Jonah 1:6
So the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, What mean you, O sleeper? arise, call on your God, if so be that God will think on us, that we perish not.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The shipmaster . . .—Literally, the chief of those who work at the rope. Jewish nautical terms are infrequent and therefore obscure. The word mariners, in Jonah 1:5, correctly renders a term which seems, from its use in Ezekiel 27:8; Ezekiel 27:27; Ezekiel 27:29, as well as from its derivation (from salt; comp. the term “old salts”), to denote seafaring men generally. “Those who work the ropes” may be either “steersmen” or “topmen” as contrasted with rowers.

What meanest . . .—Literally, What to thee sleeping? i.e., How canst thou sleep so soundly? The motive of the question was no doubt partly the need of sympathy, as in the case of the disciples (Mark 4:38), partly a belief in the efficacy of the prophet’s prayer. This belief seems to have sprung not solely from superstitious fear lest any deity should be overlooked, but from a vague sense that the God of Israel was pre-eminently great and good. The term used is ha Elohîm, “the God.”

Jonah 1:6. So the ship-master — Who had the conduct of the vessel, and from whose mouth such a reproof was seasonable; came and said to him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? — A just and necessary reproof this. We cannot but pity Jonah, who needed it: as a prophet of the Lord, if he had been in his place, he might have been reproving the king of Nineveh; but, being out of the way of his duty, he himself lies open to the reproof of a sorry ship-master. See how men, by their sin and folly, make themselves mean! Yet we must admire God’s goodness in sending him this seasonable reproof; for it was the first step toward his recovery; as the crowing of the cock was to Peter. “Those that sleep in a storm,” says Henry, “may well be asked what they mean.” Arise, call upon thy God — We are here crying every man to his god, why dost thou not get up and cry to thine? Art thou not equally concerned with the rest, both in the danger dreaded, and in the deliverance desired? If so be that God will think upon us — With pity, care, and favour; that we perish not — That the ship, goods, and men also may not be lost. The word rendered God being in the plural number, and the ship-master, the mariners, and others in the ship being, it appears, idolaters, and knowing nothing of the one living and true God, this clause should undoubtedly be rendered, If so be that the gods will think upon us, &c.1:4-7 God sent a pursuer after Jonah, even a mighty tempest. Sin brings storms and tempests into the soul, into the family, into churches and nations; it is a disquieting, disturbing thing. Having called upon their gods for help, the sailors did what they could to help themselves. Oh that men would be thus wise for their souls, and would be willing to part with that wealth, pleasure, and honour, which they cannot keep without making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, and ruining their souls for ever! Jonah was fast asleep. Sin is stupifying, and we are to take heed lest at any time our hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of it. What do men mean by sleeping on in sin, when the word of God and the convictions of their own consciences, warn them to arise and call on the Lord, if they would escape everlasting misery? Should not we warn each other to awake, to arise, to call upon our God, if so be he will deliver us? The sailors concluded the storm was a messenger of Divine justice sent to some one in that ship. Whatever evil is upon us at any time, there is a cause for it; and each must pray, Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me. The lot fell upon Jonah. God has many ways of bringing to light hidden sins and sinners, and making manifest that folly which was thought to be hid from the eyes of all living.What meanest thou? - or rather, "what aileth thee?" (literally "what is to thee?") The shipmaster speaks of it (as it was) as a sort of disease, that he should be thus asleep in the common peril. "The shipmaster," charged, as he by office was, with the common weal of those on board, would, in the common peril, have one common prayer. It was the prophet's office to call the pagan to prayers and to calling upon God. God reproved the Scribes and Pharisees by the mouth of the children who "cried Hosanna" Matthew 21:15; Jonah by the shipmaster; David by Abigail; 1 Samuel 25:32-34; Naaman by his servants. Now too he reproves worldly priests by the devotion of laymen, sceptic intellect by the simplicity of faith.

If so be that God will think upon us - , (literally "for us") i. e., for good; as David says, Psalm 40:17. "I am poor and needy, the Lord thinketh upon" (literally "for") "me." Their calling upon their own gods had failed them. Perhaps the shipmaster had seen something special about Jonah, his manner, or his prophet's garb. He does not only call Jonah's God, "thy" God, as Darius says to Daniel "thy God" Daniel 6:20, but also "the God," acknowledging the God whom Jonah worshiped, to be "the God." It is not any pagan prayer which he asks Jonah to offer. It is the prayer of the creature in its need to God who can help; but knowing its own ill-desert, and the separation between itself and God, it knows not whether He will help it. So David says Psalm 25:7, "Remember not the sins of my youth nor my transgressions; according to Thy mercy remember Thou me for Thy goodness' sake, O Lord."

"The shipmaster knew from experience, that it was no common storm, that the surges were an infliction borne down from God, and above human skill, and that there was no good in the master's skill. For the state of things needed another Master who ordereth the heavens, and craved the guidance from on high. So then they too left oars, sails, cables, gave their hands rest from rowing, and stretched them to heaven and called on God."

6. call upon thy God—The ancient heathen in dangers called on foreign gods, besides their national ones (compare Ps 107:28). Maurer translates the preceding clause, "What is the reason that thou sleepest?"

think upon us—for good (compare Ge 8:1; Ex 2:25; 3:7, 9; Ps 40:17).

So the ship-master, who had the conduct of the vessel, and from whose mouth such a reproof was seasonable, came to him; missing him, when all the rest were toiled with labour, and had been crying mightily to their false gods, but Jonah appeared not.

What meanest thou, O sleeper? a very decent yet sharp reproof to him: What metal art thou made of? or, What god dost thou fear? or, Art thou deaf to all the menaces of Heaven?

Arise, awake, get up, call upon thy God; pray to that God thou worshippest, as we have already each done, for possibly thy God may be mightier than our gods, and may lay the tempest that lieth so heavily upon us. They had lost their labour seeking to other gods, yet think it advisable that Jonah should try his God too; if so be, &c.: see Joel 2:14; and so Amos 5:15.

Will think upon us, with pity, care, and favour, and do for us in this our strange distress, that we perish not; that ship, goods, and men too, may not be lost. So the shipmaster came to him,.... The master of the vessel, who had the command of it; or the governor of it, as Jarchi; though Josephus (d) distinguishes between the governor and the shipmaster: "the master of the ropers" (e), as it may be rendered; of the sailors, whose business it was to draw the ropes, to loose or gather the sails, at his command: missing him, very probably, he sought after him, and found him in the hold, in the bottom of the ship, on one side of it, fast asleep:

and said unto him, what meanest thou, O sleeper? this is not a time to sleep, when the ship is like to be broke to pieces, all lives lost, and thine own too: thus the prophet, who was sent to rebuke the greatest monarch in the world, is himself rebuked by a shipmaster, and a Heathen man. Such an expostulation as this is proper enough to be used with professors of religion that are gotten in a spiritual sense into a sleepy and drowsy frame of spirit; it being an aggravation of it, especially when the nation they are of, the church of Christ they belong to, and their own persons also, are in danger; see Romans 13:11 Ephesians 5:14;

arise, call upon thy God; the gods of this shipmaster and his men were insufficient to help them; they had ears, but they heard not; nor could they answer them, or relieve them; he is therefore desirous the prophet would pray to his God, though he was unknown to him; or at least it suggests that it would better come him to awake, and be up, and praying to his God, than to lie sleeping there; and the manner in which the words are expressed, without a copulative, show the hurry of his spirit, the ardour of his mind, and the haste he was in to have that done he advises to: every good man has a God to pray unto, a covenant God and Father, and who is a prayer hearing God; is able to help in time of need, and willing to do it; and it is the duty and interest of such to call upon him in a time of trouble; yea, they should arise and stir up themselves to this service; and it may be observed, that the best of men may sometimes be in such a condition and circumstances as to need to be stirred up to it by others; see Luke 22:46;

if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not; the supreme God; for the gods they had prayed to they looked upon as mediators with the true God they knew not. The shipmaster saw, that, to all human probability, they were all lost men, just ready to perish; that if they were saved, (as who knew but they might, upon Jonah's praying to his God?) it must be owing to the kind thoughts of God towards them; to the serenity of his countenance, and gracious acceptance of prayer, and his being propitious and merciful through that means; all which seems to be the import of the word used: so the saving of sinners in a lost and perishing condition, in which all men are, though all are not sensible of it, is owing to God's thoughts of peace, to his good will, free favour, and rich grace in Christ Jesus, and through him, as the propitiatory sacrifice. The Targum is,

"if so be mercy may be granted from the Lord, and we perish not.''

(d) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 2.) (e) "magister funalis", Munster; "magister funiculaiorum", so some in ;Mercer; "magister funis", Calvin.

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy {h} God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

(h) As they had called on their idols, which declares that idolaters have no rest nor certainty, but in their troubles seek what they do not even know.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. the shipmaster] Lit., the chief of the sailors, i. e. the captain. The word here for sailors (which is singular and used collectively) is not the same word as that rendered mariners in Jonah 1:5. It is formed from the Hebrew word for a rope, and means properly those who handle the ropes. Both words occur again (and it is the only other place in the O.T. where either of them is found) in the description of the maritime greatness of Tyre in Ezekiel 27. The word used in this verse is there rendered in Ezekiel 27:8; Ezekiel 27:27; Ezekiel 27:29, pilots, and the mention of their wisdom in Jonah 1:8 has been thought to justify this distinction. It should be observed, however, that the contrast there is between mere rowers (for so, and not mariners, the other word in that verse should be rendered) who were hired from Sidon and Arvad, and skilled sailors, who were the product of Tyre herself. The word rendered mariners in Jonah 1:5 of this chapter and in Ezekiel 27:9; Ezekiel 27:27; Ezekiel 27:29, appears to be a more general word, including all seafaring persons. The Hebrews, not being a maritime nation, make but little use of nautical terms. We have in addition to the words just mentioned the expressions, “shipmen that had knowledge of the sea” (lit., “men of ships, knowing the sea”), 1 Kings 9:27 (comp. 2 Chronicles 8:18); “They that go down to the sea in ships,” Psalm 107:23, or simply, “They that go down to the sea,” Isaiah 42:10.

What meanest thou, O sleeper?] Lit., What (is there) to thee, sleeping? i.e. What reason hast thou for sleeping? The A.V. and R. V. apparently take the participle “sleeping” as a vocative, “O sleeper?” What meanest thou by sleeping! would perhaps be the best translation. It is an exclamation of indignant surprise at the unreasonableness of Jonah’s conduct. The word for sleep here and in Jonah 1:5 means heavy or deep sleep, such as Adam’s (Genesis 2:21), or Sisera’s (Jdg 4:21). LXX. τί σὺ ῥέγχεις;

God] This abstract use of the word (lit., “the God”) immediately after “thy God” in this verse, and the mention in Jonah 1:6 that the mariners “cried every man unto his god,” is remarkable. It would seem to imply, as Calvin argues, that behind and above the many gods whom the heathen invented for themselves, they retained the idea, vague perhaps and indistinct for the most part, but starting into prominence in times of danger and distress such as this, of one supreme God by whose providence the world is governed, and in whose hand are the life and safety of all men.

will think upon us] Some would render, “will brighten, or shine upon us,” i.e. will be propitious or favourable to us; but there seems no reason to depart from the A.V., which the R.V. retains.Verse 6. - The shipmaster; literally, the chief of the ropemen; Vulgate, gubernator; Septuagint, ὁ πρωρεύς, "the look out man." The captain. What meanest thou, O sleeper? How canst thou sleep so soundly when our danger is so imminent? If thou canst help us in no other way, at least ask the aid of Heaven. It was the duty of a prophet of the Lord to take the lead in prayer; but here the prophet's stupor is rebuked by the heathen's faith. Call upon thy God. The sailors' prayers had not been answered, and they arouse Jonah, noting something special about him, perhaps his prophet's dress, or observing that he was an Israelite, and therefore a worshipper of Jehovah, of whose power they had heard. If so be that God will think upon us. They use the word "God" with the article, ha Eiohim, as if they had, in spite of their Polytheism, a dim notion of one supreme Deity. Vulgate, Si forte recogitet Deus de nobis; Septuagint, ὅπως διασώση ὁ Θεὸς ἡμᾶς, "that God may save us." From the apparent use, of the Hebrew word (ashath) in Jeremiah 5:28 in the sense of "shining," some translate here, "if perchance God will shine upon us," i.e. be favourable to us. But the meaning given in the Anglican Version is best supported. So the psalmist says, "The Lord thinketh upon me" (Psalm 40:17), implying that God succours and defends him. And if this daring contempt of the commandments of God was highly reprehensible even in itself, it became perfectly inexcusable if we bear in mind that Israel was indebted to the Lord its God for its elevation into an independent nation, and also for its sacred calling. For this reason, the prophet reminds the people of the manifestations of grace which it had received from its God (Amos 2:9-11). Amos 2:9. "And yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and who was strong as the oaks; and I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. Amos 2:10. And yet I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years in the desert, to take possession of the land of the Amorite." The repeated ואנכי is used with peculiar emphasis, and serves to bring out the contrast between the conduct of the Israelites towards the Lord, and the fidelity of the Lord towards Israel. Of the two manifestations of divine grace to which Israel owed its existence as an independent nation, Amos mentions first of all the destruction of the former inhabitants of Canaan (Exodus 23:27., Exodus 34:11); and secondly, what was earlier in point of time, namely, the deliverance out of Egypt and guidance through the Arabian desert; not because the former act of God was greater than the latter, but in order to place first what the Lord had done for the nation, that he may be able to append to this what He still continues to do (Amos 2:11). The nations destroyed before Israel are called Amorites, from the most powerful of the Canaanitish tribes, as in Genesis 15:16; Joshua 24:15, etc. To show, however, that Israel was not able to destroy this people by its own strength, but that Jehovah the Almighty God alone could accomplish this, he proceeds to transfer to the whole nation what the Israelitish spies reported as to their size, more especially as to the size of particular giants (Numbers 13:32-33), and describes the Amorites as giants as lofty as trees and as strong as trees, and, continuing the same figure, depicts their utter destruction or extermination as the destruction of their fruit and of their roots. For this figure of speech, in which the posterity of a nation is regarded as its fruit, and the kernel of the nation out of which it springs as the root, see Ezekiel 17:9; Hosea 9:16; Job 18:16. These two manifestations of divine mercy Moses impressed more than once upon the hearts of the people in his last addresses, to urge them in consequence to hold fast to the divine commandments and to the love of God (cf. Deuteronomy 8:2., Deuteronomy 9:1-6; Deuteronomy 29:1-8).
Links
Jonah 1:6 Interlinear
Jonah 1:6 Parallel Texts


Jonah 1:6 NIV
Jonah 1:6 NLT
Jonah 1:6 ESV
Jonah 1:6 NASB
Jonah 1:6 KJV

Jonah 1:6 Bible Apps
Jonah 1:6 Parallel
Jonah 1:6 Biblia Paralela
Jonah 1:6 Chinese Bible
Jonah 1:6 French Bible
Jonah 1:6 German Bible

Bible Hub






Jonah 1:5
Top of Page
Top of Page