Jonah 1:11
Then said they to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea worked, and was tempestuous.
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(11) What shall we.—The prophet would of course know how to appease the God he had displeased.

May be calm unto us.—See margin. The word rendered calm occurs (Psalm 107:30) of a lull after a storm, and in Proverbs 26:20 metaphorically, of peace after strife.

Wrought, and was tempestuous.—Literally, was going, and being agitated; an idiom rightly explained in the margin. (Comp. a similar idiom Genesis 8:3.)

Jonah 1:11-12. Then said they, What shall we do unto thee, &c. — They perceived that Jonah was a prophet of the Lord, and therefore they would not do any thing to him without consulting him. He appeared to be a delinquent, but he appeared also to be a penitent: and therefore they would not insult over him, or offer him any rudeness. They would not cast him overboard, if he could think of any other expedient by which to save the ship. And he said, Take me up, and cast me into the sea — It is probable the conviction in Jonah’s mind of his guilt was so strong, at this time, as to make him certain that God had raised this tempest on his account; or he might have a revelation from God that it was so: in either case he might think it his duty to offer himself to death to save the rest that were in the ship. For if it be lawful, and even praise worthy for one man, though guiltless, to sacrifice his life to save the lives of many; how much more may and ought a person to do this who knows that he is the cause of imminent danger, which threatens immediate destruction to many others.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.What shall we do unto thee? - They knew him to be a prophet; they ask him the mind of his God. The lots had marked out Jonah as the cause of the storm; Jonah had himself admitted it, and that the storm was for "his" cause, and came from "his" God . "Great was he who fled, greater He who required him. They dare not give him up; they cannot conceal him. They blame the fault; they confess their fear; they ask "him" the remedy, who was the author of the sin. If it was faulty to receive thee, what can we do, that God should not be angered? It is thine to direct; ours, to obey."

The sea wrought and was tempestuous - , literally "was going and whirling." It was not only increasingly tempestuous, but, like a thing alive and obeying its Master's will, it was holding on its course, its wild waves tossing themselves, and marching on like battalions, marshalled, arrayed for the end for which they were sent, pursuing and demanding the runaway slave of God . "It was going, as it was bidden; it was going to avenge its Lord; it was going, pursuing the fugitive prophet. It was swelling every moment, and, as though the sailors were too tardy, was rising in yet greater surges, shewing that the vengeance of the Creator admitted not of delay."

11. What shall we do unto thee?—They ask this, as Jonah himself must best know how his God is to be appeased. "We would gladly save thee, if we can do so, and yet be saved ourselves" (Jon 1:13, 14). Then said they; when they heard all that Jonah had declared to them, and well weighed it all, and saw it looked all of one piece, most credible.

Unto him; a prophet fittest in that respect to tell them what should be done, and a party so highly concerned in it.

What shall we do unto thee? if thy God will by thee declare his will and we do it, we shall not provoke him; and if thou submit to his will, and direct us, we shall not injure thee.

That the sea may be calm; cease its rage, and return to its former calmness for us to make our voyage.

For the sea wrought, and was tempestuous; though Jonah had recounted all, and given glory to God, taken shame to himself, and satisfied the seamen, yet the sea grew higher and higher, more tempestuous in itself, and more dangerous to them, and they were sensible that somewhat must be done with Jonah to quiet all. Their fear was lest they should mistake herein, and therefore they ask his counsel. Then said they unto him, what shall we do unto thee,.... Though, both by the lot and his own confession, they knew he was the guilty person; for whose sake this storm was; yet were unwilling to do anything to him without his will and consent, his counsel and advice; perceiving that he was a prophet of the God of the Hebrews, whom he had offended, and knew the mind and will of his God, and the nature of his offence against him, and what only would appease him they desire him to tell what they ought to do; fearing that, though they had found out the man, they should make a mistake in their manner of dealing with him, and so continue the distress they were in, or increase it; their great concern being to be rid of the storm:

that the sea may be calm unto us? or "silent" (h)? for the waves thereof made a hideous roaring, and lifted up themselves so high, as was terrible to behold; and dashed with such vehemence against the ship, as threatened it every moment with destruction:

(for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous); or, "it went and swelled" (i); it was agitated to and fro, and was in a great ferment, and grew more and more stormy and tempestuous. Jonah's confession of his sin, and true repentance for it, were not sufficient; more must be one to appease an angry God; and what that was the sailors desired to know. These words are inserted in a parenthesis with us, as if put by the writer of the book, pointing out the reason of the men's request; but, according to Kimchi: they are their own words, giving a reason why they were so pressing upon him to know what they should do with him, "seeing the sea was going and stormy" (k); or more and more stormy; which seems right.

(h) "ut sileat", Pagninus, Vatablus, Mercerus, Drusius; "et silebit", Montanus; "ut conticeseat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Burkius. (i) "ibat et intumescebat", Pagninus, Vatablus, Drusius. (k) "Vadeus et turbinans", Montanus; "magis ac magis procellosum erat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "inhorrescebat", Cocceius.

Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
11. What shall we do unto thee] No doubt in their thus appealing to Jonah to tell them what was to be done, instead of at once ridding themselves of him as the acknowledged cause of their calamity, we may recognise their reverence for Jehovah, and in a measure also for His servant. At the same time it was only natural and reasonable that, having learned of him the cause, they should seek to know from him the cure of their trouble. “Since you are a worshipper of the most High and Almighty God, you ought to know how the anger of your God can be appeased.”—Rosenm.

may be calm unto us] Lit., may be quiet from upon us, i. e. from pressing upon us and being hostile to us. The word used for being quiet or silent in this and the next verse only occurs beside in Psalm 107:30, of quiet after a storm at sea, and in Proverbs 26:20, of the ceasing of strife.

wrought, and was tempestuous] Lit., was going and being tossed, i. e. according to the Hebrew idiom, became increasingly tempestuous. So in Genesis 8:3, “the waters returned from off the earth continually,” is literally, “returned to go and to return,” i.e. returned increasingly, or more and more. Grew more and more tempestuous, R. V.Verses 11-16. - § 3. On hearing. Jonah's confession, the sailors appeal to him, as a worshipper of Jehovah, to tell them what to do to him that the storm may cease. He bids them cast him into the sea, which, after some demur and after renewed efforts to escape, they proceed to do. Upon this the storm immediately abates. Verse 11. - What shall we do unto thee? They recognize that the tempest was sent as a judgment on account of Jonah's sin; at the same time, believing him to be a prophet of Jehovah, under whose wrath they were suffering, they ask his advice in this emergency; if it was a crime to receive him, what shall they do to him to expiate the offence and to appease the anger of God? That the sea may be calm unto us; literally, may be silent from upon us, so as no longer to bear down upon us (comp. Mark 4:39). Wrought, and was tempestuous; literally, was going and was tempestuous; Septuagint, Ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξήγειρε μᾶλλον κλύδωνα, "The sea was moving and lifting the surge still more;" Vulgate, ibat et intumescebat. That is, according to the Hebrew idiom, "grew more and more tempestuous" (comp. Exodus 19:19; Proverbs 4:18). 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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