Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jonah 1:4

The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   Jonah;   Minister, Christian;   Superstition;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Missionary Work by Ministers;   Sea, the;   Ships;   Wind, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Tarshish;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Euroclydon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Mediterranean Sea, the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jonah;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jonah, the Book of;   Like;   Ships and Boats;   Tempest;   Wind;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A great wind - They were overtaken with a storm, which appears from the sequel to have come by the immediate direction of God.

Like to be broken - They had nearly suffered shipwreck.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jonah-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But (And) the Lord sent out - (literally ‹cast along‘). Jonah had done his all. Now God‘s part began. This He expresses by the word, “And.” Jonah took “his” measures, “and” now God takes “His.” He had let him have his way, as He often deals with those who rebel against Him. He lets them have their way up to a certain point. He waits, in the tranquility of His Almightiness, until they have completed their preparations; and then, when man has ended, He begins, that man may see the more that it is His doing. “He takes those who flee from Him in their flight, the wise in their counsels, sinners in their conceits and sins, and draws them back to Himself and compels them to return. Jonah thought to find rest in the sea, and lo! a tempest.” Probably, God summoned back Jonah, as soon as he had completed all on his part, and sent the tempest, soon after he left the shore.

At least, such tempests often swept along that shore, and were known by their own special name, like the Euroclydon off Crete. Jonah too alone had gone down below deck to sleep, and, when the storm came, the mariners thought it possible to put back. Josephus says of that shore, “Joppa having by nature no haven, for it ends in a rough shore, mostly abrupt, but for a short space having projections, i. e., deep rocks and cliffs advancing into the sea, inclining on either side toward each other (where the traces of the chains of Andromeda yet shown accredit the antiquity of the fable,) and the north wind beating right on the shore, and dashing the high waves against the rocks which receive them, makes the station there a harborless sea. As those from Joppa were tossing here, a strong wind (called by those who sail here, the black north wind) falls upon them at daybreak, dashing straightway some of the ships against each other, some against the rocks, and some, forcing their way against the waves to the open sea, (for they fear the rocky shore … ) the breakers towering above them, sank.”

The ship was like - (literally ‹thought‘) To be broken Perhaps Jonah means by this very vivid image to exhibit the more his own dullness. He ascribes, as it were, to the ship a sense of its own danger, as she heaved and rolled and creaked and quivered under the weight of the storm which lay on her, and her masts groaned, and her yard-arms shivered. To the awakened conscience everything seems to have been alive to God‘s displeasure, except itself.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jonah-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Jonah 1:4

The Lord sent out a great wind into the sea.

The Divine displeasure

There is a religious side to storms. Tempests have done what spiritual teachers could not do.

1. Disobedience ensures punishment. No man can sin with impunity. There is an absolute necessity for moral wrong to be judiciously dealt with.

2. The forces of nature are often the instruments of God’s corrective or punitive purposes. There is a providence in all varieties of weather.

3. The sin of one involves others in its consequences.

From Jonah 1:5, we gather--

1. That in seasons of extreme peril the religious instinct invariably reverts to a real or imaginary superior power for help. The religious sense is in imploration to God.

2. That possessions are valueless when life is at stake.

3. That remedial measures to alleviate the consequences of evil are futile while the cause slumbers undisturbed. Sin is the Jonah in every man which keeps him in jeopardy and restlessness every hour.

From verse 6, we are taught--

1. That adverse circumstances often require to be supplemented by direct appeal to arouse men to a sense of their perilous situation.

2. The insufficiency of nature to correct the false and teach the true object of worship.

3. The parallel and divergent points in human history. The same ship, route, port, etc., but widely different motives, ends, etc.

Verse 7 teaches--

1. That the casualties of life are not unfrequently associated with wrong-doing. No calamity without a cause, no sin without a calamity, sooner or later.

2. That necessity drives to expedients.

3. That detection will inevitably overtake the guilty, or the lot fall on the right man.

4. That the extremities of men are the opportunities of God.

5. That one rebellious act sends its ring down the vestibule of ages. (J. O. Keen, D. D.)

The disobedience of the prophet of Gath-hepher

This storm was not accidental,--accident has no place in the government of God. It is the name for a cause or causes of which we are ignorant. The sublimity of this description, and of others which occur in Scripture, will be more apparent when you compare them with the account which the heathen poets give of the deity to whom they assign the direction of this element. The varied operations and agencies in nature and providence which heathenism has distributed among lords many and gods many, the Bible centres in one. What a humiliating contrast is here presented between rational and irrational beings. Jonah obeys not. Inanimate nature waits God’s commands. The following lessons may be deduced from the passage.

I. See here the insensibility of the daring transgressor. Jonah had entered into a contest with his God. The furious elements proclaimed the contest to be fearfully unequal. While every one else is uniting his exertions and his prayers to avert the threatened danger, Jonah had gone down into the sides of the ship, and was fast asleep. Contrast our Lord’s sleeping during the storm on Galilee. But why wonder at the insensibility of Jonah? Look around and you will see insensibility as profound, and where there is the same difference between insensibility and safety. Engrossed by pleasure or business, how many are there who feel no concern for religion.

II. See the difference between insensibility and safety. While the apprehensions of the prophet diminished, his dangers increased. In endeavouring to escape from the voice of God, given to him in prophetic direction, there was the near prospect of his hearing that voice announcing his destiny from the judgment-seat. Perilous, however, as the prophet’s situation was, it was not in reality more so than that of thousands who nevertheless participate in the security. In the one case as in the other, there may be but a step between the sinner and death.

III. The objects of trust made the instruments of punishment. This is a marked feature of the Divine administration. See the case of David numbering the people. God permits Jonah to gain his object. Then his troubles begin. The vessel which he expected would bring him to his ultimate point threatens to become the grave of him and his shipmates. So men set their hearts on a favourite object. This is pursued not only without reference to God’s will, but in manifest opposition to it. They gain it. And out of this their vexation and punishment arise. This is often seen in the acquisition of wealth.

IV. The duty of recognising the voice of God in the events which thwart our wishes. “Affliction springeth not from the dust.” It was God who sent forth that great wind which put in jeopardy the vessel in which Jonah sailed. It was for the purpose of arresting him in his course of disobedience--of bringing him to a sense of his misconduct--and of leading him to seek forgiveness. What is the obvious use which we should make of this narrative? The uniform doctrine of revelation is, that sin hardens the heart, and tends to the still further commission of sin. On this it grounds the exhortation to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure--to be sober and watch unto prayer. (R. Brodie, A. M.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Jonah 1:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/jonah-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"But Jehovah sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken."

"Jehovah sent out a great wind ..." The Scriptures abundantly teach that all of the forces of nature are under the direct command of the God of heaven; and there are many instances in which these have been specifically deployed in the accomplishment of God's will. The miracle (yes, this is undoubtedly a miracle) here is not capricious. There is a moral and ethical reason behind it. "It was not a purposeless demonstration of the Lord's power over the elements, nor even just to smash inflexible Jonah, but to give him a sense of concern for the sailors, and thus for the Ninevites."[24]

"So that the ship was like to be broken ..." Some of the old versions translate this, "So that the ship thought to be dashed to pieces."[25] Such expressions were sometimes used of inanimate things; and this one has the exact meaning of that given in our text. The ship was in dire straits, and was threatened every moment by complete destruction. It was not evidently the time of the year when such storms were expected, else the ship would not have been bound for Tarshish at all; and the sailors immediately attributed the violent and unusual storm to the wrath of "some god," as they supposed, having no knowledge whatever of the one true God.

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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 1:4". "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

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea,.... He took a wind out of his treasures, and hurled it, as the wordF23הטיל "projecit", Mercerus, Drusius; "conjecit", Cocceius. signifies, into the sea: "into that sea"F24בים "in mare illud", Mercerus. ; that part of it where the ship was Jonah was in. Winds are at the command of God, which he raises at his pleasure, and fulfil his will, and are servants of his that obey his orders: this here was sent in pursuit of Jonah, to stop him in his voyage, when he thought he had got clear off, and was safe enough. The Jews sayF25Pirke Eliezer, c. 10. fol. 10. 1. this was done when he had been one day's voyage:

and there was a great tempest in the sea; which caused the waves to rise and roar, and become very tumultuous: this wind was an extraordinary one, like that "laelaps" or storm of wind which came down into the sea when the disciples of Christ were on it in a ship; or like the "Euroclydon", in which the Apostle Paul was, Acts 27:14;

so that the ship was like to be broken; it was in danger of it; it seemed as if it would, the waves of the sea were so strong, and beat so hard upon it. It is in the original text, "the ship thought it should be broken"F26חשבה "putabat", Montanus; "cogitavit", Vatablus, Burkius; "cogitabat", Drusius, Cocceius. ; that is, the men in it; they that had the management of it thought nothing less but that it would be dashed to pieces, and all their goods and lives lost; so great was the hurricane occasioned by the wind the Lord sent. It may be rendered, "that shipF1האניה "navem iliam", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. was like", &c. The JewsF2Pirke Eliezer, c. 10. fol. 10. 1. So Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abendana in loc. have a notion that other ships passed to and fro in great tranquillity, and this only was in distress.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "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

sent out — literally, caused a wind to burst forth. Coverdale translates, “hurled a greate wynde into the see.”

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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.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jonah-1.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

See how everything ministers to the Lord's pleasure, when and where the Lord designs? Some of the ancient Jews have said, but by what authority I know not, that this wind was only directed to the ship in which Jonah was; for that other ships passed and repassed in safety at the time. But be this as it may, I hope the Reader will not fail to make a spiritual improvement of it, and remark here from, how the Lord sends storms and winds into the consciences of men, when rousing them by his grace to the consideration of their ways, while others around are in a calm.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/jonah-1.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jonah 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Ver. 4. But the Lord sent out] Heb. cast forth, sc. out of his treasuries, Psalms 135:7, wherehence he sendeth at his pleasure mighty great winds which he (the only Aeolus) holdeth in his fist, hideth in his repositories, checketh them as he seeth good, weighs them in his hand, Job 28:25; sends them out as his posts, makes them pace orderly, appoints them their motion, whether as messengers of mercy, Numbers 2:13, Genesis 8:1, Exodus 14:21, or as executioners of justice, Exodus 10:13, Job 1:19, hurting men’s houses, cattle, corn, persons; yea, hurrying and hurling the wicked into hell, Job 27:21.

A great wind into the sea] Whither they that go down in ships see God’s great wonders in the deep. For "he commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof," &c., Psalms 107:23-29. Did it not so in a marvellous manner here in 1588, and again in that other 1688, some few years since? Had not Jehoshaphat his ships broken at Eziongeber, 1 Kings 22:48, and Charles V at Algiers, by two terrible tempests, which destroyed almost all that goodly fleet? The very mariners acknowledged this wind to be an effect of God’s justice, and therefore thought fit to implore his mercy; for

There was a mighty tempest in the sea] Which is troublesome of itself and never still, though sometimes it seems so; but by blustering and big winds is made out of measure troublesome ( Inhorruit mare. Virg.), such as was that λαιλαψ, Luke 8:23, and that Euroclydon, Acts 27:14; which Pliny calleth navigantium pestem, the mariner’s misery.

So that the ship was like to be broken] Heb. thought to be broken; Or. was in danger to be broken, εκινδυνευεν: the mariners made no other reckoning, they looked upon all as lost. God reserveth his holy hand for a dead lift usually, and loveth to help those that are forsaken of their hopes.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jonah-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Jonah 1:4

I. Apparently with great unanimity, the sailors fall upon a scheme to discover the cause and reason of the storm, or at any rate, the person on whose account it has come. They all pray, and then cast lots. They did not mean it as a desperate chance stroke. In their intention it was a religious act. As such it was accepted, for the lot fell upon Jonah. God uses the honest, although blind, endeavours of His creatures to discover truth and duty, to reveal to them in a measure what they are seeking, and at the same time to go on with the development of His own perfect providence. He takes what there is in the form of worship and service of Him, if it is the best that men can achieve in the circumstances.

II. The lot fell upon Jonah. The words spoken by the shipmaster at his berth, the falling of the lot upon him, the hurried questions of the crew, and the howling of the elements around, "awoke" him in the highest sense. He rose up as from a hideous dream, and stood once more before God and man, in openness, sincerity, and truth. "And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land." Few scenes in history have a darker grandeur than this confession of Jonah to these heathen sailors, when he knew that in a very short time he was to be cast into the sea. There is about his conduct a self-abnegation and a moral sublimity which are rarely found, among even good men.

III. Note the several expressions used in Jonah's confession. (i) "I am an Hebrew." The name by which the Jewish people were known to foreigners. The name came to them when as emigrants they passed the great river, the river Euphrates. Passers-by in life, not settlers anywhere on earth. Men of pilgrim spirit, seeking rest and home beyond death. (ii) "I am an Hebrew, and I fear"—i.e. serve, not I am afraid of, but, I serve in reverence, and trust, and love,—"the Lord"—Jehovah, the one living and true God—self-existent, self-sufficient, supreme, eternal. (iii) "The God of heaven"—a lofty title, often used in the Scriptures, and nearly always by God's servants, in speaking to heathens, signifying the creation, possession, and rule of the whole visible universe.

A. Raleigh, The Story of Jonah, p. 99.


References: Jonah 1:4-6.—W. G. Blaikie, Homiletic Magazine, vol. vi., p. 165. Jonah 1:4-7.—J. Menzies, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 75. Jonah 1:5, Jonah 1:6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii., No. 469; S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Pulpit, 5th series, No. 2. Jonah 1:6.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 173; J. N. Norton, Golden Truths, p. 138. Jonah 1:7-10.—W. G. Blaikie, Homiletic Magazine, vol. vi., p. 167. Jonah 1:11-17.—Ibid., p. 245; G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 166. Jonah 1:12, Jonah 1:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 567.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/jonah-1.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Lord, the almighty and eternal God, from whose work Jonah fleeth, sent out a great wind. God keepeth the winds as in storehouses, or treasuries, and now brings one forth to fetch back a fugitive, and obstinate refuser of his command: the greatness of it, with the suddenness of its rising, and manner of its working, undeniably showed that it was supernatural, and from God, displeased with all, or with some one or other of them.

Into the sea; the winds did not blow aloft over the sea and ship, but, as if they had intermixed with the very waters of the sea, and like an unheard-of hurricane, shook the very keel of the ship.

There was a mighty tempest in the sea; that part of the sea where Jonah’s ship was: this messenger soon finds out Jonah, and speaks in most dreadful manner to all in the ship, who all saw and owned it to be from Heaven, the finger of God.

The ship was like to be broken; the master and mariners thought they, ship, and goods, and all should be lost; the Hebrew expresseth it as if the ship had sense of God’s anger, as if the ship could think, and did think of its own weakness, and God’s mighty hand.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". 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

‘But YHWH sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was likely to be broken.’

But YHWH was not going to let Jonah off so easily. Jonah was His servant and He never just cast off His servants however badly they behaved. He was as concerned to show mercy to Jonah, as He was to the sailors and to Nineveh. So He sent a great wind on the sea, and aroused a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the probability was that the ship would be broken in pieces. It does not sound like an act of love, but it was. How often He also break up our foundations so that we might learn to walk in His ways and trust and obey Him.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/jonah-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jonah subjected himself to dangers that Israel and the entire ancient Near East viewed as directly under divine control when he launched out on the sea. The sea to them was the embodiment of the chaotic forces that humans could not control or tame (cf. Psalm 24:2; Psalm 33:7; Psalm 65:7; Psalm 74:13; Psalm 77:19; Psalm 89:9; Psalm 114:3; Psalm 114:5; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:10; Isaiah 63:11; Jeremiah 5:22; Jeremiah 31:35; et al.). Jonah was desperate to get away from where he thought God might come after him (cf. Genesis 3:8). Nevertheless God used the wind to bring the prodigal prophet to the place He wanted him to be (cf. Genesis 1:2).

"It was gracious of God to seek out His disobedient servant and not to allow him to remain long in his sin." [Note: Charles L. Feinberg, Jonah,, Micah, and Nahum, p15.]

In the Hebrew text the last part of this verse is literally, "the ship thought she would be broken in pieces," a graphic personification.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jonah-1.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Broken. Seeing no natural cause of such a sudden tempest, they concluded (Worthington) that some on board must be guilty; as the sailors argued (Haydock) when the noted atheist, Diagoras, was in similar circumstances. (Calmet) --- They had recourse to lots, and the prophet consented by God's inspiration, (Worthington) though this is not written, (Haydock) and the lots were superstitious. (Menochius) --- The oriental writers add many things to this sufficiently marvellous account. (Lyranus; D'Herbelot.) (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jonah-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

wind. Hebrew ruach. App-9.

was like = thought. Figure of speech Prosopopoeia. App-6.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "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

But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

But the Lord sent out - literally, caused a wind to burst forth. Coverdale translates, 'hurled a greate wynde into the see' [ heeTiyl (Hebrew #2904)], cast along, caused to sweep along.

Was like - literally, 'thought to be broken.' The heaving, creaking, quivering ship seemed to have a vivid sense of its danger, while Jonah's slumbering body and conscience had no sense of his danger.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "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

(4) Sent out.—The Hebrew word (see margin, and comp. Jonah 1:5; Jonah 1:12; Jonah 1:15, where the same word is rendered “cast forth”) expresses the sudden burst of the storm. A squall struck the ship. The coast was well known to sailors as dangerous. (See Josephus, Ant. xv. 9, § 6, B. J. iii. 9. § 3.)

So that the ship was like to be broken.—See margin for the literal expression, which is that of a sailor to whom the ship is a living thing, with feelings, hopes, and fears. For the word break, of shipwreck (comp. naufragium), see 1 Kings 22:48.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jonah-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
the Lord
Exodus 10:13,19; 14:21; 15:10; Numbers 11:31; Psalms 107:24-31; 135:7; Amos 4:13; Matthew 8:24-27; Acts 27:13-20
sent out
Heb. cast forth. like. Heb. thought.
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 19:9 - What doest thou;  Job 41:25 - by;  Psalm 65:7 - Which;  Psalm 107:25 - he commandeth;  Psalm 147:15 - sendeth;  Psalm 148:8 - stormy;  Ecclesiastes 1:6 - The wind;  Jeremiah 23:23 - GeneralJeremiah 51:16 - bringeth;  Ezekiel 13:13 - a stormy;  Jonah 4:8 - that God;  Mark 4:37 - great storm;  Acts 27:20 - and no;  James 3:4 - are driven;  Revelation 7:1 - holding

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jonah-1.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Jonah declares here how he had been, as it were, by force brought back by the Lord, when he tried to flee away from his presence. He then says that a tempest arose in the sea; but he at the same time tells us, that this tempest did not arise by chance, as ungodly men are wont to say, who ascribe everything that happens to fortune. God, he says, sent a strong wind on the sea. Some give this renderings God raised up, deriving the verb from נטל, nuthel; but others derive it more correctly from טול, tul (13), and we shall presently meet with the same word in the fifth verse. Now as to what took place, he says that there was so great a tempest, that the ship was not far from being broken. When he says, ‘The ship thought to be broken (14) the expression corresponds with the idiom of our language, la navire cuidoit perir But some take the ship for the passengers or the sailors; but this is strained; and we know that our common language agrees in many of its phrases with the Hebrew.

Jonah then meant, that a tempest arose, not by chance, but by the certain purpose of God, so that being overtaken on the sea, he acknowledged that he had been deceived when he thought that he could flee away from God’s presence by passing over the sea. Though indeed the Prophet speaks here only of one tempest, we may yet hence generally gather, that no storms, nor any changes in the air, which produce rain or stir up tempests on the sea, happen by chance, but that heaven and earth are so regulated by a Divine power, that nothing takes place without being foreseen and decreed. But if any one objects, and says that it does not harmonize with reason, that, for the fault of one man, so many suffered shipwreck, or were tossed here and there by the storm: the ready answer to this is, — that though God had a regard only, in a special manner, to the case of Jonah, yet there were hidden reasons why he night justly involve others in the same danger. It is probable that many were then sailing; it was not one ship only that was on that sea, since there were so many harbors and so many islands. But though the Lord may involve many men in the same punishment, when he especially intends to pursue only one man, yet there is never wanting a reason why he might not call before his tribunal any one of us, even such as appear the most innocent. And the Lord works wonderfully, while ruling over men. It would be therefore preposterous to measure his operations by our wisdom; for God can so punish one man, as to humble some at the same time, and to chastise others for their various sins, and also to try their patience. Thus then is the mouth of ungodly men stopped, that they may not clamor against God, when he so executes his judgments as not to comport with the judgment of our flesh. But this point I shall presently discuss more at large: there are indeed everywhere in Scripture, instances in which God inflicted punishment on a whole people, when yet one man only had sinned. But when some murmur and plead that they are innocent, there is ever to be found a reason why God cannot be viewed as dealing cruelly with them; nay, were he pleased, he might justly treat them with much greater severity: in a word, though God may appear to deal severely with men, he yet really spares them, and treats them with indulgence. Let us now proceed —

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jonah-1.html. 1840-57.