|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:13-17 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.
Verse 16. - Feared the Lord. They recognized the supernatural element in the transaction, and conceived an awe and fed, of Jehovah, who had wrought these wonders Offered a sacrifice unto the Lord. Many commentators think that they sacrificed on reaching shore, as they had thrown the cargo overboard, and would have had no animal to offer. The Chaldee renders accordingly, "They said that they would offer sacrifices." But the text implies that they sacrificed immediately on the cessation of the storm. They may naturally have had some animal on board fit for offering. And made vows. Vowed to make other offerings when it was in their power. Henderson compares Virgil, 'AEneid,' 3:403, etc. -
"Quin, ubi transmissae steterint trans aequora classes
Et positis aris jam vota in litore solves."
"And when thy fleet hath safely crossed the seas,
And, raising altars on the shore, thy vows
Thou shalt perform." It has been supposed that these sailors embraced Judaism and became proselytes. At any rate, they showed themselves in the light of believers on this occasion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly,.... This was not a natural fear, as before, but a religious one; and not a servile fear, or a fear of punishment, but a reverential godly fear; for they feared him, not only because they saw his power in raising and stilling the tempest, but his goodness to them in saving them:
and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord; a spiritual sacrifice; the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for a safe deliverance from the storm; for other sort of sacrifice they seemed not to have materials for; since they had thrown overboard what they had in the ship to lighten it, unless there might be anything left fit for this purpose; but rather, if it is to be understood of a ceremonial sacrifice, it was offered when they went out of the ship, according to the gloss of Aben Ezra; or they solemnly declared they would, as soon as they came to land; to which sense is the Targum,
"and they said, they would offer a sacrifice:''
and agreeably to this the words may be rendered, with what follows, thus, "and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord", that is,
and made vows; they vowed that they would offer a sacrifice (n) when arrived in their own country, or should return to Judea, and come to Jerusalem. So the Hebrew "vau", is often used (o), as exegetical and explanative; though many interpreters understand the vows as distinct from the sacrifice; and that they vowed that the God of the Hebrews should be their God, and that they would for the future serve and worship him only; that they would become proselytes, as Jarchi; or give alms to the poor, as Kimchi; as an evidence of their sense of gratitude to God, the author of their mercies. If these men were truly converted, as it seems as if they were, they were great gainers by this providence; for though they lost their worldly goods, they found what was infinitely better, God to be their God and portion, and all spiritual good thing a with him; and it may be observed of the wise and wonderful providence of God, that though Jonah refused to go and preach to the Gentiles at Nineveh, for which he was corrected; yet God made this dispensation a means of converting other Gentiles.
(n) So Drusius. (o) Vid. Nold. Ebr. Part. Concord. p. 280.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. offered a sacrifice—They offered some sacrifice of thanksgiving at once, and vowed more when they should land. Glassius thinks it means only, "They promised to offer a sacrifice."
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