|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-9 Observe when Jonah prayed. When he was in trouble, under the tokens of God's displeasure against him for sin: when we are in affliction we must pray. Being kept alive by miracle, he prayed. A sense of God's good-will to us, notwithstanding our offences, opens the lips in prayer, which were closed with the dread of wrath. Also, where he prayed; in the belly of the fish. No place is amiss for prayer. Men may shut us from communion with one another, but not from communion with God. To whom he prayed; to the Lord his God. This encourages even backsliders to return. What his prayer was. This seems to relate his experience and reflections, then and afterwards, rather than to be the form or substance of his prayer. Jonah reflects on the earnestness of his prayer, and God's readiness to hear and answer. If we would get good by our troubles, we must notice the hand of God in them. He had wickedly fled from the presence of the Lord, who might justly take his Holy Spirit from him, never to visit him more. Those only are miserable, whom God will no longer own and favour. But though he was perplexed, yet not in despair. Jonah reflects on the favour of God to him, when he sought to God, and trusted in him in his distress. He warns others, and tells them to keep close to God. Those who forsake their own duty, forsake their own mercy; those who run away from the work of their place and day, run away from the comfort of it. As far as a believer copies those who observe lying vanities, he forsakes his own mercy, and lives below his privileges. But Jonah's experience encourages others, in all ages, to trust in God, as the God of salvation.
Verse 3. - He describes his danger and distress. Thou hadst cast; rather, thou didst cast, the sailors being the agents of the Divine will. Septuagint, ἀπέῥῬιψας. The deep; βάθη, "depths" (Septuagint); Exodus 15:8. In the midst; literally, in the heart; Septuagint, καρδίας θαλάσσης: galore, in corde maris. This defines more closely the previous expression. The floods; literally, the river. This may mean the current (as in Psalm 24:2), 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 Psalm 42:7, 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 "thy billows" (comp. Psalm 88:6, 7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas,.... Though the mariners did this, yet Jonah ascribes it to the Lord; he knew it was he, whom he had sinned against and offended; that he was he that sent the storm after him into the sea; that determined the lot to fall upon him; that it was not only by his permission, but according to his will, that he should be east into it, and overcame the reluctance of the men to it, and so worked upon them that they did it; and therefore Jonah imputes it to him, and not to them; nor does he complain of it, or murmur at it; or censure it as an unrighteous action, or as hard, cruel, and severe; but rather mentions it to set off the greatness of his deliverance: and by this it appears, that it was far from shore when Jonah was cast into the sea, it was the great deep; and which also is confirmed by the large fish which swallowed him, which could, not swim but in deep waters; and because of the multitude of the waters, called "seas", and "in the heart" (c) of them, as it may be rendered; and agreeably Christ the antitype of Jonah lay in the heart of the earth, Matthew 12:40;
and the floods compassed me about; all thy billows and thy waves passed over me; which was his case as soon as cast into the sea, before the fish had swallowed him, as well as after: this was literally true of Jonah, what David says figuratively concerning his afflictions, and from whom the prophet seems to borrow the expressions, Psalm 42:7; and indeed he might use them also in a metaphorical sense, with a view to the afflictions of body, and sorrows of death, that compassed him; and to the billows and waves of divine wrath, which in his apprehension lay upon him, and rolled over him.
(c) "in corde", V. L. Cocceius; "in cor", Montanus, Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. thou hadst cast … thy billows … thy waves—Jonah recognizes the source whence his sufferings came. It was no mere chance, but the hand of God which sent them. Compare Job's similar recognition of God's hand in calamities, Job 1:21; 2:10; and David's, 2Sa 16:5-11.
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