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

2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to 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 presence of the LORD.

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.

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 into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

9 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.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

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.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, 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.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Commentary for Jonah 1

Jonah was a native of Galilee, #2Ki 14:25|. His miraculous deliverance from out of the fish, rendered him a type of our blessed Lord, who mentions it, so as to show the certain truth of the narrative. All that was done was easy to the almighty power of the Author and Sustainer of life. This book shows us, by the example of the Ninevites, how great are the Divine forbearance and long-suffering towards sinners. It shows a most striking contrast between the goodness and mercy of God, and the rebellion, impatience, and peevishness of his servant; and it will be best understood by those who are most acquainted with their own hearts.Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish. (1-3) He is stayed by a tempest. (4-7) His discourse with the mariners. (8-12) He is cast into the sea, and miraculously preserved. (13-17)1-3. It is sad to think how much sin is committed in great cities. Their wickedness, as that of Nineveh, is a bold and open affront to God. Jonah must go at once to Nineveh, and there, on the spot, cry against the wickedness of it. Jonah would not go. Probably there are few among us who would not have tried to decline such a mission. Providence seemed to give him an opportunity to escape; we may be out of the way of duty, and yet may meet with a favourable gale. The ready way is not always the right way. See what the best of men are, when God leaves them to themselves; and what need we have, when the word of the Lord comes to us, to have the Spirit of the Lord to bring every thought within us into obedience.

4-7 God sent a pursuer after Jonah, even a mighty tempest. Sin brings storms and tempests into the soul, into the family, into churches and nations; it is a disquieting, disturbing thing. Having called upon their gods for help, the sailors did what they could to help themselves. Oh that men would be thus wise for their souls, and would be willing to part with that wealth, pleasure, and honour, which they cannot keep without making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, and ruining their souls for ever! Jonah was fast asleep. Sin is stupifying, and we are to take heed lest at any time our hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of it. What do men mean by sleeping on in sin, when the word of God and the convictions of their own consciences, warn them to arise and call on the Lord, if they would escape everlasting misery? Should not we warn each other to awake, to arise, to call upon our God, if so be he will deliver us? The sailors concluded the storm was a messenger of Divine justice sent to some one in that ship. Whatever evil is upon us at any time, there is a cause for it; and each must pray, Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me. The lot fell upon Jonah. God has many ways of bringing to light hidden sins and sinners, and making manifest that folly which was thought to be hid from the eyes of all living.

8-12 Jonah gave an account of his religion, for that was his business. We may hope that he told with sorrow and shame, justifying God, condemning himself, and explaining to the mariners what a great God Jehovah is. They said to him, Why hast thou done this? If thou fearest the God that made the sea and the dry land, why wast thou such a fool as to think thou couldst flee from his presence? If the professors of religion do wrong, they will hear it from those who make no such profession. When sin has raised a storm, and laid us under the tokens of God's displeasure, we must consider what is to be done to the sin that raised the storm. Jonah uses the language of true penitents, who desire that none but themselves may fare the worse for their sins and follies. Jonah sees this to be the punishment of his iniquity, he accepts it, and justifies God in it. When conscience is awakened, and a storm raised, nothing will turn it into a calm but parting with the sin that caused the disturbance. Parting with our money will not pacify the conscience, the Jonah must be thrown overboard.

13-17 The mariners rowed against wind and tide, the wind of God's displeasure, the tide of his counsel; but it is in vain to think of saving ourselves any other way than by destroying our sins. Even natural conscience cannot but dread blood-guiltiness. And when we are led by Providence God does what he pleases, and we ought to be satisfied, though it may not please us. Throwing Jonah into the sea put an end to the storm. God will not afflict for ever, He will only contend till we submit and turn from our sins. Surely these heathen mariners will rise up in judgment against many called Christians, who neither offer prayers when in distress, nor thanksgiving for signal deliverances. The Lord commands all creatures, and can make any of them serve his designs of mercy to his people. Let us see this salvation of the Lord, and admire his power, that he could thus save a drowning man, and his pity, that he would thus save one who was running from him, and had offended him. It was of the Lord's mercies that Jonah was not consumed. Jonah was alive in the fish three days and nights: to nature this was impossible, but to the God of nature all things are possible. Jonah, by this miraculous preservation, was made a type of Christ; as our blessed Lord himself declared, #Mt 12:40|.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Jonah 1

  • Ravindra Kumar
    DearBrother sister Like most of us think, jonah also thought the same way, that people of nineveh should be punished, but they came under Gods mercy because of Repentence. lot learn from this ..
  • Nicole
    i really enjoyed this chapter and it made me think about the extent God would go to show his love and mercy to mankind. God is so merciful and so loving that he will make a way when there truly is no way. had they thrown Jonah into the sea, he would have drowned or even been killed by something but what stood out to me was the fact that God PREPARED a great fish....... After doing some research, as big as the fish may have been, whether it be a whale or shark more than likely a whale it is impossible for one to swallow a human or anything that size whole. So God prepared the fish to swallow him number 1. Number two God had to stop the enzymes and stomach acid from digesting Jonah as well, and three, possibly he had to prepare the fish stomach so it could be large enough to hold Jonah. Perhaps i know there is even more to add, but just the thought of God preparing the fish to inhabit him was amazing and nothing short of a miracle and it shows the love and mercy of God. This chapter help me to understand the mercy of God in a different way than I have ever understood. God is truly love and he showed it even when Jonah was disobedient. He knows and understands the heart. He has a Job for us to do and he wants it done. Mercy truly does reign over judgment!
  • Ayodeji Ebenezer omotara
    Jonah is a gift of grace despite his disobedience,God still showered him His grace.when he was threw inside the water,he was kept inside a belly of fish for three days and still alive,and because of his grace that God didn't want to kill him,helped others in the ship to be alive because the bible says where the sinners are being waged of there sins,the innocent would surely partake,if not others might perish with him.Jonah's deep sleepy is a sign of peace in trouble which always make some christians today to think they can be backslidding and still want God to understand,I.e God is not a forgottable God because He never forgotten that He sent him jonah an errands Nineveh.in short word,we all need grace and mercy because no one is perfect like Jesus christ.
    Jonah, was a man of God,possibly an evengilist who had bad perception about the people of Neniveh, instead of listen to the voice of God he allowed his perception to overide God's instrution.
    the lesson in this chapter is very broad. firstly, the people in the boat did not know the God of Jonah but through Jonah's disobedience to God, he got the opportunity to preach christ to them since they form the trinity God the father, son and the Holy Spirit . secondly,no man can hide from Gods purpose and plan, He said in his word that he knows the thoughts and plans for our lives.Jonah was trying to run frm God's thought and plans but GOD showed him that HE is God and creator of all things therefore, there's no hiding place frm the man of creation. thirdly, God is a God of yesterday, today and forever and when we trust him all other thing would be added unto us.
  • Aby
    papah Arhin once u encounter God you get boldness of spirit to preach just like Paul, grace u get once you believe in God 's Son Jesus

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Bible Trivia

God asked Jonah to go and preach against what city?
  • Tarshish
  • Nineveh
  • Joppa
  • Tyre