kings, would be entitled to a place among these writings. If in the prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah, historical passages, or notices, are inserted, it is done that they may form the frame-work of the prophecy, serve to make it intelligible, and place it in organic connection with the facts; but throughout these prophets the prophetical element is the main part, on which the whole hinges. In the book of Jonah, on the other hand, this could still less be the object, as his prophecy is revoked, and thus forms, in the totality of the book, only a thing of passing moment [vorübergehendes Moment]. Moreover, that historical additions should be found in a long series of prophetical discourses is one thing, but that an entire independent book should be placed under this point of view, is quite another thing. Evidently the compilers of the Canon considered the book a purely prophetical one [Rede], whose historical manner of representation has the object of bringing its instruction within reach and of making it easily retained.

2. We find confirmation of this by inspection of the book itself, in which certain instructive truths—of which more hereafter—force themselves on the notice of the reader, and stand out so prominently that the interest of the narrator evidently does not attach to the person of whom he speaks, but manifestly to the events of his life [Ergehen dieser Person]. Precisely that, which, historically viewed, must appear the chief particular of the book, namely, the sparing of Nineveh, is marked with proportionally the least emphasis.

3. In addition to these considerations, and in harmony with them, is the style of the book. This is anything but the historical style. The author neglects a multitude of things, which he would have been obliged to mention had history been his principal aim. He says nothing of the sins of which Nineveh was guilty, and which might have formed the motive for its destruction; nothing of the long and difficult journey of the prophet to Nineveh; he is silent about the early dwelling-place of Jonah, about the place where he was vomited out upon the land; he does not mention whether and when Jonah offered and performed the offering and vow, which he promised and made ( Jonah 2:10); neither does he mention the name of the Assyrian king, nor take any notice of the subsequent fortunes of the prophet. In any case the narrative, if it were intended to be historical, would be incomplete by the frequent occurrence that circumstances, which are necessary for the connection of events, are mentioned later than they occurred, and only where attention is directed to them as having already happened. Should the observations mostly presented by Goldhorn and Hitzig be urged for the purpose of denying altogether that the Book of Jonah relates historical events, they must be deemed inadequate; but they certainly prove what Hengstenberg has fully done, that the author communicates historical events only so far as the object requires, to furnish an intelligible basis for the representation of a doctrinal object lying outside of the narrative; that the author, if he avails himself of the facts of history for his purpose, has still employed historical data with discrimination, in the light of, and according to the idea, which he intended to represent.

4. Circumstances are found so recorded, that without the supposition of a definite design and bearing of the narrative, this form of narration would be incomprehensible. If Jonah utters thanks in the belly of the fish, and not after he is safe on shore, then there Isaiah, unless this arrangement of events is required by a definite design, a want of physical truth, which cannot be concealed by any exegetical subtilty.

But the questions now arise, what are the design and teaching of the book? and how are they made available in the narrative? Is it a single moral lesson, of which the entire narrative is the foundation, after the manner of a didactic fable? Or is the whole representation symbolical, exhibiting a complete system [Zusammenhang] of doctrines and ideas, a delineation of an entire development in the Kingdom of God?

In answer to the first of these suppositions it can be said, that a single tenet of Revelation, or of morality, is incongruous with the contents of the whole book. Each of the individual tendencies advanced by Exegetes neglects one or the other part of the book, and can, therefore, not sufficiently explain the peculiar literary character of the whole. “There is no didactic unity in the book.” (Sack.) In the manifold applications made of the book, the doctrine has been discovered in it, that God cares for other nations also (Semler); that He is not the God of the Jews only, but also of the heathen (D. Michaelis, Eichhorn, Böhme, Pareau, Gesenius, De Wette, Winer, Knobel, and many others); and the view of Gramberg and Friedrichsen amounts to essentially the same thing, according to which the conduct of the heathen and their treatment should serve as an example of repentance to Israel. But according to these views the second chapter is entirely superfluous, and Friedrichsen, with great difficulty, accommodates the first to them. The matter is not improved by discovering in the book, in addition to instruction for the Jews, an admonition to toleration for the heathen. (Griesinger). Still less satisfactory are general truths, such as those that Niemeyer, Hezel, Möller, Meyer, Paulus, and others have found in the book: namely, “God’s ways are not as our ways.” “The office of prophet is arduous, but of great worth” [Köstlich]. “Jehovah is kind and readily forgives.” “God is ready to avenge and to forgive,” etc. And, if converting the doctrine into a special aim [Tendenz], Hitzig has developed the suggestions of Köster and Jäger to the view, that the book was written to remove the doubts which might attach themselves to the non-fulfillment of prophecy (here, according to Hitzig, with special reference to the alleged non-fulfillment of the prophecy of Obadiah), then the great preparations which were devoted to so insignificant an object, are not in keeping with it. Then chapters3,4would be amply sufficient. In the homiletical and catechetical use of the book, one must not leave unnoticed all those truths and definite purposes; and he will also determine, on account of their multitude, to bestow increased esteem and consideration upon the opulence of this little book, which, in four short chapters, discloses new contents to each inquirer; but even the multiplicity of the constructions put upon it [Bestimmungen] proves that none exhausts the contents of the book to the degree that one can attribute to it the character of a didactic fable, or moral narrative.

There is a still more cogent argument. The book Isaiah, as we have seen, a prophetical one. But in all prophecy, this kind of narrative is nowhere to be met with. No narrative is found there, which should solely have the object that the hearer, or reader, may draw from it an individual truth as a moral. On the other hand, it is quite a frequent kind of prophetical composition to symbolize the past, present, or future destinies of a great community in a single concrete form, so that this representative concrete appears in a whole series of relations as a symbol of that community. Of this, the Vineyard, Isaiah,, Jonah 5, is a familiar example. Ezekiel, particularly, is full of such symbols, among which the figurative representation of the fate of Jerusalem, Jonah 16, and the allegorizing of Judah and Ephraim by the two sisters, Aholah and Aholibah, are characteristic of this species of prophetic style. And still nearer to our purpose stands the most profound symbolical discourse of the Old Testament, Isaiah 40-66, in which everything, deserts, water, bread, light, Zion, are symbols, and under all these symbols the comprehension of the Israelitish national community, under the individual designation of the servant of God, occupies the highest place, since it is explained by the spirit of prophecy as the type of the true Israel manifested in Christ.

That the book of Jonah is to be counted among these symbolical prophecies has by no means escaped the notice of interpreters. The anticipation of it gleams through the words of old Marck: “Scriptum est magna parte historicum, sed ita ut in historia ipsa lateat maximi vaticinii mysterium, atque ipse fatis suis non minus quam effatis vatem se verum demonstret.” It forms also the minimum of an originally right starting-point in the peculiar conceits, whimsically embellished by the theological mythus, of Von der Hardt, that Nineveh represents Samaria, but that Jonah is an enigmatical name for the kings Manasseh and Josiah. Here belong also Herder’s attempt to represent Jonah as a symbol of the order of the prophets, and Krahmer’s view that Jonah was a warning example for his contemporaries.

On the same line, and equally removed from the purely parabolical and purely historical view, lies the attempt made by several modern divines and commentators, after the example of Sack (in harmony with the common effort to guide the exegesis of the Old Testament into the profound meaning of Scripture, and into the deep questions of the close connection between the Old and New Testaments), to represent Jonah as a type of Christ. Here particularly, we may mention Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, and Keil. (See below). This typical view of the book has a strong claim to be received, if we consider the declaration of our Saviour ( Matthew 12:40). But notwithstanding it may be said, first, that this view does not embrace the whole book, but must, along with our Saviour’s declaration, be restricted to chapter2; and again, that it shares the defects of every exposition of the Old Testament given entirely from the point of view of the New Testament; and that it is not suited to the peculiarity of the Old Testament standpoint, and to the independent significance of the book in the collection of the Canon. It is in part not enough, namely, the mere New Testament element; in part too much, to wit, the discovery of the fulfillment already in that which is preliminary. It is certainly true that the whole Old Testament revelation receives light from the New Testament from first to last, which enables us to perceive its teleological connection tending onward till it reaches the goal; and yet each statement and each book of the Old Testament, as a member of the organism of the Holy Scriptures, has an aim peculiar to itself. And the full authority of the typical interpretation will then first come into the true light, when one places the genuine sense already drawn from the contents of the book, under the light of the end, namely, the fulfillment. Let us attempt an interpretation of the symbol, an interpretation standing upon its own, and that an Old Testament foundation.

Jonah is a prophet; his special mission in the book is a prophetic one. There is in the Old Testament only one community to which the prophetic vocation belongs,—namely, the people of Israel. For the purpose that in him all the tribes of the earth should be blessed, Israel was founded as a nation in his ancestor, Abraham ( Genesis 12), and God chose him as his servant, to disseminate the light, the knowledge of God’s law among the heathen. ( Isaiah 42:1). Jonah is Israel. Nineveh—in the view of the author of the book the type of a great heathen city— Isaiah, in a similar relation, the representative of the heathen world, as are moreover Babylon ( Isaiah 13 f.), and Edom ( Isaiah 63). It is selected here, because the contact with Nineveh marks the decisive turning-point between the old time, when Israel, joyful in his strength, subjected the neighboring nations, and the new time, in which prophecy, through contact with the Mesopotamian powers, became of a universal character; because their captivity among these nations, though at first a penal calamity determined upon them, had the ultimate purpose of freeing the kingdom of God from the narrow limits of its national foundation, and of preparing its dissemination over the whole earth.

Israel has the mission of preaching God’s doctrine and law to the heathen world. But he has a greater desire for gain and its pursuits. He shuns his calling and goes on board a merchantman. He abandons his intimate relation to Zion and hastens far away, where no mission is assigned to him, where he thinks that the arm of God cannot reach him. For it also belongs to his ungodly prejudices to believe that God’s arm and work are limited to the holy land—a prejudice which already in Jacob, the ancestor whose character represents typically the national faults, was to his shame rebuked ( Genesis 28:16 f.).

But God reproves the fugitive. In the terrors, which must fall upon him, according to the divine decree, Jonah does not seek God, but sleeps, while the heathen pray. All heathen nations—the individual members of the crew represent nations, for they pray each to his God ( Jonah 1:5)—might, by their sincere idol-worship, administer a rebuke [zur Beschämung dienen] to the godlessness of God’s people, in their extreme distress. They cast the lot, which brings death to him; this they do not of their own choice, but by the appointment of God, which they unconsciously follow. The lot falls for a war of extermination against Israel. Jonah must announce his own fate. Israel has the law, which carries the curse in itself, and, like a sword suspended by a horse-hair, hangs over the head of the nation (comp. on Micah 6:16); he has prophecy, which, confined to him, prophecies a calamitous end to the whole nation ( Micah 3:12; Micah 1:8). Jonah is thrown into the sea and swallowed by a monster. The sea-monster Isaiah, by no means, an unusual phenomenon in prophetic typology. It is the secular power appointed by God for the scourge of Israel and of the earth. ( Isaiah 27:1; comp. on Jonah 2:1.) Israel is abandoned to the night and gloom of exile, after the catastrophe of the national overthrow, because he neglected his vocation. Hence the fact that Jonah prays and turns to God, before his deliverance from the fish’s belly, receives an illustration. In adversity Israel shall again seek God. In that which properly belongs to penal sufferings, he shall nevertheless, at the same time, acknowledge the gracious hand of God ( Hosea 2:16). He shall, also, in his miserable existence in a foreign land, not forget his holy calling. He shall not forget that his preservation as a nation, though as outcast, is a saving act of God. This becomes still clearer through the close relation, in which this prayer of Jonah stands to the longing and lamentations in exile, of the people of God, e. g. Psalm 42, 83in which also the deeps of the sea symbolize the misery of Israel.

There [in the deep] Jonah remains three days and three nights, a definite, but an ideal time (comp. on Jonah 2:1); a similar time is allotted by Hosea, also, for the punishment of Israel ( Hosea 6:2). Then the fish vomits him out; the exile must have an end, for God has appointed the fish; not of its own power and will did it swallow Jonah.

But with the hoped for restoration, the vocation of Israel is not revoked. Jonah is sent the second time to Nineveh; and he must preach that the heathen world shall perish; for that is the will of God concerning the nations that do not obey Him ( Micah 5:14). But Israel says, What shall I preach? It is truly cause for despair, that so much has already been prophesied concerning the destruction of the heathen, and that it has come to nothing. They remain peaceful and quiet. If my preaching accomplishes its object, they will be saved, for God is merciful and gracious. (Comp. Zechariah 1:11.) This instance [Moment] [of doubt and irresolution on the part of Israel.—C. E.] is also portrayed in the history of Jonah. Indeed, Jonah’s preaching works repentance, and, consequently, forbearance; and reproach proceeds from his mouth. God corrects him by the incident of the palmchrist. Thereby Israel, too, is instructed. There lies in the sparing of Nineveh, before the correction of Jonah, the type of the future ingathering of the multitude of the heathen before the Jewish people, which must first be humbled and broken. (Comp. Micah 4) And the prophet who wrote the history of Jonah, has exhibited the ground of this future, momentous to his people, as one lying within the Old Testament knowledge of God and his kingdom; in the mercy of God in view of repentance, and in the obduracy of Israel against the divine goodness, which quarrels with God instead of repenting. So must it truly come to pass, what Isaiah says ( Isaiah 65:1), that God is found of those who sought Him not, and who were not called by his name. (Comp. Romans 10:20.)

Upon this teleological prophecy nothing more can follow; the book naturally closes with this according to our view. It becomes evident, according to this view, that the book is one of universal tendency, and raises the idea of Israel to a height similar to that described, Isaiah 40 ff.; only that there the bright side fulfilled in Christ develops itself from the mission of the servant. Though here the dignity of the mission is not less marked than there, yet the natural obstacles in the character of the people are brought into the foreground, by which it came to pass that the true Israel, at last, was not received by his own, and was crucified by contemporary Israel. Further, the reciprocal relation is hence clearly exhibited, which the symbolical character has had upon the treatment of the historical narrative; and the historical substratum upon the symbolical representation. There is no doubt that the truth to be exhibited could have been more briefly and more directly explained in another way (as this holds good generally in the ease of parables); but the author found, in a history ready to his hand,[FN3] the profound idea, which the Spirit moved him to teach, and in order to do justice to the historical, he made casual mention in the narrative, of much which, at the first glance, might appear, from the point of view of a didactic object, as unimportant.

But on the other hand, it could not fail that his design to write symbolic history made him indifferent to the pragmatic connection of the historical substratum in itself; hence the chasms and the incompleteness of statement noted by Hengstenberg, as soon as the rule of the historical style is applied to it.

Hence, finally, we learn from the book itself, its typical significance in relation to the New Testament. That Israel, as he lives a unity in the complex of God’s ideas [in der Ideenwelt Gottes], is the type of Christ, is indubitable to every one who has once earnestly reflected upon the wonderful harmony between the image of the servant of God ( Isaiah 49. ff.) and Christ, and who has sought to explore the concealed vein of Old Testament history, according to the clear exposition of the Apostle Paul ( Galatians 3:16). If Jonah is a type of Israel, and Israel a type of Christ, then the typical relation already traced out in Sack (see below), is suggested between Jonah and Christ; and the reference to this type, prominently presented in Matthew 12:40, comp. Matthew 16:4; Mark 8:11 f.; Luke 11:29 ff.; John 12:23 f, is only a single, though the most important instance [Moment]. Indeed it is according to the intimation of these passages, that as the sparing of Jonah in the belly of the fish and his subsequent preaching of repentance ( Luke 11:32), were a sign to the Ninevites, which must bring to them faith or judgment, so the preservation of Jesus in the grave, and the continued proclamation of the Risen One, are a sign to the world of judgment and of faith, by which the separation of mankind proceeds continually with inexorable power. Other relations can still be discovered without forced interpretation. It seems to me particularly worth considering how the voluntary labors of the ship’s crew ( Jonah 1:13) did not gain the shore; there was no peace until the sin-offering consecrated by God was offered.

[The mission and vocation of Israel are set forth in Isaiah 42:6 : “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” “This description is entirely appropriate, not only to the Head, but to the Body also, in subordination to him. Not only the Messiah, but the Israel of God was sent to be a mediator or connecting link between Jehovah and the nations.” Israel was “a covenant race or middle people between God and the apostate nations.” (Alexander on Isaiah, Isaiah 42:6.) Jonah commissioned by God to preach against the great heathen city, Nineveh, is a type of Israel in his mission and vocation.

“The book of Jonah contains no prediction of a direct Christian import. But he is in his own person, a type, a prophetic sign of Christ. The miracle of his deliverance from his three days of death in the body of the whale, is the expressive image of the resurrection, of Christ. Our Saviour has fixed the truth and certainty of this type. Matthew 12:40.

“Further, the whole import of Jonah’s mission partakes of the Christian character: For when we see that he is sent not only to carry the tidings of the divine judgment, but also to exemplify the grant of the divine mercy to a great heathen city; that Isaiah, to be a preacher of repentance; and that the repentance of the Ninevites through his mission, brings them to know “a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and repenting Him of the evil” ( Jonah 4:2);—without staying to discuss whether all this be a formal type of the genius of the Christian religion, it is plainly a real example of some of its chief properties, in the manifested efficacy of repentance, the grant of pardon, and the communication of God’s mercy to the heathen world.” (Davison on Prophecy, pp200, 201.)—C. E.]

[O. R. Hertwig’s Tables: Without prejudice to its historical sense, the following authors admit a symbolico-typical character of the Book:—

(1.) Keil, Del, Baumg, Hengst.: Jonah is a type of Christ. (Also the Church Fathers, Marck and others, on account of Matthew 12:40.)

(2.) Kleinert: Jonah is the representative of Israel in his [Israel’s] prophetic vocation to the heathen world.—C. E.]

IV. Date

On this point two deductions follow from the preceding exposition: first, that Jonah himself could not have written this book; second, that its composition is separated by a long period from the time of Jereboam II, in whose reign its action falls. For disregarding the fact that this manner of speaking of one’s self in the third person, does not occur elsewhere in the prophets, with the exception of Isaiah 36-39, taken from an annalistic source, though written by the prophet, and with the exception of short introductory headings to prophetic passages (compare on the other hand, e. g., Ezekiel), and that it has also little probability, the historical style is wanting to the book, and still more, there is wanting the character of things experienced by the writer [selbsterlebter Dinge, self experienced things]. And indeed it is not well to assume either that a man should make his own fortunes the subject of a symbolical narrative, or that Jonah, according to the time in which he lived and the aggregate condition of prophetic knowledge of that time, should see so clearly, portrayed in the wonderful fortunes which happened to him, according to the narrative of this book, over its personal significance, the lines for the whole future development of the kingdom of God and its relation to the heathen world, as they have been here exhibited in harmony with the prophetic Revelation, which developed themselves long after the time of Jonah in the vision of the Babylonish exile; especially because the book evidently does not advance the claim of intending to make the announcement of a germinant, though not begun future, but to furnish an understanding of the ways of God at the time present. We find that personification of Israel, its relation to the prophetic mission and to the exile, first in Isaiah 40 ff, in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and especially so strongly marked in Ezekiel, that the author of this book cannot be elevated to a grade of prophecy like this. It agrees with this, that the next object of the book, according to the above acknowledged meaning of Jonah 2, is exhausted in rousing and bringing the Israelites to the consciousness of their vocation, according as they, in the Captivity and after it, were situated with reference to the heathen. It cannot even be denied that the literary character of the book also gives it this place. That the psalm in the second chapter is not a prayer repeated literally from memory, but a free reproduction (whose relation to the object above stated, cannot escape the notice of the reader), is pretty generally acknowledged. “Not that he uttered just these words with his mouth, and placed them in such order, for he was not in so happy a state as to compose so fine a hymn. But it is therein shown how he felt; what thoughts were in his heart, while he was engaged in the hard struggle with death.” (Luther.) The reproduction indeed depends upon passages in the Psalter. And though it might be conceded that ver 2 is not, as would appear at first sight, borrowed from Psalm 120:1, written after the exile, but from Psalm 18:7, there still remains a series of other verbal coincidences with Psalm 42, 88, and others, which, like these Psalm themselves can only be explained from the side of the Captivity. Just so is the description of the repentance ( Jonah 3), which the Ninevites engaged in by order of their king, made up throughout of recollections of the prophetic mode of expression; resting not only upon Joel 1:20, but also upon Ezekiel 18:23; and in general a realization of Ezekiel 3:6. Not that thereby the historical character of this repentance would be destroyed: we find here, as in the prayer ( Jonah 2), views and special-references that do not admit of a general solution. But the mode of expression fixes the time of the exile as the date of the book.

To this may finally be added some external peculiarities of language and representation. The richness of the language and the use of words, likewise place the book in the times of the later Hebraism. In common with Ezekiel and Jeremiah, it has the words not occurring elsewhere: מַלָּח, mariner, Jonah 1:5 ( Ezekiel 27:9; Ezekiel 27:27; Ezekiel 27:29); עָשַׁת, Jonah 1:6 (comp. Jeremiah 5:28); the form רִבּוֹ, Jonah 4:11, compare with Ezra,, Nehemiah, and Chronicles; the word העבר, Jonah 3:6, with the signification to remove, to lay aside, compare with Chronicles and Esther. Further, טַעַם), Jonah 3:7, in the sense of edict, and ספִינָה, ship, Jonah 1:5, are words wholly foreign to the Hebrew commonwealth of letters and of North-Semitic origin. And hence, also, other phenomena of language, that were not impossible in the time of Jonah, but yet foreign to the old prophetic style, gain importance, as for instance, the combinations, after the Aramaic manner, of בְשֶׁלִי, Jonah 1:12; בְּשֶׁלְּמִי, Jonah 1:7; and the simple שֶׁ itself for אשׁר, Jonah 4:10; and also the periphrase of the object-accusative by means of ל, Jonah 4:6. In however small a degree a determinate meaning can be ascribed to such phenomena in language in the small compass of the realm of Hebrew literature, yet are they in nowise worthless, especially in a book whose author wholly omits to make any mention of himself. To this may be added the fact that an author in Jonah’s time, in mentioning the city of Nineveh, would hardly have found it necessary for the information of his readers, to subjoin: “and Nineveh was a great city,” Jonah 3:3; so finally, the phenomenon of our having obviously in chapters3,4two accounts, which state essentially the same thing, the one in laconic touches, the other in more minute details (a circumstance in the known style of oriental and popular narrative, that in general need not surprise us), and which agree verbally and intimately blend with one another. First account, C. Jonah 3:1-5; Jonah 3:10; Jonah 4:1-5. Second account, Jonah 3:1-4; Jonah 3:6-10; Jonah 4:1-3; Jonah 4:6-11). This observation proves two different things: first that we have to do, not with a parabolic fiction, but with a fact historically transmitted several times. Secondly, so long a space has intervened between the events and the record, that two traditions could be formed in the mean time; that therefore a later author, and not Jonah, has compiled this account in systematic form. The unity of the book, which has been denied by Nachtigal, with much ingenuity, is internally and externally quite indivisible. The word שֵׁנִית connects both the great halves in the most intimate manner; everywhere we meet with certain standing formulæ (וימן, Jonah 2:1; Jonah 4:6 ff.; the great city, Jonah 1:2; Jonah 3:3, etc.), and idioms (comp. especially the peculiar form of the hysteron-proteron Jonah 1:5-10; Jonah 3:6 f.; Jonah 4:5); and the internal unity follows naturally from the interpretation given under2.

To sum up, one cannot but ascribe the composition of the book to a contemporary and fellow-sufferer of Ezekiel, to whom allusions most manifold have met us in the course of exposition. But the position which it occupies among the oldest prophets, is easily explained from the circumstance that the object of the narrative, and not the author, is kept in view, and therefore Jonah, as the one who first came in contact with Assyria, properly precedes Micah, that prophet who lived under the Assyrian oppression, during its middle period, and Nahum, who announced definitely the fate of Nineveh.

Luther: Some would maintain, as Jerome shows, that this prophet, Jonah, was the son of the widow at Zarephath, near Sidon, who nourished the prophet Elijah during the famine, mentioned in 1 Kings 17:10, and 2 Kings 14:25. The reason they assign Isaiah, that he calls himself here the son of Amittai, that Isaiah, a son of the true one, because his mother said to Elijah, when he raised him from the dead: “Now I know that the word of thy mouth is truth” ( 1 Kings 17:24). Believe that who will, I do not believe it; but his father was called Amittai, in Latin Verax (true), in German Wahrlich (true), and was of Gath-Hepher, which city was in the tribe of Zebulun ( Joshua 19:13; 2 Kings 14:25). The widow of Zarephath was also a heathen, as Christ informs us ( Luke 4:26); but Jonah confesses here ( Jonah 1:9), that he was a Hebrew.

I say this, therefore, that where we have the means, it is very well to know at what time and in what country a prophet lived. For it has this advantage, that we can better understand his book, if we know the time, place, person, and history [of that period]. We find then that Jonah lived at the time of king Jeroboam, whose grandfather was king Jehu, when king Uzziah reigned in Judah, when also the prophets, Hosea,, Amos, and Joel lived in the same kingdom of Israel, in other places and cities. We can infer how eminently beloved a man Jonah was in the kingdom of Israel, and how God wrought by him a great work, from the fact that through his preaching, king Jeroboam was so successful as to regain all that Hazael, king of Syria, had detached from the kingdom of Israel, to which he had done so great damage, that the prophet Elisha wept over it, before it came to pass ( 2 Kings 8:11).

Whether Jonah counseled and assisted king Jeroboam before his experience in the whale, and at Nineveh, or after his return from that city, cannot be shown from Scripture. But it is probable that he first served and aided king Jeroboam in his country, until he had again set up and established the kingdom of Israel. After this he is sent of God out of his own country to Nineveh. For in his own country he had learned from experience how kind and gracious God was to the idolatrous kingdom of Israel; wherefore he expected that He would also be as kind and gracious toward Nineveh, so that his proclamation would be in vain and fruitless, as he himself confesses, and is angry thereat ( Jonah 4:1-2).

In short, such was the state of the world in the time of Jonah, that the supreme kingdom or empire in it, was in Assyria, at Nineveh, as it was afterward at Babylon, and subsequently at Rome. Besides, there were at this time the other kingdoms, Syria, Israel, Judáh, Edom, Moab, each independent. The kingdom of Israel prospered under king Jeroboam on Jonah’s account; so the kingdom of Judah was prosperous under king Uzziah.

Sack: Jonah was saved from the depths of the sea, and preserved in the body of the sea-monster, for the purpose of preaching repentance to the Ninevites, a people with the common mercies of Providence thrown around them, not by themselves, but by Jehovah. They thereupon repent. This wonderful preservation for the effective preaching of repentance took place, and was recorded just as it happened, that it might be a type of the Deliverer of the nation, who also entered the depths of the earth, and yet was preserved, and within three days was made alive, and who was to perform the great work of “preaching repentance and remission of sins among all nations” ( Luke 24:47), with results so much more victorious, and under the opposition of Israel. Some one besides Jonah might have preached to the Ninevites; and Jonah might have been brought to do it in some other way than by a wonderful deliverance; the conversion of the Ninevites had also just as little need of becoming a portion of Biblical history, as so many transient returns of an ancient people to a better state of piety, have had. But all this had to come to pass, because nothing more suitable could be conceived whereby to typify the greatest deliverance, by means of which the most successful sermon on repentance was to become possible. As Jonah’s preaching to the Ninevites was against his will, so the preaching of Christ to the heathen was against the will of Israel: they were awakened to repentance, and the Saviour could on that account say with such significance: “No other sign shall be given to this generation than that of Jonah the prophet,” since through the possibility of the repetition of this sign,—the preservation in the depths of the earth,—just the strongest proof of the reprobate character of this generation was given. This is not done away by the passage in Luke 11:30, where that generation is directly compared with the Ninevites; for this can refer only to the experience of such wonderful deliverance, and does not destroy the contrast that runs through all these passages, between the baser Jews and the better ancient and modern heathen. (Comp. Matthew 8:11.) But the differences that Jonah remained alive and Christ was made alive; that Jonah went against his will; and Christ, out of love, commanded [his disciples] to preach to all nations; that Jonah afterward was angry thereat [God’s sparing Nineveh], which was exactly repeated in the case of Israel;—all these are naturally founded on the history as such, and vanish before the pervading similarity of the divine method of dealing before and after the preaching to the heathen. Be it Song of Solomon, that before the appearance of the Saviour, pity to the heathen, in a special manner, must have occurred to the readers of Jonah as the real sense of the book; after that appearance, mercy displaying itself, in the giving up and preservation of the Messiah, is taken as the true sense of Jonah; and this sense is a historico-typical one.

Keil: The mission of Jonah is a fact of symbolical and typical significance, which was intended not only to enlighten Israel as to the position of the heathen world in relation to the kingdom of God, but at the same time to typify the future admission of the heathen, who observe God’s word, to a participation of the salvation prepared in Israel for all nations. This, however, does not exhaust the deeper meaning of the history of Jonah. It reaches still further and culminates in the typical character of the three days’ sojourn of Jonah in the belly of the fish, of which Christ informs us, when He referred the Jews to the sign of the prophet Jonah, in the words: “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” ( Matthew 12:40.) In order to understand this type, that is to say, the divinely appointed connection between the typical event and its antitype, we are furnished with a key in the answer which Jesus gave, when, a short time before his passion, Philip and Andrew told Him, that certain Greeks, among those who had come up to worship at the feast, desired to see Him. This answer consists of a twofold statement ( John 12:23 f.): “The time is come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit;” and John 12:32, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” This answer of Jesus amounts to this: that the time for the admission of the heathen had not yet come; but in the words, “the hour is come,” etc, is contained the explanation, that the heathen have only to wait patiently a little longer, since their union with Christ, with which the reply concludes ( John 12:32), is directly connected with the glorification of the Son of Man (Hengstenberg, on John 12:20). This declaration of our Lord, that his death and glorification are necessary, in order that He may draw all men, even the heathen, to himself, or that by his death He may break down the wall of partition, by which the heathen till then had been shut out of the kingdom of God, at which He had already hinted in John 10:15-16, teaches us to recognize the history of Jonah as an important, significant link in the chain of development of the divine plan of salvation.

Niebuhr: By the way, we must call attention to the fact, that the threatened, but revoked destruction of Nineveh, has reference likely to the shock which Nineveh suffered through the revolt of Media and Babylon, and which bears wholly the character of a postponed overthrow of the kingdom. The destruction is to occur after forty days (years). Now Jonah, the son of Amittai ( 2 Kings 14:25), is mentioned in connection with Jeroboam II. (about75–34 N.) as a prophet. There is nothing said as to the time when Jonah lived. But as in those times it was the rule for prophecies to have reference only to brief periods, it is probable that Jonah was a contemporary of Jeroboam, and that he prophesied against Nineveh forty years before the revolt of Media, which began some years prior to I. N.

[O. R. Hertwig’s Tables give the following summary of views respecting the date of the Book:—

Keil fixes it soon after the events recorded in it, and the return of Jonah to his native land.

Others place it at a later time for the following reasons:—

(1.) The book contains Aramaisms, which indicate a later age than that of the events which it records. (De Wette.)

(2.) Chapter Jonah 3:3, supposes that the destruction of Nineveh had already taken place. (Ewald.)

(3.) Jonah 2:3-10, contains many reminiscences from the Psalm.

(4.) Chapter Jonah 2:5; Jonah 2:8, supposes that the temple had been rebuilt. (Krahmer.)

For these reasons the following dates have been assumed:—

(a.) The time of the Assyrian exile. (Goldhorn.)

(b.) The time of Josiah. (Gesen, Rosenm, and Berth.)

(c.) The time of the Babylonian exile. (Jäger, Kleinert.)

(d.) The post-exile period. (Jahn, Knobel, Köster, Ewald.)

(e.) After the year515 b. c. (Krahmer.)

(f.) The third century. (Vatke, Bibl. Theol.)

(g.) The time of the Maccabees. (Hitzig.)—C. E.]

[“It is the uniform tradition among the Jews, that Jonah himself wrote the history of his mission; and on this principle alone the book was placed among the prophets. For no books were admitted among the prophets but those which the arranger of the Canon believed (if this was the work of the Great Synagogue), or (if it was the work of Ezra), knew to have been written by persons called to the prophetic office. Hence the Psalm of David (although many are prophetic, and our Lord declares him to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost), and the book of Daniel were placed in a separate class, because their authors, although eminently endowed with prophetic gifts, did not exercise the pastoral office of the Prophet. Histories of the prophets, as Elijah and Elisha, stand, not under their own names, but in the books of the prophets who wrote them. Nor is the book of Jonah a history of the Prophet, but of that one mission to Nineveh. Every notice of the prophet is omitted, except what bears on that mission. The book also begins with just that same authentication with which all other prophetic books begin. As Hosea and Joel and Micah and Zephaniah open, “The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea,Joel,, Micah, Zephaniah; and other prophets in other ways ascribe their books not to themselves, but to God, so Jonah opens, “And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying.” This inscription is an integral part of the book; as is marked by the word, “saying.”… . The words, “The word of the Lord came to,” are the acknowledged form in which the commission of God to prophesy is recorded. It is used of the commission to deliver a simple prophecy, or it describes the whole collection of prophecies, with which any prophet was intrusted: “The word of the Lord which came to Micah or Zephaniah.” But the whole history of the prophecy is bound up with, and a sequel of these words.

“Nor is there anything in the style of the prophet at variance with this.

“It is strange,” continues Dr. Pusey, from whom these observations have been quoted, “that at any time beyond the babyhood of criticism, any argument should be drawn from the fact that the Prophet writes of himself in the third person. Manly criticism has been ashamed to use the argument as to the commentaries of Cæsar, or the Anabasis of Xenophon. However the genuineness of these works may have been at times questioned, here we were on the ground of genuine criticism, and no one ventured to use an argument so palpably idle. It has been pointed out that minds so different as Barhebræus, the great Jacobite historian of the east, and Frederick the Great, wrote of themselves in the third person; as did also Thucydides and Josephus, even after they had attested that the history in which they so speak, was written by themselves.

But the real ground lies much deeper. It is the exception, when any sacred writer speaks of himself in the first person. Ezra and Nehemiah do so; for they are giving an account, not of God’s dealings with his people, but of their own discharge of a definite office, allotted to them by man. Solomon does so in Ecclesiastes, because he is giving the history of his own experience; and the vanity of all human things, in themselves, could be attested so impressively by no one as by one who had all which man’s mind could imagine.

On the contrary, the prophets, unless they speak of God’s revelations to them, speak of themselves in the third person. Thus Amos relates in the first person, what God showed him in vision; for God spoke to him, and he answered and pleaded with God. In relating his persecution by Amaziah, he passes at once to the third: “Amaziah said to Amos: Then answered Amos and said to Amaziah ( Amos 7:12; Amos 7:14). In like way, Isaiah speaks of him self in the third person, when relating how God sent him to meet Ahaz, commanded him to walk three years, naked and barefoot; Hezekiah’s message to him, to pray for his people, and his own prophetic answer; his visit to Hezekiah in the king’s sickness, his warning to him, his prophecy of his recovery, the sign which at God’s command Isaiah gave him, and the means of healing he appointed.”

Dr. Pusey instances the other prophets, Jeremiah,, Ezekiel,, Haggai, Moses; in the New Testament, St. John, who styles himself, when referring to himself, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

“As for the few words which persons who disbelieved in miracles selected out of the book of Jonah as a plea for removing it far down beyond the period when those miracles took place, they rather indicate the contrary. They are all genuine Hebrew words or forms, except the one Aramaic name for the decree of the king of Nineveh, which Jonah naturally heard in Nineveh itself.

“A writer,[FN4] equally unbelieving, who got rid of the miracles by assuming that the book of Jonah was meant only for a moralizing fiction, found no counter-evidence in the language, but ascribed it unhesitatingly to the Jonah, son of Amittai, who prophesied in the reign of Jeroboam II. He saw the nothingness of the Song of Solomon -called proof, which he had no longer any interest in maintaining.

“The examination of these words will require a little detail, yet it may serve as a specimen (it is no worse than its neighbors) of the way in which the disbelieving school picked out a few words of a Hebrew prophet or section of a prophet, in order to disparage the genuineness of what they did not believe.”

I will condense Dr. Pusey’s remarks on the words in question. The words are these: —

(1.) “The word sephinah, lit. ‘a decked vessel,’ is a genuine Hebrew word from saphan, covered, ceiled. The word was borrowed from the Hebrew, not by Syrians or Chaldees only, but by the Arabians, in none of which dialects is it an original word. A word plainly is original in that language in which it stands connected with other meanings of the same root, and not in that in which it stands isolated. Naturally, too, the term for a decked vessel would be borrowed by inland people, as the Syrians, from a nation living on the sea-shore, not conversely. This is the first occasion for mentioning a decked vessel. It is related that Jonah went in fact ‘below deck,’ ‘was gone down into the sides of the decked vessel.’ Three times in those verses, when Jonah did not wish to express that the vessel was decked, he uses the common Hebrew word, oniyyah. It was then of set purpose that Hebrews, in the same verse, used the two words, oniyyah and sephinah.

2. “Mallach is also a genuine Hebrew word, from melach, salt sea, as ἁλιεύς, from ἅλς, ‘salt,’ then (masc.) in poetry, ‘brine.’

3. “Rab hachobel, ‘chief of the sailors,’ ‘captain.’ Rab is Phœnician also, and this was a Phœnician vessel. Chobel, which is joined with it, is a Hebrew, not Aramaic word.

4. “Ribbo, ‘ten thousand,’ they say is a word of later Hebrew. It occurs in a Psalm of David and in Hosea.

5. “Vith’ashehath, thought, purposed,’ is also an old Hebrew word. The root occurs in Job, a Psalm, and the Canticles. In the Syriac it does not occur, nor in the extant, Chaldee, in the sense in which it is used by Jonah.

6. “The use of the abridged forms of the relative she for asher, twice in composite words beshellemi, beshelli (the fuller form, baasher lemi, also occurring), and once in union with the noun shebbin.

“There is absolutely no plea whatever for making this an indication of a later style, and yet it occurs in every string of words, which have been assumed to be indications of such style. It is not Aramaic at all, but Phœnician and Old Hebrew. In Phœnician, esh is the relative, which corresponds the more with the Hebrew in that the following letter was doubled, as in the Punic words in Plautus, syllohom, siddoberim, it enters into two proper names, both of which occur in the Pentateuch, and one, only there; Methushael, ‘a man of God,’ and Mishael, the same as Michael, ‘Who is like God?’ lit. ‘Who is what God is?’ Probably it occurs also in the Pentateuch in the ordinary language. Perhaps it is used more in the dialect of North Palestine. It is frequently used in the Song of Solomon. In Ecclesiastes it occurs sixty-six times. Of books which are really later, it does not occur in Jeremiah’s prophecies, Ezekiel,, Daniel, or any of the six later of the minor prophets, nor in Nehemiah or Esther. It occurs only once in Ezra, and twice in the first Book of Chronicles, whereas it occurs four times in the Judges, and once in the Kings, and once probably in Job.

7. “Manah, ‘appoint, or prepare,’ occurs in a Psalm of David.

8. “Taam, ‘decree.’ This is a Syriac word, and accordingly, since it has now been ascertained beyond all question, that the language of Nineveh was a dialect of Syriac, it was, with a Hebrew pronunciation, the very word used of this decree at Nineveh. The employment of the special word is a part of the same accuracy with which Jonah relates that the decree was issued, not from the king only, but from the king and his nobles, one of those minute touches which occur in the writings of those who describe what they have seen.

“Out of the eight words, or forms, three are naval terms, and since Israel was no seafaring people, it is in harmony with the history, that these terms should first occur in the first prophet who left the land of his mission by sea. So it is also, that an Assyrian technical term should first occur in a prophet who had been sent to Nineveh.” (Pusey’s Introd. to the Book of Jonah.)

The writer of the article on Jonah, in Kitto’s Biblical Cyclopœdia, is of the opinion, that the Chaldaisms in the book may be accounted for by the nearness of the Canton of Zebulon, to which Jonah belonged, to the northern territory, whence by national intercourse Aramaic peculiarities might be insensibly borrowed.—C. E.]

V. Literature

Separate Commentaries.—[M. Luther, Der Proph. Jona ausgel., Wittenb, 15208vo.—C E.] J. Leusden, Jonas illustratus (Obadiah), Traj, 165612mo. A. Pfeiffer, Prœlectiones in Proph. Jonœ, Viteb, 16714to (3vols. ibid. 1701). Joh. Gerhardt, Adnotatt. in Amos et Jonah, Jen, 16764to. F. A. Christianus, Jonas illustratus, Lps, 1683. J. Cocceius, Comm. in Jonam, in Opp. t3, Francof. ad M, 1689. H. A. Grimm, Der Prophet Jonas auf, s Neue übersetzt, mit erläuternden Anmerkungen, Düsseld, 1789. Sibthorp, Auslegung des Buchs Jona, Stuttg, 1843. Fr. Kaulen, Lib. Jonœ expos., Mog, 1862.

Treatises and Monographs.—H. v. d. Hardt, Jonas in Carcharia, Helmst, 1718; Jonas sub Sillicyprio, H1718; Ænigmata Jonœ, H1719; Elias, Elisa, Jonas ex Hist. et Gengr. vetere restituti, H, 1719; Das Licht Jonä aus der Geschichte der Gessuriter, H1720; Ænigmata prisci Orbis, H1723. V. Seelen, Examen hypoth. exeg. de Jona œnigmatico, in meditt. exegg., Lub1732. J. Th. Lessing, Observations in vatt. J. et Nahumi., Chemn, 1780. Th. E. Piper, Diss. Critico-biblica, Historiam J. a Recentiorum Conatibus Vindicatam sistens, Gryph, 1786. Thaddäus Adam, Die Sendungsgesch. d. Proph. Jonas, Kritisch untersucht u. v. Widersprüchen gerettet, Bonn, 1786. J. Ch. Höpfner, Curarum critt. exegett. in LXX. vers. vatt. J. specimen, Lps, 1787, f4. B. Kordes, Observationum in Oracc. J. specimen, Jenæ, 1788. H. Benzenberg, Ein Paar Recensionen aus Herzensgrund, Frkf. u. Lpz, 1789. L. N. Fallesen, Prophetie Jonas, in Magazin for Religionslœrere, Kjöbenh, 1792, Bd2. H. C. Griesdorf, De verisimillima l. Jonœ interpretandi Ratione, W, 1794, 2Th. Paulus, Zweck der Parabel Jortah, in den Memorabb., 1794, S35–38. J. G. A. Möller, Jonah eine moralische Erzählung; ibid. S157 f. J. C. Nachtigall, Uber das Buch mit der Aufschrift Jonas, in Eichh. Bibliothek, 1799, S 221 ff. Sonnenmayer, Meine Ansicht der Stelle Matthew 12:38 ff. in Augusti, s. Monatschrift, 18021, 4, S255 ff. J. D. Goldhorn, Excurse zum Buch Jonas, Lpz, 1803. J. H. Verschuir, De Argumento Libelli Jonœ, ejusque Veritate Historica, in Opp. ed. Lotze, Traj, 1810. P. Friedrichsen, Kritische Übersicht der verschiedenen Ansichten über Jonas, Lpz1817; 2Aufl, 1841. J. C. Reindl, Die Sendungsgesch. des Propheten Jonas nach Nineveh, Bamb, 1826. Forbiger, Comm. de Lycophr. Cassandri 5:31–37, cum epimetro de Jona, Lps, 1827. Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, 1834, n27–29. G. Laberenz, De vera Libri Jonœ interpretatione, Fuld, 1836. Ch. F. Böhme, Über das Buch Jonah, in Illgens Zeitschr, 1836, I. S195 ff. F. Ch. Baur, Der Prophet Jonas, ein assyrisch-babylonisches Symbol., Ebendas1837, I:90 ff. A. W. Krahmer, Der Schriftforscher, I. Kassel, 1839. Jäger, Über den sittlich-religiösen Endzwech d. B. J. u. s. w. in der (Baur-Kern’schen) Tüb. Zeitschr., 1840, I:35 ff. F. Delitzsch, Etwas über das Buch Jonah; in the Rudelbach-Guericke’schen Zeitschr., Lpz, 1840, II. M. Baumgarten, Über die Zeichen des Propheten Jonas, ibid, 1842, II:1 f. … Vgl. ausserdem, Semler, Apparat. ad Liber. V. T. Interpretationem, p269. Niemeyer, Charakteristik der Bibel, Theil5. Eichhorn, Einleitung (4Aufl.), 1823, f. sec576 ff. Pareau, Institut. interpret, 1822, p534. Sack, Christliche Apologetik, 1826, S345 ff. M. v. Niebuhr, Geschichte Assur’s und Babel’s, 1857; Beilage3, Jonah und Nineveh, S 274 ff.

Devotional and Practical.—Lavater, Predigten über das Buch Jonas, Zurich, 1773, 2Aufl. in2 Bänden, Winterth1782. Höselen, Jonas Bekehrtes Ninive, 54Reden, Lpz, 1816. Ed. Neander, Der Prophet Jona. Predigten, Mitau, 1842. Quandt, Jonas der Sohn Amithai, Berlin, 1866. [See Gen. Lit. of the Minor Prophets.—C. E.]

[Hugh Martin, The Prophet Jonah: His Character and Mission to Nineveh, London and New York, 1866. Patrick Fairbairn, Jonah: His Life, Character, and Mission, viewed in Connection with the Prophet’s own Times, and Future Manifestations of God’s Mind and Will in Prophecy, T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1849.—C. E.]

Footnotes:

FN#1 - “Thun eine grosse öffentliche Busse,” perform a great public [act of] repentance.—C. E.]

FN#2 - The English version of 2 Kings 14:25, which reads. … “ Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-Hepher,” may be understood as meaning that Jonah was merely a resident of that village; but the Hebrew preposition min, rendered of, has, among other significations, that of source, or origin. See Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon, s. v.—C. E.]

FN#3 - Compare H. Ewald. on the Poetical Books of the Old Testament in the Introduction to the Book of Job: the invention of a history from its inception, the production of a person intended to be historical, wholly from the imagination of the poet, are entirely foreign to antiquity, because extremely forced and remote.

FN#4 - Paulus.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology