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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jonah 1:1

 

 

The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

Adam Clarke Commentary

Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah - All that is certainly known about this prophet has already been laid before the reader. He was of Gath-hepher, in the tribe of Zebulun, in lower Galilee, Joshua 19:13; and he prophesied in the reigns of Jeroboam the Second, and Joash, kings of Israel. Jeroboam came to the throne eight hundred and twenty-three years before the Christian era, and reigned in Samaria forty-one years, 2 Kings 14:23-25. As a prophet, it is likely that he had but this one mission.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jonah-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Now the word of the Lord - , literally, “And, … ” This is the way in which the several inspired writers of the Old Testament mark that what it was given them to write was united onto those sacred books which God had given to others to write, and it formed with them one continuous whole. The word, “And,” implies this. It would do so in any language, and it does so in Hebrew as much as in any other. As neither we, nor any other people, would, without any meaning, use the word, And, so neither did the Hebrews. It joins the four first books of Moses together; it carries on the history through Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel and of the Kings. After the captivity, Ezra and Nehemiah begin again where the histories before left off; the break of the captivity is bridged over; and Ezra, going back in mind to the history of God‘s people before the captivity, resumes the history, as if it had been of yesterday, “And in the first year of Cyrus.” It joins in the story of the Book of Ruth before the captivity, and that of Esther afterward. At times, even prophets employ it, in using the narrative form of themselves, as Ezekiel, “and it was in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, and I was in the captivity by the river of Chebar, the heavens opened and I saw.” If a prophet or historian wishes to detach his prophecy or his history, he does so; as Ezra probably began the Book of Chronicles anew from Adam, or as Daniel makes his prophecy a whole by itself. But then it is the more obvious that a Hebrew prophet or historian, when he does begin with the word, “And,” has an object in so beginning; he uses an universal word of all languages in its uniform meaning in all language, to join things together.

And yet more precisely; this form, “and the word of the Lord came to - saying,” occurs over and over again, stringing together the pearls of great price of God‘s revelations, and uniting this new revelation to all those which had preceded it. The word, “And,” then joins on histories with histories, revelations with revelations, uniting in one the histories of God‘s works and words, and blending the books of Holy Scripture into one divine book.

But the form of words must have suggested to the Jews another thought, which is part of our thankfulness and of our being Acts 11:18, “then to the Gentiles also hath God given repentance unto life.” The words are the self-same familiar words with which some fresh revelation of God‘s will to His people had so often been announced. Now they are prefixed to God‘s message to the pagan, and so as to join on that message to all the other messages to Israel. Would then God deal thenceforth with the pagan as with the Jews? Would they have their prophets? Would they be included in the one family of God? The mission of Jonah in itself was an earnest that they would, for God. Who does nothing fitfully or capriciously, in that He had begun, gave an earnest that He would carry on what He had begun. And so thereafter, the great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, were prophets to the nations also; Daniel was a prophet among them, to them as well as to their captives.

But the mission of Jonah might, so far, have been something exceptional. The enrolling his book, as an integral part of the Scriptures, joining on that prophecy to the other prophecies to Israel, was an earnest that they were to be parts of one system. But then it would be significant also, that the records of God‘s prophecies to the Jews, all embodied the accounts of their impenitence. Here is inserted among them an account of God‘s revelation to the pagan, and their repentance. “So many prophets had been sent, so many miracles performed, so often had captivity been foreannounced to them for the multitude of their sins. and they never repented. Not for the reign of one king did they cease from the worship of the calves; not one of the kings of the ten tribes departed from the sins of Jeroboam? Elijah, sent in the Word and Spirit of the Lord, had done many miracles, yet obtained no abandonment of the calves. His miracles effected this only, that the people knew that Baal was no god, and cried out, “the Lord He is the God.” Elisha his disciple followed him, who asked for a double portion of the Spirit of Elijah, that he might work more miracles, to bring back the people.

He died, and, after his death as before it, the worship of the calves continued in Israel. The Lord marveled and was weary of Israel, knowing that if He sent to the pagan they would bear, as he saith to Ezekiel. To make trial of this, Jonah was chosen, of whom it is recorded in the Book of Kings that he prophesied the restoration of the border of Israel. When then he begins by saying, “And the word of the Lord came to Jonah,” prefixing the word “And,” he refers us back to those former things, in this meaning. The children have not hearkened to what the Lord commanded, sending to them by His servants the prophets, but have hardened their necks and given themselves up to do evil before the Lord and provoke Him to anger; “and” therefore “the word of the Lord came to Jonah, saying, Arise and go to Nineveh that great city, and preach unto her,” that so Israel may be shewn, in comparison with the pagan, to be the more guilty, when the Ninevites should repent, the children of Israel persevered in unrepentance.”

Jonah the son of Amittai - Both names occur here only in the Old Testament, Jonah signifies “Dove,” Amittai, “the truth of God.” Some of the names of the Hebrew prophets so suit in with their times, that they must either have been given them propheticly, or assumed by themselves, as a sort of watchword, analogous to the prophetic names, given to the sons of Hosea and Isaiah. Such were the names of Elijah and Elisha, “The Lord is my God,” “my God is salvation.” Such too seems to be that of Jonah. The “dove” is everywhere the symbol of “mourning love.” The side of his character which Jonah records is that of his defect, his want of trust in God, and so his unloving zeal against those, who were to be the instruments of God against his people. His name perhaps preserves that character by which he willed to be known among his people, one who moaned or mourned over them.


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

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

This chapter recounts the divine commission which came to Jonah, instructing him to prophesy against the city of Nineveh because of their great wickedness, the prophet's rebellious disobedience in trying to avoid the assignment by fleeing in the opposite direction, the judgment of God against him in the great storm that threatened the wreck of his ship, the prophet's guilt exposed, his being cast overboard by the mariners, the great calm that ensued immediately, the worship of the true God on the part of the sailors, and the swallowing of the prophet by a great sea monster, in the belly of which Jonah remained for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:1-17).

As noted in the introduction, the denials of the historical and factual nature of this narrative raise far more questions than are answered; and absolutely nothing is gained by the attempts to make Jonah any kind of fictional character. We agree with Banks, then, "To approach the study of this book, believing it as an historical account."[1]

Jonah 1:1

"Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying."

Now ..." Enemies of this book do not hesitate to take the ax to the very first word in it, affirming that, "Jonah is a fragment, the continuation of a larger work";[2] but, of course, such criticisms are apparently founded in ignorance of the truth that, "This is a common formulary linking together revelations and histories, and is continually used in the Old Testament at the beginning of independent works."[3]; Joshua 1:1; Judges 1:1; 1 Samuel 1:1; Esther 1:1; and Ezekiel 1:1 all have this same beginning. "This by no means warrants the assumption that Jonah is the fragment of a larger work."[4]

Barnes pointed out that the sacred writers used this word to join their writings to other portions of the Word of God, thus affirming their reliability and inspiration.[5]

"The word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the son of Amittai ..." There is no sacred record of just how God spoke to Jonah, the great fact revealed being that God indeed spoke to him and that Jonah recognized the validity of God's message. "God having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, etc." (Hebrews 1:1) gives the only clue we have as to how God spoke to the prophets. Nevertheless, "The basis of the prophet's life is the confidence that God is able to communicate with man, making known to him his will. Without a revelation of God there can be no prophet."[6] Strangely enough, this is the primary evidence of the supernatural in the whole book, but it seems to be curiously inoffensive even to some who vehemently reject the miracles of the same book. Granted that the infinite God is the one who spoke to Jonah and dealt with him as revealed in this history, there can actually be no problem whatever with the miraculous element in the record.

This passage unquestionably identifies Jonah with the prophet mentioned in this Old Testament passage:

"Jeroboam the son of Joash (Jeroboam II) restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of Jehovah the God of Israel, which he spake by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was of Gath-hepher (2 Kings 14:25).

Such a prophecy was doubtless made before the beginning of Jeroboam's reign, or at least very early in it; and one sure result of such a favorable prophecy's being remarkably fulfilled would have been the establishment of Jonah as a national hero among the Israelites of the northern kingdom. It cannot be imagined that any Israelite at some later time would have forged or invented a story such as this which portrays the prophet in such an unfavorable light.

The word Jonah means "dove," the same "being a symbol of Israel,"[7] and thus a most appropriate name for one whose life in this record must be seen as a typical prophecy of the future fate of Israel. The word "Amittai" means truth. This word comes from the root of the Hebrew term which gives us "Amen"; thus, "Jonah son of Amittai means `mourning dove, son of truth.'"[8]

All that is definitely known concerning the prophet Jonah is found in the little book that bears his name and in the single reference cited here from 2 Kings 14:25.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jonah-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai,.... Or, "and the word of the Lord was"F12ויהי "et fuit", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "factum fuit", Piscator. ; not that this is to be considered as connected with something the prophet had on his mind and in his thoughts when he began to write this book; or as a part detached from a prophecy not now extant; for it is no unusual thing with the Hebrews to begin books after this manner, especially historical ones, of which kind this chiefly is, as the books of Ruth, First and Second Samuel, and Esther; besides, the ו, "vau", is here not copulative, but conversive; doing its office by changing the future tense into the past; which otherwise must have been rendered, "the word of the Lord shall be", or "shall come"; which would not only give another, but a wrong sense. "The word of the Lord" often signifies a prophecy from the Lord; and so the Targum, renders it,

"the word of prophecy from the Lord;'

and it may be so interpreted, since Jonah, under a spirit of prophecy, foretold that Nineveh should be destroyed within forty days; though the phrase here rather signifies the order and command of the Lord to the prophet to do as is expressed in Jonah 1:2; whose name was Jonah "the son of Amittai"; of whom see the introduction to this book. Who his father Amittai was is not known: if the rule of the Jews would hold good, that when a prophet mentions his own name, and the name of his father, he is a prophet, the son of a prophet, then Amittai was one; but this is not to be depended on. The Syriac version calls him the son of Mathai, or Matthew; though the Arabians have a notion that Mathai is his mother's name; and observe that none are called after their mothers but Jonas and Jesus Christ: but the right name is Amittai, and signifies "my truth"; and to be sons of truth is an agreeable character of the prophets and ministers of the word, who should be given to truth, possessed of it, and publish it:

saying; as follows:


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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 Rightes 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

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jonah-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Now the word of the LORD came a unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

The Argument - When Jonah had long prophesied in Israel and had little profited, God gave him specific charge to go and denounce his judgments against Nineveh, the chief city of the Assyrians, because he had appointed that those who were of the heathen, should convert by the mighty power of his word. And this was so that within three day's preaching, Israel might see how horribly they had provoked God's wrath, who for the space of so many years, had not converted to the Lord, for so many prophets and such diligent preaching. He prophesied under Jonah, and Jeroboam; (2 Kings 14:25).

(a) After he had preached a long time in Israel: and so Ezekiel, after he had prophesied in Judah for a time, had visions in Babylon; (Ezekiel 1:1).


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jonah-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jonah 1:1-17. Jonah‘s commission to Nineveh, flight, punishment, and preservation by miracle.

Jonah — meaning in Hebrew, “dove.” Compare Genesis 8:8, Genesis 8:9, where the dove in vain seeks rest after flying from Noah and the ark: so Jonah. Grotius not so well explains it, “one sprung from Greece” or Ionia, where there were prophets called Amythaonidae.

AmittaiHebrew for “truth,” “truth-telling”; appropriate to a prophet.


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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.

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

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

As I have before observed, Jonah seems here indirectly to intimate, (9) that he had been previously called to the office of a teacher; for it is the same as though he had said, that he framed this history as a part of his ordinary function. The word of God then was not for the first time communicated to Jonah, when he was sent to Nineveh; but it pleased God, when he was already a Prophet, to employ him among other nations. It might have been then, that he was sent to Nineveh, that the Lord, being wearied with the obstinacy of his own people, might afford an example of pious docility on the part of a heathen and uncircumcised nation, in order to render the Israelites more inexcusable. They made a profession of true religion, they boasted that they were a holy people; circumcision was also to them a symbol and a pledge of God’s covenant; yet they despised all the Prophets, so that their teaching among them was wholly useless. It is then probable that this Prophet was taken away from them, that the Ninevites by their example might increase the sin of Israel, for in three days they turned to God, after Jonah had preached to them: but among the Israelites and their kindred he had, during a long time, effected nothing, when yet his authority had been sufficiently ratified, and thus, as we have already said, in their favor: for Jonah had predicted, that the kingdom of Israel would as yet stand; and however much they deserved to perish, yet the Lord fulfilled what he had promised by the mouth at his servant. They ought then to have embraced his doctrine, not only because it was divine, but especially because the Lord had been pleased to show his love to them.

I do not indeed doubt, but that the ingratitude of the people was in this manner arraigned, since the Ninevites repented at the preaching of Jonah, and that for a short time, while the Israelites ever hardened themselves in their obstinacy. And hence some have refinedly expounded that passage in Matthew 12:39, ‘This perverse generation seeketh a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the Prophet,’ as though this intimated, that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, inasmuch as Jonah was taken away from his own nation, and was given as a teacher to foreign and heathen nations. They therefore suppose, that we are to understand this as a prophecy respecting the future call of the Gentiles, as though Christ had said, that he would hereafter go to the Gentiles, after having found the wickedness of the chosen people past recovery. But as Christ expressly applies this comparison, we ought not to draw his words here and there. (10) He indeed confines the similitude to one particular thing, that is, “As Jonah had been three days in the whale’s bowels, so also he would be three days in the bowels of the earth;” as though he had said, that in this he would be like to Jonah, for he would be a Prophet brought to life again. And this was said designedly by Christ, because he saw that he was despised by the Jews, and that his labors were in vain: “Since ye now hear me not, and regard me as nothing, know that I shall be hereafter a new Prophet, even after my resurrection; so at length I shall begin to speak more effectually both to the Jews and to the Gentiles, as Jonah converted Nineveh, after having returned again to life.” This then is the simple meaning of the passage. Hence Jonah was not a type of Christ, because he was sent away unto the Gentiles, but because he returned to life again, after having for some time exercised his office as a Prophet among the people of Israel. They then who say that his going forth was a token of the call of the Gentiles, adduce indeed what is plausible, but it seems to be supported by no solid reason; for it was in fact an extraordinary thing. God, then, had not as yet openly showed what he would do at the coming of Christ. When Naaman the Syrian was converted to the faith, (2 Kings 5:15) and a few others, God changed nothing in his ordinary proceedings: for there ever existed the special call of the race of Abraham, and religion was ever confined within the ancient limits; and it remained ever true, that God had not done to other nations as he had to the Jews, for he had revealed to them his judgments, (Psalms 147:20.) It was therefore God’s will that the adoption of the race of Abraham should continue unaltered to the conning of Christ, so that the Jews might excel all other nations, and differ from them through a gratuitous privilege, as the holy and elect people of God.

Those who adopt the contrary opinion say, that the Ninevites were converted to the Lord without circumcision. This is true; but I know not whether that was a true and legitimate conversion, which is hereafter mentioned; and of this, the Lord being willing, I shall again speak more fully: but it seems more probable, that they were induced by the reproofs and threatening of the Prophet, suppliantly to deprecate the impending wrath of God: hence God once forgave them; what took place afterwards does not clearly appear. It is certainly not probable that the whole city was converted to the Lord: for soon after that city became exceedingly hostile both to the Israelites and the Jews; and the Church of God was by the Ninevites continually harassed with slaughters. Since it was so, there is certainly no reason to think, that they had really and from the heart repented. But I put off a full discussion of this subject until we come to another passage. Let us go on now with our text.

1. When the word of Jehovah came to Johah,
the son of Amittai, saying

2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against her, for there wickedness has ascended before me.

3. Then Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish, from the presence of Jehovah, and went down to Joppa,” etc.

This reads connected, and the passage admits of this construction, for the copulative ו in Hebrew, when repeated, may very frequently be thus rendered, the first by “when,” and the second by “then.” — Ed.


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

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE PROPHET JONAH

‘Jonah the son of Amittai.’

Jonah 1:1

I. The prophecy of Jonah is confessedly one of the most remarkable and interesting in the Old Testament.—Deserting the ordinary cycle of Jewish thought, it carries us to a great heathen city, Israel’s bitter enemy; but the prophet’s errand thither is to show that God’s mercies are not limited to His covenant people, but embrace the whole heathen world. And the prophet carries his message unwillingly. Trained in the narrow belief that salvation was for the Jews only, he endeavours to escape altogether from being made the mouthpiece of the Divine love to men so barbarous and cruel as the people of Nineveh; and when, against his will, he has summoned them to repentance, and they obey his call, and the sentence of destruction is changed to one of acceptance, his stubborn prejudices break out into open murmurs, from which he is cured by a lesson so apt and forcible, and yet involving so playful an exhibition of the Divine power, that many scholars have been led by it to treat the whole narrative as a pleasing fiction, or at best as an allegory full of symbolic teaching.

II. But ‘wisdom is justified of her children,’ and there is a fullness of instruction in this prophecy which justifies the miraculous element contained in it, however different the form of the miracles may be from that found in the rest of Holy Scripture.—For, in the first place, it is a great and cardinal truth that there is mercy for those not in covenant with God. Even now we Christians are only slowly learning the lesson that God’s love is broader than human prejudice, and that He will judge men, not by the privileges which they possess, but by the use which they make of them. Just as in old time apostate Samaria, which had utterly deserted the worship of Jehovah, was declared more just than Judah, because the latter, while priding herself upon her covenant relations to God, was false to their principles (Jeremiah 3:11), so may it be now. Men who have not the law may, as St. Paul declares, attain to such a state as to be even judges of those who, while they have the letter of inspiration and the outward seal of the covenant, yet transgress the law (Romans 2:14; Romans 2:27).

Now, however much we may neglect it in practice, yet all this is, at least, acknowledged by us in words. But it was very different in the days of Jonah. Though directly contained in the whole teaching of the Book of Genesis, and implicitly in much of such scriptures besides as the Jews then possessed, yet the effect of the Mosaic law, especially of the necessary care taken therein to guard the Chosen People from contact with the heathen, had made them look upon the whole Gentile world as out of the pale of the Divine mercies. After Jonah, the whole body of prophets took up his parable, and taught in the very plainest way that Jehovah was the God of the Gentiles also. To us this truth seems taught everywhere in the Old Testament, but Jonah was the first to teach it plainly and directly to the Jews; and he taught it unwillingly. And yet he acknowledges that it was no new truth; for the reason which he gives for his refusal to bear God’s message was that he understood in its fullness that proclamation of the Divine attributes made in Exodus 34:6-7, and knew, therefore, that there was pardon even for Nineveh, if it repented (Jonah 4:2).

III. The teaching, then, of the Book of Jonah is very marvellous.—Even more so is its typical nature. In the midst of a storm so terrible that the ship was in danger of being dashed to pieces by the violence of the waves, Jonah lies fast asleep. They awake him, and he is made the propitiation by which the storm is appeased and the ship saved. But after a three days’ death in the belly of that which seemed to him a living grave (chap. Jonah 2:2), he is restored to life, and upon his resurrection follows the conversion of the Gentiles. We have thus a sealed-up prophecy, not opened until our Lord came, and claimed to be Himself the reality of that which Jonah had been only in type (Matthew 12:39-40).

—Dean Payne Smith.

Illustration

‘It is exceedingly probable that the Book of Jonah is the oldest written prophecy. Its place in the Canon testifies generally to the belief of the Jews that it belongs to the earliest or Assyrian period, but its position after Obadiah is probably owing to its seeming to the arranger that Jonah was that “ambassador to the heathen” of whom Obadiah speaks. But we find that Jonah prophesied at a time anterior to the military successes of Jeroboam II., though probably during that monarch’s reign. We have, then, firm ground beneath us, so far only as the facts reach, that Jonah was a prophet of established repute early in the reign of Israel’s warrior-king, and that Nineveh was at the height of its power when he went thither. But whether Jonah’s mission took place early or late in his life is altogether uncertain. Nothing in Assyrian history helps us to fix the date, nor do we even know whether Jonah was young or old when he foretold the conquest by Israel of the whole country from Hammath to the Dead Sea.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/jonah-1.html. 1876.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

Jonah receives a call from the Lord to go to Nineveh. He fleeth to Tarshish. A storm overtakes the ship in which Jonah is embarked. At his request the mariners throw him into the sea, and he is swallowed by a fish.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

Ver. 1. Now the word of the Lord came] Heb. And the word For with that particle "And" the Hebrews sometimes begin a discourse, as Ezekiel 1:1, Leviticus 1:1, an elegance proper to that tongue. Howbeit Hugo Cardinalis maketh this "And," not an inceptive particle, but a copulative to many other things that were in the prophet’s mind. Others conceive it to be continuative of some other history not now extant; or at least connective of this history with the course of his ordinary calling and prophetic employment among the ten tribes, to whom he prophesied together with Hosea, Amos, and others, but with little good success, in the reign of Jeroboam II:, a prince more prosperous than pious, 2 Kings 14:25. Jonah prophesied of his prosperity and victories; whereof when no good use was made by the house of Israel, their calamity and captivity was likewise foretold by Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah; and hence some conclude that Jonah was the first of all the prophets whose writings are extant; for he lived, say they, before the battle of Joash, King of Israel, with the Syrians, about the end of the life and prophecy of Elisha, 2 Kings 13:14.

Unto Jonah the son of Amittai] Jonah signifieth a dove, but Jonah had too little of the dove in him: plenus enim fuit effraenatis motibus, saith one; as passionate a man of an honest man as you have lightly heard of, saith another. Whether he was that "mad fellow" (as those much more mad captains called him 2 Kings 9:11), that was sent to anoint Jehu, or else the widow of Sarepta’s son raised by Elijah (as the Hebrews will have him to be), I have not to say. But that he was a servant of the Lord we find, 2 Kings 14:25, and a type of Christ, Matthew 12:40, concerning whom he prophesied, non tam sermone quam sua quadam passione (Augustine), far more plainly than if he had by voice foretold his death and resurrection. And whereas the grandees and potentates of the world get them a great name by the death and danger of many others; Ionas his omnibus superior est, saith an interpreter, Jonah surpasseth them all in this, that by his sermon at Nineveh he preserved that great city, wherein were so many thousand persons, and so much cattle, Jonah 4:11. That he was called and sent thither by God it appeareth by this text, and Oecolampadius observeth it. He was not, saith he, of them that run before they are sent; but, being sent, he refused to run, because of the hardness of the task laid upon him, as did likewise Moses and Jeremiah, till better tutored. There is less danger in refusing to run when sent than in running unsent. But when God calleth a man to the ministry, let him not doubt or despond, though at first he find not so much encouragement. Magna semper fecerunt, qui Deo vocante docuerunt, saith Luther. They have always done great things that have followed God’s call, as did Jonah at Nineveh, and doth still in the Church of God; for among others Cyprian, that famous martyr, confesseth that he was converted from idolatry and necromancy by hearing the history of the prophet Jonah read and expounded to him by Cecilius, whom he thenceforth called novae vitro parentem, the father of his Christian life.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jonah-1.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JONAH CHAPTER 1

Jonah, sent by God to Nineveh, fleeth to Tarshish, Jonah 1:1-3: he is overtaken by a tempest, and discovered, Jonah 1:4-10, thrown into the sea, Jonah 1:11-16, and swallowed by a fish, Jonah 1:17.

Now, Heb. And.

The word of the Lord, which is a usual description of prophecy; what God had to speak against Nineveh, be here does reveal to Jonah, with command that he publish it to those concerned in it.

Came unto, to, or, was with,

Jonah; called Jonas, Luke 11:30, which signifieth a dove; he was of Gath-hepher, a town of Zebulun, 2 Kings 14:25, but no more is added, by which I conjecture it was some obscure place, to which Jonah gave more light than it could to him.

Amittai; of what rank he was appears not.


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

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘Now the word of YHWH came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,’

As a prophet of YHWH Jonah received ‘the word of YHWH’. We are rarely given any explanation of how the word of YHWH was given and we are not justified in most cases in assuming that the prophet went into a state of ecstasy. Indeed it could be argued that among Hebrew prophets that was so rare an occurrence that it was only when it did happen that it was described in depth. Many have received the word of God since that day in the quietness of prayer and meditation, and there is no real reason for seeing the genuine prophets of YHWH as receiving it in any other way, except in exceptional circumstances. Elijah (e.g. 1 Kings 17:11-14) and Elisha (2 Kings 4:27) certainly expected that the word of YHWH would often come to them without any fuss. We have only to compare the approach of Elijah in contrast with the prophets of Baal to recognise that not all prophets functioned in the same way (1 Kings 18:26; 1 Kings 18:28-29; 1 Kings 18:31-38).

All that we know of Jonah, apart from what is in this prophecy, is found in 2 Kings 14:25, where we learn that Jeroboam II ‘restored the border of Israel from Libo-Hamath to the sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea) according to the word of YHWH, the God of Israel, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet who was of Gath-hepher.’ We thus know that he was seen as an authentic prophet in the early 8th century BC who received ‘the word of YHWH’, and probably had the ear of the king. But in view of the fact that so little was known about him it would be difficult to see why this story should be written about him if it did not have a basis in fact. Why select a prophet connected with the outwardly successful reign of Jeroboam II for such a story when the point could be got over better by choosing a prophet from another time who would have had a good cause to fear (or to object to) going to Nineveh? Thus while attempts have been made to find such a reason, they have not been considered successful.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jonah 1:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/jonah-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The book and verse open with a conjunction (Heb. waw, Eng. "Now"). Several versions leave this word untranslated because it makes no substantial difference in the story. Its presence in the Hebrew Bible may suggest that this book was part of a larger collection of stories. About14Old Testament books begin with "And," and they obviously connect with the books that immediately precede them. However what Jonah might have continued is unknown.

"These books remind us of God"s "continued story" of grace and mercy." [Note: Warren W. Wiersbe, " Jonah ," in The Bible Exposition Commentary/Prophets, p378.]

The expression "The word of the LORD came to" occurs over100 times in the Old Testament. [Note: Alexander, p97.] The writer did not record how Jonah received the following message from the Lord. That is inconsequential here, though often in other prophetic books the method of revelation that God used appears. Likewise the time of this revelation is a mystery and unessential to the interpretation and application of this story. God"s actions are the most important feature in this prophecy.

We do not have any knowledge of Amittai ("truthful") other than that he was Jonah"s father. The recording of the name of an important person"s father was common in Jewish writings, and the presence of Amittai"s name in the text argues for the historical reality of Jonah.

There are several unbiblical Jewish traditions about Jonah"s origin. [Note: Ellison, " Jonah ," p368.] One held that he was the widow"s son whom Elijah restored to life ( 1 Kings 17:17-24). Another held that he had some connection with the Jerusalem temple even though he was from the North. Another credited him with a successful mission to Jerusalem similar to the one to Nineveh. None of these has any biblical support. They were apparently attempts to fit Jonah into other inspired stories and to glorify the prophet.


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

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the word of the LORD came. This statement is unanswerable, and covers the truth of the whole contents of this book. This, or a like expression occurs seven times in Jonah (Jonah 1:1; Jonah 2:10; Jonah 3:1, Jonah 3:3; Jonah 3:4. Jonah 4:9, Jonah 4:10).

the Lord. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4. Jonah is the prophet named and described in 2 Kings 14:25. He was a native of Gath-hepher, now el Meshhed, three miles north-east of Nazareth. Nazareth was in Galilee (see App-169). The statement of the Pharisee, in John 7:52 was not true.

the son of Amittai. See 2 Kings 14:25.

Amittai = the truth of Jehovah.


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

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

Now - literally, 'And.' This 'and' marks that this book was joined on to the other sacred books-also Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the books of Samuel and of the Kings, Ezra and Nehemiah, and Ezekiel-and formed, with them, one continuous whole. The same conjunction joins together the first four books of Moses.

The word of the Lord came unto Jonah. "Jonah" means, in Hebrew, dove. Compare Genesis 8:8-9, where the dove in vain seeks rest, after flying from Noah and the ark: so Jonah. Grotius not so well, explains it, 'one sprung from Greece,' or Ionia, where there were prophets called Amythaonidae. The name was either given prophetically, or assumed by Jonah himself, as a watchword of his feeling. The dove symbolizes mourning love. He desired to be known among his people as one who lovingly mourned over them. Even his unloving zeal against Nineveh, which was to be the destroyer of his people, was due to the intense love he bore to his own people. His truthfulness in recording so faithfully all that was unfavourable of himself shows that he was truly the son of Amittai in the sense of that name. His faith was strong; but his zeal, like that of James and John, against the adversaries of his people, was in a wrong spirit (Luke 9:51-56; see note, Amos 4:2, end).

Amittai - Hebrew for 'truth,' 'truth-telling:' 'the truth of God,' appropriate to a prophet.


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

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

JONAH’S DISOBEDIENCE AND PUNISHMENT.

(1) Now . . .—More strictly, And; but the English quite adequately represents the Hebrew style of beginning a narrative, whether it formed a book by itself, or merely continued an historical account. (See the opening of Exodus, Leviticus, and other historical books; Ezekiel 1:1; and comp. 1 Kings 17:1, &c.)

Jonah the son of Amittai.—See Introduction.


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

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Jonah
2 Kings 14:25; Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:29,30,32
Jonas

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

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