Jonah 2:4
Then I said, I am cast out of your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.
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(4) I am cast out of thy sight.—“Jonah had wilfully withdrawn from standing in God’s presence. Now God had taken him at his word, and, as it seemed, cast him out of it. David had said in his haste, “I am cut off” (Psalm 31:22), Jonah substitutes the stronger word, “I am cast forth,” driven forth, expelled like the mire and dirt which the waves drive along, or like the waves themselves in their restless motion, or the heathen (the word is the same) whom God had driven out before Israel, or as Adam from Paradise” (Pusey).

Yet I will look again.—The Hebrew is very impressive, and reads like one of those exile hopes so common in the Psalms: “Yet I have one thing left, to turn towards Thy holy Temple and pray.” (For the attitude see Note on Psalm 28:2.)

Jonah 2:4-7. Then I said, I am cast out, &c. — “My first apprehensions were, that as I had justly forfeited thy favour by my disobedience, so thou wouldest cast me out of thy protection; yet, upon recollecting myself, I thought it my duty not to despair of thy mercy, but direct my prayer toward thy heavenly habitation.” — Lowth. The waters compassed me even to the soul — Or life; that is, to the extreme hazard of my life; and I thought of nothing more than losing my life among the waves. I went, &c. — I went down to the bottom of the sea, where the foundations of the mountains lie. Or, the fish carried me down as deep in the sea as are the bottoms of the mountains. The earth with her bars was about me — I found myself enclosed on every side, without any way for escape; and should have been enclosed for ever, had not thy power interposed. Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption — But, notwithstanding it was involved in all these terrible circumstances, which seemed to preclude all possibility of its being preserved, yet thou, O my God, by thy power didst save my life from destruction. When my soul fainted within me — When I seemed just expiring, and lost all hopes of being preserved; I remembered the Lord — I thought of thy almighty power and boundless mercy, O Jehovah, who causest to be whatsoever thou willest; and my prayer came in unto thee — And therefore I addressed my prayer to thee, as being persuaded that thou couldest still preserve me, even in the most extreme dangers; and my faith was not disappointed; for I found, by the event, that thou couldest deliver me, as I believed thou wast able to do.2:1-9 Observe when Jonah prayed. When he was in trouble, under the tokens of God's displeasure against him for sin: when we are in affliction we must pray. Being kept alive by miracle, he prayed. A sense of God's good-will to us, notwithstanding our offences, opens the lips in prayer, which were closed with the dread of wrath. Also, where he prayed; in the belly of the fish. No place is amiss for prayer. Men may shut us from communion with one another, but not from communion with God. To whom he prayed; to the Lord his God. This encourages even backsliders to return. What his prayer was. This seems to relate his experience and reflections, then and afterwards, rather than to be the form or substance of his prayer. Jonah reflects on the earnestness of his prayer, and God's readiness to hear and answer. If we would get good by our troubles, we must notice the hand of God in them. He had wickedly fled from the presence of the Lord, who might justly take his Holy Spirit from him, never to visit him more. Those only are miserable, whom God will no longer own and favour. But though he was perplexed, yet not in despair. Jonah reflects on the favour of God to him, when he sought to God, and trusted in him in his distress. He warns others, and tells them to keep close to God. Those who forsake their own duty, forsake their own mercy; those who run away from the work of their place and day, run away from the comfort of it. As far as a believer copies those who observe lying vanities, he forsakes his own mercy, and lives below his privileges. But Jonah's experience encourages others, in all ages, to trust in God, as the God of salvation.I am cast out of Thy sight - , literally, "from before Thine eyes." Jonah had willfully withdrawn from standing in God's presence. Now God had taken him at his word, and, as it seemed, cast him out of it. David had said in his haste, "I am cut off." Jonah substitutes the stronger word, "I am cast forth," driven forth, expelled, like the "mire and dirt" Isaiah 57:20 which the waves drive along, or like the waves themselves in their restless motion Isaiah 57:20, or the pagan (the word is the same) whom God had driven out before Israel (Exodus 34:11, and the Piel often), or as Adam from Paradise Genesis 3:24.

Yet (Only) I will look again - He was, as it were, a castaway, cast out of God's sight, unheeded by Him, his prayers unheard; the storm unabated, until he was cast forth. He could no longer look with the physical eye even toward the land where God showed the marvels of His mercy, and the temple where God was worshiped continually. Yet what he could not do in the body, he would do in his soul. This was his only resource. "If I am cast away, this one thing will I do, I will still look to God." Magnificent faith! Humanly speaking, all hope was gone, for, when that huge vessel could scarcely live in the sea, how should a man? When God had given it no rest, while it contained Jonah, how should tie will that Jonah should escape? Nay, God had hidden His Face from him; yet he did this one, this only thing only this, "once more, still I will add to look to God." Thitherward would he look, so long as his mind yet remained in him.

If his soul parted from him, it should go forth from him in that gaze. God gave him no hope, save that He preserved him alive. For he seemed to himself forsaken of God. Wonderful pattern of faith which gains strength even from God's seeming desertion! "I am cast vehemently forth from before Thine eyes; yet this one thing will I do; mine eyes shrill be unto Thee, O Lord." The Israelites, as we see from Solomon's dedication prayer, "prayed toward the temple," (1 Kings 8:29-30, 1 Kings 8:35 ff) where God had set His Name and shown His glory, where were the sacrifices which foreshadowed the great atonement. Thitherward they looked in prayer, as Christians, of old, prayed toward the East, the seat of our ancient Paradise. where our Lord "shall appear unto them that look for Him, a second time unto salvation." Hebrews 9:28. Toward that temple then he would yet look with fixed eye for help, where God, Who fills heaven and earth, showed Himself to sinners reconciled.

4. cast out from thy sight—that is, from Thy favorable regard. A just retribution on one who had fled "from the presence of the Lord" (Jon 1:3). Now that he has got his desire, he feels it to be his bitterest sorrow to be deprived of God's presence, which once he regarded as a burden, and from which he desired to escape. He had turned his back on God; so God turned His back on him, making his sin his punishment.

toward thy holy temple—In the confidence of faith he anticipates yet to see the temple at Jerusalem, the appointed place of worship (1Ki 8:38), and there to render thanksgiving [Henderson]. Rather, I think, "Though cast out of Thy sight, I will still with the eye of faith once more look in prayer towards Thy temple at Jerusalem, whither, as Thy earthly throne, Thou hast desired Thy worshippers to direct their prayers."

Then: though this word with us ordinarily denoteth time, yet here it denoteth order and connexion; the Hebrew is And. I said, with myself, I thought in the midst of my fears and sufferings.

I am cast out of thy sight; cut off from all hope of life among men; rejected, forsaken, and as it were forgotten of my God, and left by this death to pass to a worse death. Thus he was racked with sense of present danger from God’s displeasure, and. is almost carried away with a despair of ever seeing the face of God again with comfort. much as Psalm 31:22 Lamentations 4:22.

Yet I will look again: his faith begins to recover itself; he will not, as despairing ones, any more look toward lost hopes, but with reviving hope he will hope against hope, and never yield to such despairs.

Towards thy holy temple; where the ark of the covenant, where the mercy-seat, where propitiatory sacrifices are offered, where is God’s high priest, types of the great Redeemer, Mediator, and Saviour, by whom sin is expiated, sinners pardoned, grace and favour communicated, where God commands the blessing, life for evermore; he will look and hope to appear in the material typical temple, and to find there grace dispositive for, as well as significative of, glory in the heavenly temple; he hopes for both. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight,.... Or, "from before thine eyes" (d); the Targum, from before thy Word; as David also said in his distress, Psalm 31:22; not but that he knew he was in the reach and under the eye of his omniscience, which saw him in the fish's belly, in the depths of the sea, for nothing can hide from that; but he thought he was no longer under the eye of his providence; and that he would no more care for him, but leave him in this forlorn condition, and not deliver him; and especially he concluded that he would no more look upon him with an eye of love, grace, and mercy, pity and compassion: these are the words of one in despair, or near unto it; and yet a beam of light, a ray of hope, breaks in, and a holy resolution is formed, as follows:

yet I will look again toward thy holy temple; not the temple at Jerusalem, towards which men used to look when they prayed, being at a distance from it, 1 Kings 8:29; though there may be an allusion to such a practice; for it can hardly be thought that Jonah, in the fish's belly, could tell which way the temple stood; and look towards that; but he looked upwards and heavenwards; he looked up to God in his holy temple in heaven; and though he was afraid he would not look down upon him in a way of grace and mercy, he was resolved to look up to God in the way of prayer and supplication; and particularly, for the further encouragement of his faith and hope, he looked to the Messiah, the antitype of the temple, ark, and mercy seat, and for whose sake he might hope his prayers would be heard and answered.

(d) "e regione oculorum tuorum", Montanus, Piscator; "a coram oculis tuis", Drusius, Burkius.

Then I said, I am {c} cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

(c) This declared what his prayer was, and how he laboured between hope and despair, considering the neglect of his vocation, and God's judgments for it: but yet in the end faith gained the victory.

4. Then I said, &c.] The first clause of this verse may, perhaps, be a reminiscence of the first clause of Psalm 31:22 (Heb. 23), though there the words “in my haste” are added, and a different verb (“cut off” instead of “cast out”) is used. “Jonah substitutes the stronger word, I am cast forth, driven forth, expelled, like the mire and dirt (Isaiah 57:20), which the waves drive along, or like the waves themselves in their restless motion (ib.), or the heathen (the word is the same) whom God had driven out before Israel (Exodus 34:11), or as Adam from Paradise. (Genesis 3:24.)”—Pusey.

thy holy temple] Not the heavenly temple or dwelling-place of God, but the literal temple. This is not, however, an expression of Jonah’s confident belief that, outcast as he now seemed to be, he would certainly be delivered, and visit again, and behold once more with his bodily eyes the temple on Mount Sion. It is the then present thought and resolution with which, when he said “I am cast out of Thy sight,” he corrected and overcame his unbelieving despondency. “One thing is left me still, one resource is still open to me, I will still pray, I will look (mentally) yet again towards Thy holy temple.” The phrase “to look towards the temple,” denoting prayer, has its origin in the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. See 1 Kings 8:29-30; 1 Kings 8:48, and comp. Daniel 6:10. The fact that Jonah was a prophet of the Northern Kingdom is no valid objection to this view. The Temple on Mount Sion was the only centre of the true worship of Jehovah, and was recognised as such by all faithful Israelites. But it would be enough to say with Calvin, “He had been circumcised, he had been a worshipper of God from his youth, he had been educated in the Law, he had been a constant participator in the sacrifies: under the name of the Temple he briefly comprehends all these things.”Verse 4. - Jonah confesses that he at first fully expected death; but faith and hope soon triumphed over despondency. I am cast out of thy sight. This was his thought when what is mentioned in ver. 3 happened unto him. The words are a reminiscence of Psalm 31:22, altered somewhat to suit Jonah's circumstances. The psalmist says, "I said in my haste." Jonah says simply, "I said," without any limitation; and for "I am cut off," Jonah uses, "I am cast out." Septuagint, ἀπῶσμαι - a strong term, implying banishment with violence. Out of thy sight; literally, frown before thine eyes; i.e. from thy protecting care (comp. 1 Samuel 26:24; 1 Kings 8:29). He who had fled from the presence of the Lord in Canaan fears that he has forfeited the favour of God. Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. I will turn in prayer to that holy place where thou dost manifest thy presence. The Jews were wont to turn towards Jerusalem when they prayed (comp. 1 Kings 8:30, etc.; Daniel 6:10; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 28:2). Some think that Jonah expresses a hope of worshipping again in the temple; but the turn of expression in the text hardly warrants this. Others refer the term to the heavenly temple, as they do in ver. 7; Psalm 11:4; Psalm 18:6. But this truth met with contradiction in the nation itself. The proud self-secure sinners would not hear such prophesying as this (compare Amos 2:4; Amos 7:10.). Amos therefore endeavours, before making any further announcement of the judgment of God, to establish his right and duty to prophesy, by a chain-like series of similes drawn from life. V. 3. "Do two walk together without having agreed? Amos 3:4. Does the lion roar in the forest, and he has no prey? does the young lion utter his cry out of his den, without having taken anything? Amos 3:5. Does the bird fall into the trap on the ground, when there is no snare for him? does the trap rise up from the earth without making a capture? Amos 3:6. Or is the trumpet blown in the city, and the people are not alarmed? or does misfortune happen in the city, and Jehovah has not done it? Amos 3:7. For the Lord Jehovah does nothing at all, without having revealed His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:8. The lion has roared; who does not fear? the Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who must not prophesy?" The contents of these verses are not to be reduced to the general thought, that a prophet could no more speak without a divine impulse than any other effect could take place without a cause. There was certainly no need for a long series of examples, such as we have in Amos 3:3-6, to substantiate or illustrate the thought, which a reflecting hearer would hardly have disputed, that there was a connection between cause and effect. The examples are evidently selected with the view of showing that the utterances of the prophet originate with God. This is obvious enough in Amos 3:7, Amos 3:8. The first clause, "Do two men walk together, without having agreed as to their meeting?" (nō‛Ad, to betake one's self to a place, to meet together at an appointed place or an appointed time; compare Job 2:11; Joshua 11:5; Nehemiah 6:2; not merely to agree together), contains something more than the trivial truth, that two persons do not take a walk together without a previous arrangement. The two who walk together are Jehovah and the prophet (Cyril); not Jehovah and the nation, to which the judgment is predicted (Cocceius, Marck, and others). Amos went as prophet to Samaria or Bethel, because the Lord had sent him thither to preach judgment to the sinful kingdom. But God would not threaten judgment if He had not a nation ripe for judgment before Him. The lion which roars when it has the prey before it is Jehovah (cf. Amos 1:2; Hosea 11:10, etc.). טרף אין לו is not to be interpreted according to the second clause, as signifying "without having got possession of its prey" (Hitzig), for the lion is accustomed to roar when it has the prey before it and there is no possibility of its escape, and before it actually seizes it (cf. Isaiah 5:29).

(Note: The most terrible feature in the roaring of a lion is that with this clarigatio, or, if you prefer it, with this classicum, it declares war. And after the roar there immediately follows both slaughter and laceration. For, as a rule, it only roars with that sharp roar when it has the prey in sight, upon which it immediately springs (Bochart, Hieroz. ii. 25ff., ed. Ros.).)

On the contrary, the perfect lâkjad in the second clause is to be interpreted according to the first clause, not as relating to the roar of satisfaction with which the lion devours the prey in its den (Baur), but as a perfect used to describe a thing which was as certain as if it had already occurred. A lion has made a capture not merely when it has actually seized the prey and torn it in pieces, but when the prey has approached so near that it cannot possibly escape. Kephı̄r is the young lion which already goes in pursuit of prey, and is to be distinguished from the young of the lion, gūr (catulus leonis), which cannot yet go in search of prey (cf. Ezekiel 19:2-3). The two similes have the same meaning. The second strengthens the first by the assertion that God not only has before Him the nation that is ripe for judgment, but that He has it in His power.

The similes in Amos 3:5 do not affirm the same as those in Amos 3:4, but contain the new thought, that Israel has deserved the destruction which threatens it. Pach, a snare, and mōqēsh, a trap, are frequently used synonymously; but here they are distinguished, pach denoting a bird-net, and mōqēsh a springe, a snare which holds the bird fast. The earlier translators have taken mōqēsh in the sense of yōqēsh, and understand it as referring to the bird-catcher; and Baur proposes to alter the text accordingly. But there is no necessity for this; and it is evidently unsuitable, since it is not requisite for a bird-catcher to be at hand, in order that the bird should be taken in a snare. The suffix lâh refers to tsippōr, and the thought is this: in order to catch a bird in the net, a springe (gin) must be laid for it. So far as the fact itself is concerned, mōqēsh is "evidently that which is necessarily followed by falling into the net; and in this instance it is sinfulness" (Hitzig); so that the meaning of the figure would be this: "Can destruction possibly overtake you, unless your sin draws you into it?" (cf. Jeremiah 2:35). In the second clause pach is the subject, and ועלה is used for the ascent or springing up of the net. Hitzig has given the meaning of the words correctly: "As the net does not spring up without catching the bird, that has sent it up by flying upon it, can ye imagine that when the destruction passes by, ye will not be seized by it, but will escape without injury?" (cf. Isaiah 28:15). Jehovah, however, causes the evil to be foretold. As the trumpet, when blown in the city, frightens the people out of their self-security, so will the voice of the prophet, who proclaims the coming evil, excite a salutary alarm in the nation (cf. Ezekiel 33:1-5). For the calamity which is bursting upon the city comes from Jehovah, is sent by Him as a punishment. This thought is explained in Amos 3:7, Amos 3:8, and with this explanation the whole series of figurative sentences is made perfectly clear. The approaching evil, which comes from the Lord, is predicted by the prophet, because Jehovah does not carry out His purpose without having (כּי אם, for when, except when he has, as in Genesis 32:27) first of all revealed it to the prophets, that they may warn the people to repent and to reform. Sōd receives a more precise definition from the first clause of the verse, or a limitation to the purposes which God is about to fulfil upon His people. And since (this is the connection of Amos 3:8) the judgment with which the Lord is drawing near fills every one with fear, and Jehovah has spoken, i.e., has made known His counsel to the prophets, they cannot but prophesy.

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