And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Jonah 2:10. And the Lord — This should rather have been rendered, For the Lord; because what follows was not done after the preceding thanksgiving, but before it; and it is mentioned here only to show the cause or subject of the thanksgiving. The Lord spake unto the fish, &c. — God’s almighty power is represented in Scripture as bringing things to pass by his bare will and command: see Genesis 1:3. He willed that the fish should cast Jonah up on the dry land, and the fish did so. Various are the traditions of the Orientals respecting the place where Jonah was disembogued; but, as Calmet well observes, amidst such doubt and obscurity, the best part is absolute silence, and the sincere declaration that the matter is entirely unknown. “The fame of Jonah’s deliverance appears to have spread among the heathen nations; and the Greeks, who were accustomed to adore the memory of their heroes by every remarkable event and embellishment which they could appropriate, added to the fictitious adventures of Hercules, that of his having continued three days, without injury, in the belly of a dog, sent against him by Neptune.” — Gray’s Key. Huetius (Demonst. Evang., Prop. 4) supposes that Jonah’s deliverance from the whale’s belly gave occasion to the Greek story of Arion, who, after he was cast into the sea, was conveyed by a dolphin to the port of Corinth. Psalm 148:8. Wind and storm fulfill His word. The irrational creatures have wills. God had commanded the prophet, and he disobeyed. God, in some way, commanded the fish. He laid His will upon it, and the fish immediately obeyed; a pattern to the prophet when He released him. "God's will, that anything should be completed, is law and fulfillment and hath the power of law. Not that Almighty God commanded the fish, as He does us or the holy angels, uttering in its mind what is to be done, or inserting into the heart the knowledge of what He chooseth. But if He be said to command irrational animals or elements or any part of the creation, this signifieth the law and command of His will. For all things yield to His will, and the mode of their obedience is to us altogether ineffable, but known to Him." "Jonah," says Chrysostom, "fled the land, and fled not the displeasure of God. He fled the land, and brought a tempest on the sea: and not only himself gained no good from flight, but brought into extreme peril those also who took him on board. When he sailed, seated in the vessel, with sailors and pilot and all the tackling, he was in the most extreme peril: when, sunk in the sea, the sin punished and laid aside, he entered that vast vessel, the fish's belly, he enjoyed great fearlessness; that thou mayest learn that, as no ship availeth to one living in sin, so when freed from sin, neither sea destroyeth, nor beasts consume. The waves received him, and choked him not; the vast fish received him and destroyed him not; but both the huge animal and the clement gave back their deposit safe to God, and by all things the prophet learned to be mild and tender, not to be more cruel than the untaught mariners or wild waves or animals.
For the sailors did not give him up at first, but after manifold constraint; and the sea and the wild animal guarded him with much benevolence, God disposing all these things. He returned then, preached, threatened, persuaded, saved, awed, amended, stablished, through that one first preaching. For he needed not many days, nor continuous exhortation; but, speaking these words he brought all to repentance. Wherefore God did not lead him straight from the vessel to the city; but the sailors gave him over to the sea, the sea to the vast fish, the fish to God, God to the Ninevites, and through this long circuit brought back the fugitive; that He might instruct all, that it is impossible to escape the hands of God. For come where a man may, dragging sin after him, he will undergo countless troubles. Though man be not there, nature itself on all sides will oppose him with great vehemence."
"Since the elect too at times strive to be sharp-witted, it is well to bring forward another wise man, and show how the craft of mortal man is comprehended in the Inward Counsels. For Jonah wished to exercise a prudent sharpness of wit, when, being sent to preach repentance to the Ninevites, in that he feared that, if the Gentiles were chosen, Judaea would be forsaken, he refused to discharge the office of preaching. He sought a ship, chose to flee to Tarshish; but immediately a tempest arises, the lot is cast, to know for whose fault the sea was troubled. Jonah is taken in his fault, plunged in the deep, swallowed by the fish, and carried by the vast beast thither whither he set at naught the command to go. See how the tempest found God's runaway, the lot binds him, the sea receives him, the beast encloses him, and, because he sets himself against obeying his Maker, he is carried a culprit by his prison house to the place whither he had been sent.
When God commanded, man would not minister the prophecy; when God enjoined, the beast cast forth the prophet. The Lord then "taketh the wise in their own craftiness," when He bringeth back to the service of His own will, that whereby man's will contradicts Him." "Jonah, fleeing from the perils of preaching and salvation of souls, fell into peril of his own life. When, in the ship, he took on himself the peril of all, he saved both himself and the ship. He fled as a man; he exposed himself to peril, as a prophet" . "Let them think so, who are sent by God or by a superior to preach to heretics or to pagan. When God calleth to an office or condition whose object it is to live for the salvation of others, He gives grace and means necessary or expedient to this end. For so the sweet and careful ordering of His Providence requireth. Greater peril awaiteth us from God our Judge, if we flee His calling as did Jonah, if we use not the talents entrusted to us to do His will and to His glory. We know the parable of the servant who buried the talent, and was condemned by the Lord."
And it vomited out Jonah - Unwilling, but constrained, it cast him forth as a burden to it . "From the lowest depths of death, Life came forth victorious." "He is swallowed by the fish, but is not consumed; and then calls upon God, and (marvel!) on the third day is given back with Christ." "What it prefigured, that that vast animal on the third day gave back alive the prophet which it had swallowed, no need to ask of us, since Christ explained it. As then Jonah passed from the ship into the fish's belly, so Christ from the wood into the tomb or the depth of death. And as he for those imperiled in the tempest, so Christ for those tempest-tossed in this world. And as Jonah was first enjoined to preach to the Ninevites, but the preaching of Jonah did not reach them before the fish cast him forth, so prophecy was sent beforehand to the Gentiles, but did not reach them until after the resurrection of Christ" . "Jonah prophesied of Christ, not so much in words as by a suffering of his own; yet more openly than if he had proclaimed by speech His Death and Resurrection. For why was he received into the fish's belly, and given back the third day, except to signify that Christ would on the third day return from the deep of hell?"
Irenaeus looks upon the history of Jonah as the imaging of man's own history . "As He allowed Jonah to be swallowed by the whale, not that he should perish altogether, but that, being vomited forth, he might the more be subdued to God, and the more glorify God Who had given him such unlooked for deliverance, and bring those Ninevites to solid repentance, converting them to the Lord Who would free them from death, terrified by that sign which befell Jonah (as Scripture says of them, 'They turned every man from his evil way, etc. ...') so from the beginning, God allowed man to be swallowed up by that vast Cetos who was the author of the transgression, not that he should altogether perish but preparing a way of salvation, which, as foresignified by the word in Jonah, was formed for those who had the like faith as to the Lord as Jonah, and with him confessed, "I fear the Lord, etc." that so man, receiving from God unlooked for salvation, might rise from the dead and glorify God, etc. ... This was the longsuffering of God, that man might pass through all, and acknowledge his ways; then, coming to the resurrection and knowing by trial from what he had been delivered, might be forever thankful to God, and, having received from Him the gift of incorruption, might love Him more (for he to whom much is forgiven, loveth much) and know himself, that he is mortal and weak, and understand the Lord, that He is in such wise Mighty and Immortal, that to the mortal He can give immortality and to the things of time eternity."And, or, as the particle is sometimes rendered,
Then, i.e. after Jonah had prayed, and acted his faith, though in the whale’s belly.
The Lord, who made heaven and earth, and commandeth both, who is God of salvation.
Spake; commanded, signified it to be his pleasure; as the same word prepared the fish, and brought it to give attendance to receive the prisoner, so now it doth discharge the keeper, and requires him to set his prisoner at liberty.
Unto the fish: though fishes are destitute of reason, and understand not as man, yet they have ears to hear their Creator, and readily obey.
It vomited out Jonah; it presently obeys the word, it could no longer keep Jonah a prisoner.
On the dry land: the command required this, nor could it be a deliverance without this; had he been cast out of the whale’s belly any where else in the sea he had been drowned, but now that which was his danger shall be his safety, a ship now to land him which before was like to be his grave. The Scripture doth not say where he was thus set on shore, but considering he was to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to them, it is a very obvious conjecture that any man might make, that the whale set Jonah on shore in some place of the Syrian shore nearest to Nineveh; and on view of the charts any indifferent geographer would conjecture that it was some where on the bay or gulf of Lajazzo, anciently the Sinus Issicus, or somewhat near to Alexandette, as the French, or Scanderoon, as the Turks call it, whence, though a long, yet by the maps appears to be the straightest, journey to Nineveh. As for some who conjecture it was on the Euxine Sea, they consider not the strait passage of the Propontis, nor the length of one thousand six hundred miles from Joppa to that part of the Euxine which is next to Nineveh, nor the length and difficulty of the passage thence by land to Nineveh: but he that said Jonah was landed on Nineveh’s shore was much wider out in his guess, and never considered that Nineveh was built on Tigris some hundreds of miles by land from Joppa, and if the fish brought him thither, it was by a compass of many thousand miles, which would require some months to run over, besides that the fish would be too great to swim up the river. Their conjecture biddeth fairest who confine it to some places of the Syrian sea, and not far from Scanderoon.
and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land; not upon the shore of the Red sea, as some; much less upon the shore of Nineveh, which was not built upon the seashore, but upon the river Tigris; and the fish must have carried him all round Africa, and part of Asia, to have brought him to the banks of the Tigris; which could not have been done in three days' time, nor in much greater. Josephus (i) says it was upon the shore of the Euxine sea; but the nearest part of it to Nineveh was one thousand six hundred miles from Tarsus, which the whale, very slow in swimming, cannot be thought to go in three days; besides, no very large fish swim in the Euxine sea, because of the straits of the Propontis, through which they cannot pass, as Bochart (k) from various writers has proved. It is more likely, as others, that it was on the Syrian shore, or in the bay of Issus, now called the gulf of Lajazzo; or near Alexandria, or Alexandretta, now Scanderoon. But why not on the shore of Palestine? and, indeed, why not near the place from whence they sailed? Huetius (l) and others think it probable that this case of Jonah gave rise to the story of Arion, who was cast into the sea by the mariners, took up by a dolphin, and carried to Corinth. Jonah's deliverance was a type of our Lord's resurrection from the dead on the third day, Matthew 12:40; and a pledge of ours; for, after this instance of divine power, why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead?
(h) So is sometimes used, and is so rendered, Psal. lxxviii. 34. Job x. 10. See Noldius, p. 308, 309. (i) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 2.((k) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 5. c. 12. col. 744. (l) Demonstr. Evangel. prop. 4. p. 294.And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 10. - § 2. The fish casts up Jonah alive on the shore Verse 10. - Spake unto the fish. The punishment having done its work, the fish is impelled by some secret influence to eject Jonah on the dry land, on the third day after he was swallowed (Jonah 1:17). Some, who regard the Book of Jonah as an historical allegory, see in these three days an adumbration of the period of the Babylonish captivity, during which Israel was buried in darkness, and from which she rose to a new and happier life. They compare, as referring to the same transaction, Jeremiah 51:34, 44 and Hosea 6:1, 2 (see Dr. O.H.H. Wright, 'Exegetical Studies,' pp. 53, etc.). Upon the dry land. Probably on the coast of Palestine, whence he had started.
Amos 3:13. "Hear ye, and testify it to the house of Jacob, is the utterance of the Lord, Jehovah, the God of hosts: Amos 3:14. That in the day when I visit the transgressions of the house of Israel upon it, I shall visit it upon the altars of Bethel; and the horns of the altar will be cut off, and fall to the ground. Amos 3:15. And I smite the winter-house over the summer-house, and the houses of ivory perish, and many houses vanish, is the saying of Jehovah." The words "Hear ye" cannot be addressed to the Israelites, fore they could not bear witness against the house of Israel, but must either refer to the prophets, as in Amos 3:9 ("publish ye"), or to the heathen, in which case they correspond to "assemble yourselves and behold" in Amos 3:9. The latter assumption is the only correct one, for the context does not assign a sufficient motive for an address to the prophets. On the other hand, as the heathen have been summoned to convince themselves by actual observation of the sins that prevail in Samaria, it is perfectly in keeping that they should now hear what is the punishment that God is about to inflict upon Israel in consequence, and that they should bear witness against Israel from what they have heard. העיד ב, to bear witness towards or against (not "in," as Baur supposes). The house of Jacob is the whole of Israel, of the twelve tribes, as in Amos 3:1; for Judah was also to learn a lesson from the destruction of Samaria. As the appeal to the heathen to bear witness against Israel indicates the greatness of the sins of the Israelites, so, on the other hand, does the accumulation of the names of God in Amos 3:13 serve to strengthen the declaration made by the Lord, who possesses as God of hosts the power to execute His threats. כּי introduces the substance of what is to be heard. The punishment of the sins of Israel is to extend even to the altars of Bethel, the seat of the idolatrous image-worship, the hearth and home of the religious and moral corruption of the ten tribes. The smiting off of the horns of the altar is the destruction of the altars themselves, the significance of which culminated in the horns (see at Exodus 27:2). The singular hammizbēăch (the altar) preceded by a plural is the singular of species (cf. Ges. 108, 1), and does not refer to any particular one - say, for example, to the principal altar. The destruction of the palaces and houses (Amos 3:15) takes place in the capital. In the reference to the winter-house and summer-house, we have to think primarily of the royal palace (cf. Jeremiah 36:22); at the same time, wealthy noblemen may also have had them. על, lit., over, so that the ruins of one house fall upon the top of another; then "together with," as in Genesis 32:12. בּתּי שׁן, ivory houses, houses the rooms of which are decorated by inlaid ivory. Ahab had a palace of this kind (1 Kings 22:39, compare Psalm 45:9). בּתּים רבּים, not the large houses, but many houses; for the description is rounded off with these words. Along with the palaces, many houses will also fall to the ground. The fulfilment took place when Samaria was taken by Shalmanezer (2 Kings 17:5-6).
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