Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jonah 1:11

So they said to him, "What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?"—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Jonah;   Superstition;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jonah, the Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

What shall we do unto thee - In these poor men there was an uncommon degree of humanity and tender feeling.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jonah-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

What shall we do unto thee? - They knew him to be a prophet; they ask him the mind of his God. The lots had marked out Jonah as the cause of the storm; Jonah had himself admitted it, and that the storm was for “his” cause, and came from “his” God. “Great was he who fled, greater He who required him. They dare not give him up; they cannot conceal him. They blame the fault; they confess their fear; they ask “him” the remedy, who was the author of the sin. If it was faulty to receive thee, what can we do, that God should not be angered? It is thine to direct; ours, to obey.”

The sea wrought and was tempestuous - , literally “was going and whirling.” It was not only increasingly tempestuous, but, like a thing alive and obeying its Master‘s will, it was holding on its course, its wild waves tossing themselves, and marching on like battalions, marshalled, arrayed for the end for which they were sent, pursuing and demanding the runaway slave of God. “It was going, as it was bidden; it was going to avenge its Lord; it was going, pursuing the fugitive prophet. It was swelling every moment, and, as though the sailors were too tardy, was rising in yet greater surges, shewing that the vengeance of the Creator admitted not of delay.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jonah-1.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea grew more and more tempestuous."

The concern and reserve of these pagan sailors in this instance is most commendable. Instead of moving at once to rid their ship of its offending passenger, which they might have done upon the basis of the lot's having fallen upon Jonah, they nevertheless sought Jonah's own advice and consent of what they should do.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jonah-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said they unto him, what shall we do unto thee,.... Though, both by the lot and his own confession, they knew he was the guilty person; for whose sake this storm was; yet were unwilling to do anything to him without his will and consent, his counsel and advice; perceiving that he was a prophet of the God of the Hebrews, whom he had offended, and knew the mind and will of his God, and the nature of his offence against him, and what only would appease him they desire him to tell what they ought to do; fearing that, though they had found out the man, they should make a mistake in their manner of dealing with him, and so continue the distress they were in, or increase it; their great concern being to be rid of the storm:

that the sea may be calm unto us? or "silent"F8וישתק "ut sileat", Pagninus, Vatablus, Mercerus, Drusius; "et silebit", Montanus; "ut conticeseat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Burkius. ? for the waves thereof made a hideous roaring, and lifted up themselves so high, as was terrible to behold; and dashed with such vehemence against the ship, as threatened it every moment with destruction:

(for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous); or, "it went and swelled"F9הולך וסער "ibat et intumescebat", Pagninus, Vatablus, Drusius. ; it was agitated to and fro, and was in a great ferment, and grew more and more stormy and tempestuous. Jonah's confession of his sin, and true repentance for it, were not sufficient; more must be one to appease an angry God; and what that was the sailors desired to know. These words are inserted in a parenthesis with us, as if put by the writer of the book, pointing out the reason of the men's request; but, according to Kimchi: they are their own words, giving a reason why they were so pressing upon him to know what they should do with him, "seeing the sea was going and stormy"F11"Vadeus et turbinans", Montanus; "magis ac magis procellosum erat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "inhorrescebat", Cocceius. ; or more and more stormy; which seems right.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jonah-1.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

What shall we do unto thee? — They ask this, as Jonah himself must best know how his God is to be appeased. “We would gladly save thee, if we can do so, and yet be saved ourselves” (Jonah 1:13, Jonah 1:14).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jonah-1.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jonah 1:11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

Ver. 11. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee?] q.d. Thou art a prophet of the Lord, and knowest how he may be pacified. Thou art also the party whom he pursueth: say what we shall do to thee to save ourselves from thy death, that even gapeth for us? from this sea, which else will soon swallow us up? for the sea worketh and is tempestuous: so Kimchi readeth the text; making these last also to be the words of the mariners. Thou seest that there is no hope, if thine angry God be not appeased. "Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods?" 1 Samuel 4:8. If the sea be thus rageful and dreadful, as Jonah 1:15, if it thus work and swell more and more, as we see it doth, thereby testifying that it can now no longer defer to execute God’s anger, tell us what we shall do in this case and strait. What?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jonah-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Jonah 1:11. Wrought, and was tempestuous Grew more and more tempestuous: and so Jonah 1:13.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/jonah-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Then said they; when they heard all that Jonah had declared to them, and well weighed it all, and saw it looked all of one piece, most credible.

Unto him; a prophet fittest in that respect to tell them what should be done, and a party so highly concerned in it.

What shall we do unto thee? if thy God will by thee declare his will and we do it, we shall not provoke him; and if thou submit to his will, and direct us, we shall not injure thee.

That the sea may be calm; cease its rage, and return to its former calmness for us to make our voyage.

For the sea wrought, and was tempestuous; though Jonah had recounted all, and given glory to God, taken shame to himself, and satisfied the seamen, yet the sea grew higher and higher, more tempestuous in itself, and more dangerous to them, and they were sensible that somewhat must be done with Jonah to quiet all. Their fear was lest they should mistake herein, and therefore they ask his counsel.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jonah-1.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous.’

Then they asked him, as one who would know his God’s requirements, what they could do to pacify Him so that the sea would become calm, for the storm was getting worse and worse.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/jonah-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The sailors might have known what to do with Jonah had he been a criminal guilty of some crime against persons or if he had accidentally transgressed a law of his God. However, he was guilty of being a servant of his God and directly disobeying the Lord"s order to him. They had no idea what would placate the creator of the sea in such a case, so they asked Jonah since he knew his God.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jonah-1.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

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

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jonah-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee? They ask this, as Jonah himself must best know how his God is to be appeased. 'We would gladly save thee, if we can do so, and yet be saved ourselves' (Jonah 1:13-14). Herein appears their humanity, though they were pagan, as contrasted with Jonah's inhumanity, who, lest the pagan Nineveh should repent and be saved from destruction, would not at God's command go to give it warning.

The sea wrought, and was tempestuous - literally, 'was going and whirling.' As though it were a conscious agent, it seemed to demand the surrender to it of its fellow-servant, who had been a rebel against his and its God.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jonah-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) What shall we.—The prophet would of course know how to appease the God he had displeased.

May be calm unto us.—See margin. The word rendered calm occurs (Psalms 107:30) of a lull after a storm, and in Proverbs 26:20 metaphorically, of peace after strife.

Wrought, and was tempestuous.—Literally, was going, and being agitated; an idiom rightly explained in the margin. (Comp. a similar idiom Genesis 8:3.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jonah-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
What
1 Samuel 6:2,3; 2 Samuel 21:1-6; 24:11-13; Micah 6:6,7
calm unto us
Heb. silent from us. wrought, and was tempestuous. or, grew more and more tempestuous. Heb. went and was, etc.
Reciprocal: Psalm 37:7 - Rest in;  Acts 27:20 - and no

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jonah-1.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The sailors asked counsel of Jonah; and hence it appears that they were touched with so much fear as not to dare to do any thing to him. We hence see how much they had improved almost in an instant, since they spared an Israelite, because they acknowledged that among that people the true God was worshipped, the supreme King of heaven and earth: for, without a doubt, it was this fear that restrained them from throwing Jonah immediately into the sea. For since it was certain that through his fault God was displeased with them all, why was it that they did not save themselves by such an expiation? That they then delayed in so great a danger, and dared not to lay hold instantly on Jonah, was an evident proof that they were restrained, as I have said, by the fear of God.

They therefore inquire what was to be done, What shall we do to thee, that the sea may be still to us? (27) for the sea was going, etc. By going Jonah means, that the sea was turbulent: for the sea is said to rest when it is calm, but when it is turbulent, then it is going, and has various movements and tossings. The sea, then, was going and very tempestuous (28) We hence see that God was not satisfied with the disgrace of Jonah, but he purposed to punish his offense still more. It was necessary that Jonah should be led to the punishment which he deserved, though afterwards, he was miraculously delivered from death, as we shall see in its proper place.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jonah-1.html. 1840-57.