1:1 Now the word of the LORD came a unto Jonah the son of
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; (2Ki 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; (Eze 1:1).
1:2 Arise, go to b Nineveh, that c great city, and cry
against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
(b) For seeing the great obstipation of the Israelites, he
sent his Prophet to the Gentiles, that they might provoke
them to repentance, or at least make them inexcusable:
for Nineveh was the chief city of the Assyrians.
(c) For as authors write, it contained in circuit about
forty-eight miles, and had 1500 towers, and at this time
there were 120,000 children in it; (Jon 4:11).
1:3 But Jonah rose up to d flee unto Tarshish from the
presence of the LORD, and went down to e Joppa; and he
found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof,
and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from
the f presence of the LORD.
(d) By which he declares his weakness, that would not
promptly follow the Lord's calling, but gave place to
his own reason, which persuaded him that he would not
profit these people at all, seeing he had done such
little good among his own people; (Jon 4:2).
(e) Which was the haven, and port to take shipping there,
also called Joppa.
(f) From that vocation to which God had called him, and in
which he would have assisted him.
1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his
god, and cast forth the wares that [were] in the ship into
the sea, to lighten [it] of them. But Jonah was gone down
g into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast
(g) As one that would have cast off this care and concern by
seeking rest and quietness.
1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What
meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy h God, if so
be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
(h) As they had called on their idols, which declares that
idolaters have no rest nor certainty, but in their
troubles seek what they do not even know.
1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast
i lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil [is]
upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
(i) Which declares that the matter was very extreme and in
doubt, which was God's way of getting them to test for
the cause: and this may not be done except in matters of
1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, k We
beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish
for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood:
for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
(k) This declares that the very wicked in their time of
need flee to God for help, and also that they are
touched with a certain fear of shedding man's blood,
whereas they know no manifest sign of wickedness.
1:16 Then the men l feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a
sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
(l) They were touched with a certain repentance of their
past life, and began to worship the true God by whom
they saw themselves as wonderfully delivered. But this
was done for fear, and not from a pure heart and
affection, neither according to God's word.
1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.
And Jonah was in the m belly of the fish three days and
(m) Thus the Lord would chastise his Prophet with a most
terrible spectacle of death, and by this also
strengthened and encouraged him of his favour and
support in this duty which was commanded him.