Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
THE PROPHECY OF JONAS.
Jonas prophesied in the reign of Jeroboam II, as we learn from 4 Kings xiv. 25., to whom also he foretold his success in restoring all the borders of Israel. He was of Geth --- Opher, in the tribe of Zabulon, and consequently of Galilee; which confutes that assertion of the Pharisees, (John vii, 52.) that no prophet ever arose out of Galilee. He prophesied and prefigured in his own person the death and resurrection of Christ, and was the only one among the prophets who was sent to preach to the Gentiles. (Challoner) --- The most incredible mystery in our religion, and the vocation of the Gentiles, are thus insinuated. (Calmet) --- The latter shall be saved if they repent, like Ninive. (Worthington) --- Thomas Paine's supposition, that this book was written by a pagan "to satirise the malignant character of a predicting priest," requires no refutation. (Haydock) (Watson)
Ninive, the capital city of the Assyrian empire. (Challoner) --- It was 150 stadia long and 90 broad, (Diodorus ii.) on the western bank of the Tigris. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 13.) --- Mosul, which some mistake for it, stands on the northern side. See Genesis x. 10. At the time when Jonas preached, Ninive would contain about 600,000, chap. iv. 11. They were people less favoured by God, (Acts xiv. 15.; Calmet) but not abandoned. (Theodoret) --- God took sufficient care of all his creatures, and foretold many things relating to foreign nations. (Calmet) --- Romans iii. 29. (Worthington) --- For the. Septuagint add, "cry of," Genesis iv., and xviii. (Haydock)
Tharsis. Which some take to be Tharsus of Cilicia, others to be Tartessus of Spain, others to be Carthage. (Challoner) --- Joppe, now Jaffa, (Menochius) a miserable seaport. (Haydock) --- It was formerly the best near Jerusalem, (2 Paralipomenon ii. 16.) though very dangerous. (Josephus, Jewish Wars iii. 15. or 29.) --- It is said to have been built before "the inundation" of the world, (Mela. i. 11.) and was famous for the adventure of Andromeda, rescued by Perseus from a sea monster. (Pliny, [Natural History?] v. 13.) (Calmet) --- Lord. He feared being accounted a false prophet, (Worthington) knowing how much God was inclined to shew mercy, (chap. iv. 2.) and being disheartened at the difficulty of the undertaking, like Moses and Gedeon. (Calmet) --- He might also think that if the Ninivites repented, it would be a reflection on the obstinacy of the Jews. (St. Gregory, Mor. vi. 13.) (St. Jerome)
Broken. Seeing no natural cause of such a sudden tempest, they concluded (Worthington) that some on board must be guilty; as the sailors argued (Haydock) when the noted atheist, Diagoras, was in similar circumstances. (Calmet) --- They had recourse to lots, and the prophet consented by God's inspiration, (Worthington) though this is not written, (Haydock) and the lots were superstitious. (Menochius) --- The oriental writers add many things to this sufficiently marvellous account. (Lyranus; D'Herbelot.) (Calmet)
God. They were idolaters, ver. 6. --- Wares, which is commonly done in storms. (Calmet) --- This loss was in punishment of their sins; though they seem not devoid of some fear of God and man. (Haydock) --- Sleep. This is a lively image of the insensibility of sinners, fleeing from God, and threatened on every side with his judgments; and yet sleeping as if they were secure. (Challoner) --- Yet Jonas was sleeping through grief. (St. Jerome) (Matthew xxvi. 40.) (Calmet)
Fear, and therefore fly from the face of the Lord, ver. 3, 10. (Haydock) --- He knew that God is every where, ver. 3., and Psalm cxxxiii. 8. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "I worship." Fear is often taken in this sense. (Haydock)
Cast me. God intimates that he required this sacrifice. (Menochius)
Hard. They were unwilling to destroy the prophet, (Calmet) fearing to incur fresh guilt by thus treating one who had intrusted his life to them. (Josephus, Antiquities ix. 11.)
Blood. We act thus by his direction, and through necessity.
Lord. They were converted by this prodigy, and offered sacrifice immediately, or (Calmet) when they came to port. (Menochius) --- All know by the light of reason that sacrifice and vows are acceptable to the Lord. (Worthington)