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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Jonah 1

 

 

Verses 1-17


The Disobedience of Jonah

2. Nineveh] the world-famous capital of Assyria, on the Tigris. For its wickedness cp. Nahum 3.

3. Jonah seeks to escape from the unwelcome task, both because he hates the Ninevites, and because he fears that, after all, God may spare them. Tarshish] Tartessus, in SW. Spain, probably an old Phoenician colony. It would be in the opposite direction to Nineveh. Joppa] Jaffa, the only port of any size on the Palestinian coast.

5. The ship's crew is composed of a blend of nationalities. Each man appeals to his own god. Jonah, however, declares his God to be the Creator of all things (Jonah 1:9). For the story of the sleeper in the storm cp. Mark 4. 'Jonah was peaceful because he thought he was far from God's hand, Jesus was confident because He knew He was hidden in God's hand' (Marti).

6. The captain thinks that the deity of their passenger might deliver them.

11. Wrought, and was tempestuous] RV 'grew more and more tempestuous.'

14-16. The natural piety of the heathen sailors is strikingly shown. Compelled to believe, by the rising of the storm, the impossibility of reaching land, and the falling of the lot, that Jonah is guilty, they make a last appeal to be held innocent if a mistake has been made. Then, convinced of the power of Jehovah, they at once offer sacrifices on the deck, and vow further offerings if they arrive safely from their voyage. For the vow cp. Genesis 28:20; 1 Samuel 1:11, etc.

17. A great fish] Nothing is said of the species of the fish; either a giant shark or a cachalot whale could swallow a man. But the Intro, shows that it is needless to argue whether the miracle of Jonah's remaining alive has ever been paralleled. We have given reasons for our view that the author never meant or expected his story to be regarded as anything but a parable. If that is so, it is useless for us to bring in a difficulty which never even occurred to him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/jonah-1.html. 1909.

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