Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jonah 1:12

He said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

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

Adam Clarke Commentary

I know that for my sake - I am not worthy to live; throw me overboard. God will not quiet the storm till I am cast out of the ship. Here was deep compunction; and honest avowal of sin; and a justification of the displeasure which God had now manifested.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jonah-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Take me up, and cast me into the sea - Neither might Jonah have said this, nor might the sailors have obeyed it, without the command of God. Jonah might will alone to perish, who had alone offended; but, without the command of God, the Giver of life, neither Jonah nor the sailors might dispose of the life of Jonah. But God willed that Jonah should be cast into the sea - where he had gone for refuge - that (Wisdom of Solomon 11:16) wherewithal he had “sinned, by the same also he might be punished” as a man; and, as a prophet, that he might, in his three days‘ burial, prefigure Him who, after His Resurrection, should convert, not Nineveh, but the world, the cry of whose wickedness went up to God.

For I know that for my sake - o“In that he says, “I know,” he marks that he had a revelation; in that he says, “this great storm,” he marks the need which lay on those who cast him into the sea.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jonah-1.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you."

A number of the most important considerations appear in this verse. Jonah here designated the terrible tempest as an act of God directed against himself on account of his disobedience. He unselfishly offers up his own life to save the lives of the mariners, an action of such nobility as to enroll his name forever among the children of God. In this sacrificial act, he stands as one of the noblest types of our Lord Jesus Christ, this being only one of a great number of particulars in which that relationship appears. Moreover, Jonah here discharges his prophetic office effectually by his promise that as soon as he is cast overboard the sea will be calm to the distressed sailors. Such nobility was not lost upon the anxious sailors, for they tried with all their strength to avoid executing the sentence which Jonah, through inspiration, had passed upon himself.

This is the very heart of one of the most wonderful events that ever took place. Until that hour, Jonah had hated "foreigners"; but in the agony of that great storm, they found their common humanity, and Jonah's heart went out to them; and his soul was touched because of their unfortunate plight, a situation to which he himself had so effectively contributed. Indeed, he had brought it all upon them. "All that he had fled to avoid happens before his eyes; and through his own mediation, he sees the heathen turn to the fear of the Lord."[32] Nothing any more wonderful than this ever happened to one of God's servants!

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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 1:12". "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

And he said unto them, take me up, and cast me forth into the sea,.... This he said not as choosing rather to die than to go to Nineveh; or as having overheard the men say that they would cast him into the sea, as Aben Ezra suggests, greatly to the prejudice of the prophet's character; but as being truly sensible of his sin, and that he righteously deserved to die such a death; and in love to the lives of innocent men, that they might be saved, and not perish, through his default; and as a prophet, knowing this to be the mind and will of God, he cheerfully and in faith submits to it, with a presence of mind and courage suitable to his character. It was not fit he should leap into the sea and destroy himself; but that he should die by the hand of justice, of which the shipmaster and the ship's crew were the proper executioners:

so shall the sea be calm unto you; or "silent", as before; it will cease from its roaring, and do no further hurt and damage:

for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you; for the sin he had committed in fleeing from God, this storm was raised and continued; nor could it go off till they had done what he had directed them to; there was no other way of being clear of it. In this Jonah was a type of Christ, who willingly gave himself to suffer and die, that he might appease divine wrath, satisfy justice, and save men; only with this difference, Jonah suffered for his own sins, Christ for the sins of others; Jonah to endured a storm he himself had raised by his sins, Christ to endure a storm others had raised by their sins.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "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

into the sea — Herein Jonah is a type of Messiah, the one man who offered Himself to die, in order to allay the stormy flood of God‘s wrath (compare Psalm 69:1, Psalm 69:2, as to Messiah), which otherwise must have engulfed all other men. So Caiaphas by the Spirit declared it expedient that one man should die, and that the whole nation should not perish (John 11:50). Jonah also herein is a specimen of true repentance, which leads the penitent to “accept the punishment of his iniquity” (Leviticus 26:41, Leviticus 26:43), and to be more indignant at his sin than at his suffering.

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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 1:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jonah-1.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jonah 1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest [is] upon you.

Ver. 12. And he said unto them] More by God’s inward revelation than by discourse of reason; not as rashly offering himself to death, but as freely submitting to the mind of God, signified by the lot that fell upon him, calling for him to punishment.

Take me up, and cast me forth unto the sea] Eximia fides, saith Mercer. Before we had his repentance, testified by his confession with aggravation; here we have his faith, whereby he triumpheth over death in his most dreadful representations (Take me up, saith he, with a present mind and good courage), as also his charity, whereby he chose rather to die, as a piacular (a) person, than to cause the death of so many men for his fault. Like unto this was that of Nazianzen, who desired, Jonah-like, to be cast into the sea himself so be it all might be calm in the public; that of Athanasius, who by his sweat and tears, as by the bleeding of a chaste vine, cured the leprosy of that tainted age; that of Ambrose, who was far more solicitous of the Church’s welfare than of his own; that of Chrysostom, who saith, That to seek the public good of the Church, and to prefer the salvation of others before a man’s private profit, is the most perfect canon of Christianism, the very top gallant of religion, the highest point and pitch of piety. In 1 Corinthians 11:1-34 τουτο ορος ηκριβωμενος αυτη η κορυφη η ανωτατω.

So shall the sea be calm unto you] Not else: for I have forfeited my life by my disobedience; and my repentance (though true, and so, "to salvation never to be repented of," 2 Corinthians 7:10) comes too late, in regard of temporal punishments; as did likewise that of Moses, Deuteronomy 3:26, and of David, 2 Samuel 12:10, such is the venomous nature of sin in the saints (it is treachery, because against covenant), and such is the displeasure of God upon it, that he chastiseth his here more than any other sinners, Lamentations 4:6, Daniel 9:12, and whoever else escape, they shall be sure of it, Amos 3:2. The word here rendered calm signifieth silent; for the sea, when troubled, roareth hideously, so that the roaring of the devils at the painful preconceit of their last doom of damnation is set forth by a word that is taken from the tossing of the sea and the noise thereupon, James 2:19, "The devils believe and tremble," or shiver and shudder with horrible yellings ( φρισσουσι. φριξ, est maria agitatio. Eustath. in Hom. Iliad).

For I know that for my sake this tempest is upon you] If Jonah were a type of Christ in that being cast into the sea a calm followed; yet herein he differed, that Christ suffered not for his own offences, but "bore our sins in his own body on the tree," and died, "the just for the unjust," 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jonah-1.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He said unto them; he readily gives them advice for their safety.

Take me up: this he spake as a prophet directed of God, and not, as some Jewish rabbi thinks, choosing to die rather than to go to Nineveh.

Cast me forth into the sea; throw me overboard into the sea; no other way must you deal with me than this, and this way I not only direct as expedient, but from God I give you it as a command, and you must do it; thus my God will punish my disobedience and contempt.

So shall the sea be calm unto you; as a prophet I assure you the tempest shall cease, and you be safe, and by that you may know I being in the ship endangered you all.

I know; I am assured of this, and though I have been your danger, and this was my fault, yet it shall not be my fault if you be drowned.

For my sake; for my sin, which God will punish, but not by my own act, I must not leap overboard; it is a crime God will punish by that justice which is in this place.

This great tempest is upon you; and will be, till you have executed God’s sentence on me, which I willingly submit to.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". 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

‘And he said to them, “Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea, so will the sea be calm for you, for I know that for my sake this great tempest is on you.” ’

As a prophet his reply was that, recognising that this great storm had arisen because of him (for his sake), they must throw him into the sea as a kind of appeasement offering to YHWH. Then the sea would become calm for them. he had made the decision that he was ready to die to save the ship and the crew.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/jonah-1.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.Cast me forth — Jonah meets them frankly. He has learned that his attempt to flee from the presence of Jehovah is a failure; that he alone is responsible for the divine wrath which has caused the tempest; and that the only way to remove the danger is to get rid of him. Hence he is willing to suffer the consequences of his rashness and disobedience.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jonah-1.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jonah"s answer reveals the double-mindedness of the prophet. He could have asked the sailors to sail back to Joppa if he really intended to obey the Lord and go to Nineveh. His repentance surely would have resulted in God withholding judgment from the sailors just as the Ninevites" repentance resulted in His withholding judgment from them. Still Jonah was not ready to obey God yet. Nonetheless his compassion for the sailors led him to give them a plan designed to release them from God"s punishment. It would also result in his death, which he regarded as preferable to obeying God. His heart was still as hard as ever toward the plight of the Ninevites even though he acknowledged that he knew God was disciplining him.

"He pronounces this sentence, not by virtue of any prophetic inspiration, but as a believing Israelite who is well acquainted with the severity of the justice of the holy God, both from the law and from the history of his nation." [Note: Keil, 1:396.]

Why did Jonah not end his own life by jumping overboard? I suspect that he did not have the courage to do so. Obviously it took considerable courage to advise the sailors to throw him into the sea where he must have expected to drown, but suicide takes even more courage.

"The piety of the seamen has evidently banished his nonchalant indifference and touched his conscience. By now he has realized how terrible is the sin that has provoked this terrible storm. The only way to appease the tempest of Yahweh"s wrath is to abandon himself to it as just deserts for his sin. His willingness to die is an indication that he realizes his guilt before God." [Note: Allen, pp210-11.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jonah-1.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Cast me. God intimates that he required this sacrifice. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jonah-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Take me up . . . I know. He had counted the cost.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "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

And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea. Herein Jonah is a type of Messiah, the One Man who offered Himself to die, in order to allay the stormy flood of God's wrath, which otherwise must have engulfed all other men (cf. Psalms 69:1-2 as to Messiah). So Caiaphas, by the Spirit, declared it "expedient that one man should die, and that the whole nation should not perish" (John 11:50). Jonah also heroin is a specimen of true repentance, which leads the penitent to "accept of the punishment of his iniquity" (Leviticus 26:41; Leviticus 26:43), and to be more indignant at his sin than at his suffering.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "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

(12) Cast me forth into the sea.—There was no need of prophetic inspiration to enable Jonah to pass this sentence upon himself. He is too manly not to prefer to perish without involving others in his ruin.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jonah-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
Take
2 Samuel 24:17; John 11:50
for
Joshua 7:12,20,21; 1 Chronicles 21:17; Ecclesiastes 9:18; Acts 27:24
Reciprocal: Joshua 6:18 - make the camp;  Job 35:8 - may hurt;  Psalm 106:30 - GeneralJonah 2:3 - thou

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jonah-1.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Jonah then answers, Take me, and throw me into the sea, and it will be still to you. It may be asked whether Jonah ought to have of his own accord offered himself to die; for it seemed to be an evidence of desperation. He might, indeed, have surrendered himself to their will; but here he did, as it were, stimulate them, “Throw me into the sea, ” he says; “for ye cannot otherwise pacify God than by punishing me.” He seemed like a man in despair, when he would thus advance to death of his own accord. But Jonah no doubt knew that he was doomed to punishment by God. It is uncertain whether he then entertained a hope of deliverance, that is, whether he confidently relied at this time on the grace of God. But, however it may have been, we may yet conclude, that he gave himself up to death, because he knew and was fully persuaded that he was in a manner summoned by the evident voice of God. And thus there is no doubt but that he patiently submitted to the judgment which the Lord had allotted to him. Take me, then, and throw me into the sea

Then he adds, The sea will be to you still Here Jonah not only declares that God would be pacified by his death, because the lot had fallen upon him, but he also acknowledges that his death would suffice as an expiation, so that the tempest would subside: and then the reason follows — I know, he says, that on my account is this great tempest come upon you. When he says that he knew this, he could not refer to the lot, for that knowledge was common to them all. But Jonah speaks here by the prophetic spirit: and he no doubt confirms what I have before referred to, — that the God of Israel was the supreme and only King of heaven and earth. This certainty of knowledge, then, of which Jonah speaks, must be referred to his own consciences and to the teaching of that religion in which he had been instructed.

And now we may learn from these words a most useful instruction: Jonah does not here expostulate with God, nor contumeliously complain that God punished him too severely, but he willingly bears his charged guilt and his punishment, as he did before when he said, “I am the worshipper of the true God.” How could he confess the true God, whose great displeasure he was then experiencing? But Jonah, we see, was so subdued, that he failed not to ascribe to God his just honor; though death was before his eyes, though God’s wrath was burning, we yet see, that he gave to God, as we have said, the honor due to him. So the same thing is repeated in this place, Behold, he says, I know that on my account has this great tempest happened He who takes to himself all the blame, does not certainly murmur against God. It is then a true confession of repentance, when we acknowledge God, and willingly testify before men that he is just, though, according to the judgment of our flesh, he may deal violently with us. When however we give to him the praise due to his justice, we then really show our penitence; for unless God’s wrath brings us down to this humble state of mind, we shall be always full of bitterness; and, however silent we may be for a time, our heart will be still perverse and rebellious. This humility, then, always follows repentance, — the sinner prostrates himself before God, and willingly admits his own sin, and tries not to escape by subterfuges.

And it was no wonder that Jonah thus humbled himself; for we see that the sailors did the same: when they said that lots were to be cast, they added at the same time, “Come ye and let us cast lots, that we may know why this evil has happened to us.” They did not accuse God, but constituted him the Judge; and thus they acknowledged that he inflicted a just punishment. And yet every one thought himself to have been innocent; for however conscience might have bitten them, still no one considered himself to have been guilty of so great a wickedness as to subject him to God’s vengeance. Though, then, the sailors thought themselves exempt from any great sin, they yet did not contend with God, but allowed him to be their Judge. Since then they, who were so barbarous, confined themselves within these bounds of modesty, it was no wonder that Jonah, especially when he was roused and began to feel his guilt, and was also powerfully restrained by God’s hand, — it was no wonder that he now confessed that he was guilty before God, and that he justly suffered a punishment so heavy and severe. We ought then to take special notice of this, — that he knew that on his account the storm happened or that the sea was so tempestuous against them all. The rest we defer until tomorrow.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:12". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jonah-1.html. 1840-57.