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Song of Solomon
Jonah 2 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)
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Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,
- Part I. JONAH'S PRAYER AND DELIVERANCE.
. Jonah, in the belly of the fish, offers a prayer of thanksgiving for his rescue from death by drowning, in which he sees a pledge of further deliverance.
Then Jonah prayed.
These were his feelings when he sank in the waters and while he lay in his mysterious prison; he may have put them into their metrical form after his deliverance. The grammatical arrangement, and especially the language of ver. 7, seem to speak of a deliverance already experienced rather than of one expected. As this "prayer" does not suit an allegory, and as no cue but Jonah could have known its substance, we have here an argument for his authorship. It is rather a thanksgiving than a prayer - like that of Hennas (
1 Samuel 2:1
). When he realizes that he was saved from drowning, he uttered his gratitude, and saw that he might hope for further rescue. How he passed the three days we cannot tell; some have thought he was unconscious; but thin is, perhaps, hardly consistent with the notice of his praying, and with the action of his great Antitype, who, during his sojourn in the unseen world, "preached to the spirits in prison" (
1 Peter 3:19
He acknowledges Jehovah as his God. He had proved himself his by inspiration, by chastisement, and now by mercy (Pusey). The following prayer contains ample reminiscences of the Psalms, which would be familiar to a devout Israelite. Those quoted are mostly what have been considered to belong to David's time. if their date is really ascertained. But it is a matter of controversy, incapable of settlement, whether Jonah or the psalmist is the original.
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I,
thou heardest my voice.
- He introduces the prayer with the tact that he cried to God in distress and was heard.
By reason of mine affliction;
out of my affliction.
This may be a reminiscence of
; but from such coincidences nothing can be established concerning the date of the book. Like circumstances call forth like expressions; and the writers may have composed them quite independently of one another. Hell (
). The unseen world (
). He was as though dead when thus engulfed (comp.
Psalm 28:1, 2
Thou heardest my voice
Psalm 130:1, 2
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
- He describes his danger and distress.
Thou hadst cast;
thou didst cast
, the sailors being the agents of the Divine will. Septuagint,
, "depths" (Septuagint);
In the midst;
in the heart
. This defines more closely the previous expression.
This may mean the current (as in
), which in the Mediterranean Sea sets from west to east, and, impinging on the Syrian coast, turns north; or it may have reference to the notion, familiar to us in Homer. which regarded the ocean as a river.
All thy billows and thy waves;
πάντες οἱ μετεωρισμοί σου καὶ τὰ κύματά σου
"all thy swellings and waves" (Septuagint);
omnes gurgites tui, et fluctus tui
(Vulgate). The former are "breakers," the latter "rolling billows." The clause is from
, Jonah transferring what is there said metaphorically to his own literal experience, at the same time acknowledging God's hand in the punishment by speaking of "
Psalm 88:6, 7
Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
- Jonah confesses that he at first fully expected death; but faith and hope soon triumphed over despondency.
I am cast out of thy sight.
This was his thought when what is mentioned in ver. 3 happened unto him. The words are a reminiscence of
, altered somewhat to suit Jonah's circumstances. The psalmist says, "I said in my haste." Jonah says simply, "I said," without any limitation; and for "I am cut off," Jonah uses, "I am cast out." Septuagint,
- a strong term, implying banishment with violence.
Out of thy sight
frown before thine eyes
from thy protecting care (comp.
1 Samuel 26:24
1 Kings 8:29
). He who had fled from the presence of the Lord in Canaan fears that he has forfeited the favour of God.
Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
I will turn in prayer to that holy place where thou dost manifest thy presence. The Jews were wont to turn towards Jerusalem when they prayed (comp.
1 Kings 8:30
). Some think that Jonah expresses a hope of worshipping again in the temple; but the turn of expression in the text hardly warrants this. Others refer the term to the heavenly temple, as they do in ver. 7;
The waters compassed me about,
to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
Verses 5, 6.
- In parallel clauses, Jonah describes still more vividly the horrors that surrounded him.
Compassed me about
. Not the same word as in ver. 3. Septuagint,
"was poured around me." Even to the soul; so as to reach his life (comp.
Psalm 69:1, 2
The depth closed me round about.
The verb is the lame as in ver. 3, translated there, "compassed me about" Vulgate,
abyssus vallavit me
); seaweed. Jonah sank to the bottom before he was swallowed by the fish. The LXX. omits the word. The Vulgate gives
, which is probably derived from the fact of the Red Sea being called "the Sea of Suph," the term being thence applied to any sea.
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars
about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
The bottoms of the mountains;
the cuttings off
, where the mountains seem to be cut off by the ocean floor; the roots of the mountains.
, "the clefts of the mountains" (Sop-tuagint);
The earth with her bars
for the earth, her bars were about me
; return to it was shut out for me; the gate by which I might return was locked behind me. He adds, forever, as it was to all appearance, because he had no power in himself of returning to earth and life.
; in spite of all, I am preserved.
(Vulgate); so the Chaldee and Syriac; Septuagint,
Ἀναβήτω ἐκ φθορᾶς ἡ ζωή μου
Ἀναβήτω φθορὰ ζωῆς μου
(Vatican), "Let my life arise from destruction;" or, "Let the destruction of my life [
my destroyed life] arise." Jerome refers the word to the digestive process in the fish's stomach; it is probably merely a synonym for "death." The marginal rendering, "the pit,"
Sheol, is also etymologically correct (comp.
He thankfully acknowledges that Jehovah has proved himself a beneficent God to him.
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
- His prayer was heard.
When my soul fainted within me;
- referring, says Pusey, to that physical exhaustion when a film comes over the eyes, and the brain is mantled over. The clause is from
or Psalms 143:4.
I remembered the Lord.
That was his salvation (
). He turned in thought to
thine holy temple
(ver. 4), the sanctuary where God's presence was most assured, like the psalmist in the wilderness (
). or like the exiles by the waters of Babylon when they remembered Zion (
They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
- Jonah contrasts the joy and comfort arising from the thought of God with the miserable fate of idolaters.
They that observe
); court, pay deference to, reverence.
μάταια καὶ ψευδῆ
, "vain things and false." Idom (comp.
1 Corinthians 8:4
Their own mercy;
their state of favour with God - the mercy shown to them, as "the mercies of [shown to] David" (
); or God himself, the Fountain of mercy and goodness (
). Henderson translates, "forsake their Benefactor."
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay
that I have vowed. Salvation
of the LORD.
- who know better than idolaters, and who have learned a new lesson of trust in God -
I will sacrifice.
Pusey notes that the Hebrew denotes rather, "I fain would sacrifice," as it depended, not on him, but on God, whether he was able to worship again in the Holy Land. His sacrifice of thanksgiving (
, etc.) should be offered with prayer and praise (
That which I have vowed
(Psalm 1:14; 66:13).
Salvation is of the Lord.
This is the conclusion to which his trial has brought him, the moral of the whole canticle (
Psalm 118:14, 21
). The LXX. and the Vulgate join this clause to the preceding, thus: "That which I have vowed I will pay to the Lord for my salvation." This is tame, and not in strict accordance with the Hebrew.
And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry
- § 2.
The fish casts up Jonah alive on the shore
Spake unto the fish.
The punishment having done its work, the fish is impelled by some secret influence to eject Jonah on the dry land, on the third day after he was swallowed (
). Some, who regard the Book of Jonah as an historical allegory, see in these three days an adumbration of the period of the Babylonish captivity, during which Israel was buried in darkness, and from which she rose to a new and happier life. They compare, as referring to the same transaction,
Jeremiah 51:34, 44
Hosea 6:1, 2
(see Dr. O.H.H. Wright, 'Exegetical Studies,' pp. 53, etc.).
Upon the dry land.
Probably on the coast of Palestine, whence he had started.
Courtesy of Open Bible
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