Jonah 1:10
Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said to him. Why have you done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
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(10) Why hast.—Rather, What is this that thou hast done? The question expresses horror, not curiosity.

For the men knew that.—Jonah’s answer in Jonah 1:9 is evidently intended only as an abbreviation of what he actually replied.

1:8-12 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.Then were the men exceedingly afraid - Before, they had feared the tempest and the loss of their lives. Now they feared God. They feared, not the creature but the Creator. They knew that what they had feared was the doing of His Almightiness. They felt how awesome a thing it was to be in His Hands. Such fear is the beginning of conversion, when people turn from dwelling on the distresses which surround them, to God who sent them.

Why hast thou done this? - They are words of amazement and wonder. Why hast thou not obeyed so great a God, and how thoughtest thou to escape the hand of the Creator ? "What is the mystery of thy flight? Why did one, who feared God and had revelations from God, flee, sooner than go to fulfill them? Why did the worshiper of the One true God depart from his God?" "A servant flee from his Lord, a son from his father, man from his God!" The inconsistency of believers is the marvel of the young Christian, the repulsion of those without, the hardening of the unbeliever. If people really believed in eternity, how could they be thus immersed in things of time? If they believed in hell, how could they so hurry there? If they believed that God died for them, how could they so requite Him? Faith without love, knowledge without obedience, conscious dependence and rebellion, to be favored by God yet to despise His favor, are the strangest marvels of this mysterious world.

All nature seems to cry out to and against the unfaithful Christian, "why hast thou done this?" And what a why it is! A scoffer has recently said so truthfully : "Avowed scepticism cannot do a tenth part of the injury to practical faith, that the constant spectacle of the huge mass of worldly unreal belief does." It is nothing strange, that the world or unsanctified intellect should reject the Gospel. It is a thing of course, unless it be converted. But, to know, to believe, and to DISOBEY! To disobey God, in the name of God. To propose to halve the living Gospel, as the woman who had killed her child 1 Kings 3:26, and to think that the poor quivering remnants would be the living Gospel anymore! As though the will of God might, like those lower forms of His animal creation, be divided endlessly, and, keep what fragments we will, it would still be a living whole, a vessel of His Spirit! Such unrealities and inconsistencies would be a sore trial of faith, had not Jesus, who (cf. John 2:25), "knew what is in man," forewarned us that it should be so. The scandals against the Gospel, so contrary to all human opinion, are only all the more a testimony to the divine knowledge of the Redeemer.

10. "The men were exceedingly afraid," when made aware of the wrath of so powerful a God at the flight of Jonah.

Why hast thou done this?—If professors of religion do wrong, they will hear of it from those who make no such profession.

Then; when Jonah had declared his God, whose power and wrath these mariners saw and heard in the tempest, and what sin of his was now punished, and how they had taken him into their ship, knowing that he did runaway from this mighty God.

The men were exceedingly afraid; their fear was doubled, every thing now represents horror to them, their own danger, Nineveh’s approaching dismal ruin, which they believe by what they see, satisfied that he who so tremendously punished the refusal to deliver the message, was able and certainly would execute the sentence which he commanded should be delivered.

Why hast thou done this? now they ask a reason for that of which no reason can be given: it was most unreasonable that Jonah had done, and we find no answer to this interrogatory, though the foregoing questions were answered. Others think it is a reproof of him for so doing; I rather think it mixed of both. It was a real reproof to himself while he more particularly explains the great sinfulness Of this prank of his; and it is an inquiry made for satisfaction to them, who no doubt thought of Jonah’s God as they did of their own, that it was no hard matter to be done, nor any great sin if done, to run from their presence. These likely were their thoughts of the thing when he first told them; but the dreadful storm that Jonah’s God sent after this fugitive servant of his makes them more curious to know what great sin it was, and so Jonah explaining the whole, confesseth his sin, humbleth himself, and takes the reproof to himself, and informeth them aright. The men; the master of the ship, and the mariners.

Knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord: in these words it is probable he told them; now though they knew this was the thing, yet they apprehended not what was in it, but did judge of this by their own gods, and their presence.

He had told them, when they inquired the cause of his travels, as it is very like they would do, ere they took his fare. Then were the men exceedingly afraid,.... When they found he was a Hebrew, and that it was the God of the Hebrews that was angry; of whom they had heard much, and what great and wonderful things had been done by him, and now had an experience of his power and providence, and that it was for fleeing from his presence that all this was; and therefore, since they had been guilty of greater sins than this, as they might imagine, what would be done to them? and particularly it might fill them with dread and terror, when they heard of the destruction of Nineveh, the prophet was sent to denounce; of which no doubt he had told them, and they might from hence conclude it would certainly be:

and said unto him, why hast thou done this? they wonder he should act such a foolish part as to flee from such a God he had described to them, who was Lord of heaven, earth, and sea; and therefore could meet with him, and seize him, be he where he would; and they reprove him for it, and the rather as it had involved them in so much distress and danger:

for the men knew that he had fled from the presence of the Lord,

because he had told them; not when he first entered into the ship, but now, though not before mentioned; for no doubt Jonah told the whole story at length, though the whole is not recorded; how that he was sent by the Lord with a message to Nineveh, to denounce destruction to it; and that he refused to go, and fled from his face; and this was the true reason of the storm.

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.
10. Why hast thou done this?] Rather, What is this that thou hast done? A question not of enquiry, but of amazement and reproach. Comp. Genesis 4:10.Verse 10. - Exceedingly afraid. They understand now the greatness of Jehovah and the terrible risk incurred by one who offends him. There was a widespread acknowledgment of the power of Jehovah among the heathen (see Exodus 15:15; Joshua 5:1; 1 Samuel 4:7; and comp. Judith 5:21). Why hast thou done this? better, What is this that thou hast done? (Genesis 3:13). This is not a question of inquiry, for he had already told them that he had fled from the presence of the Lord; but rather an exclamation of horror and amazement at his folly and sin. That one who worshipped the Almighty Creator should disobey his command seemed to them outrageous and inexcusably criminal. The prophet does not spare himself in giving the history of the transaction. To be thus rebuked by heathen sailors must have added to the poignancy of his remorse. The presence of the Lord (see note on ver. 3). This base contempt of their covenant mercies the Lord would visit with a severe punishment. Amos 2:13. "Behold, I will press you down, as the cart presses that is filled with sheaves. Amos 2:14. And the flight will be lost to the swift, and the strong one will not fortify his strength, and the hero will not deliver his soul. Amos 2:15. And the carrier of the bow will not stand, and the swift-footed will not deliver, and the rider of the horse will not save his soul. Amos 2:16. And the courageous one among the heroes will flee away naked in that day, is the saying of Jehovah." The Lord threatens as a punishment a severe oppression, which no one will be able to escape. The allusion is to the force of war, under which even the bravest and most able heroes will succumb. העיק, from עוּק, Aramaean for צוּק, to press, construed with tachath, in the sense of κατὰ, downwards, to press down upon a person, i.e., to press him down (Winer, Ges., Ewald). This meaning is established by עקה in Psalm 55:4, and by מוּעקה in Psalm 66:11; so that there is no necessity to resort to the Arabic, as Hitzig does, or to alterations of the text, or to follow Baur, who gives the word the meaning, "to feel one's self pressed under another," for which there is no foundation in the language, and which does not even yield a suitable sense. The comparison instituted here to the pressure of a cart filled with sheaves, does not warrant the conclusion that Jehovah must answer to the cart; the simile is not to be carried out to this extent. The object to תּעיק is wanting, but may easily be supplied from the thought, namely, the ground over which the cart is driven. The להּ attached to המלאה belongs to the latitude allowed in ordinary speech, and gives to מלאה the reflective meaning, which is full in itself, has quite filled itself (cf. Ewald, 315, a). In Amos 2:14-16 the effects of this pressure are individualized. No one will escape from it. אבד מנוס, flight is lost to the swift, i.e., the swift will not find time enough to flee. The allusion to heroes and bearers of the bow shows that the pressure is caused by war. קל בּרגליו belong together: "He who is light in his feet." The swift-footed will no more save his life than the rider upon a horse. נפשׁו .esroh in Amos 2:15 belongs to both clauses. אמּץ לבּו, the strong in his heart, i.e., the hearty, courageous. ערום, naked, i.e., so as to leave behind him his garment, by which the enemy seizes him, like the young man in Mark 14:52. This threat, which implies that the kingdom will be destroyed, is carried out still further in the prophet's following addresses.
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