Jonah 2:6
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet have you brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
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(6) Bottoms of the mountains.—Literally, ends or cuttings off, as, in margin. So the Vulg. extrema montium. Mountains were in the Hebrew conception the pillars of the world (see Job 9:6; Job 26:11), having their foundations firmly planted in the sea. These “hidden bases of the hills” were therefore the verge of the earth itself, and one lost among them would be close on the under-world of death.

The earth with her bars . . .—Literally, the earth her bars behind me for ever; i.e., the earth’s gates were closed upon me for ever, there was no possibility of return. The metaphor of a gateway to sheôl is common (Isaiah 38:10, &c.), but the earth is nowhere else said to be so guarded. Ewald therefore proposes to read sheôl here. But it is quite as natural to imagine a guarded passage out of the land of the living as into the land of the dead.

Corruption.—Rather, pit. (See Note, Psalm 16:10.)

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 went down to the bottoms, (literally "the cuttings off") of the mountains - , the "roots" as the Chaldee and we call them, the hidden rocks, which the mountains push out, as it were, into the sea, and in which they end. Such hidden rocks extend along the whole length of that coast. These were his dungeon walls; "the earth, her bars," those long submarine reefs of rock, his prison bars, "were around" him "forever:" the seaweeds were his chains: and, even thus, when things were at their uttermost, "Thou hast brought up my life from corruption," to which his body would have fallen a prey, had not God sent the fish to deliver him. The deliverance for which be thanks God is altogether past: "Thou broughtest me up." He calls "the" Lord, "my" God, because, being the God of all, He was especially his God, for whom He had done things of such marvelous love. God loves each soul which He has made with the same infinite love with which He loves all. Whence Paul says of Jesus Galatians 2:20, "Who loved me and gave Himself for me." He loves each, with the same undivided love, as if he had created none besides; and He allows each to say, "My God," as if the Infinite God belonged wholly to each. So would He teach us the oneness of Union between the soul which God loves and which admits His love, and Himself. 6. bottoms of … mountains—their extremities where they terminate in the hidden depths of the sea. Compare Ps 18:7, "the foundations of the hills" (Ps 18:15).

earth with her bars was about me—Earth, the land of the living, is (not "was") shut against me.

for ever—so far as any effort of mine can deliver me.

yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption—rather, "Thou bringest … from the pit" [Maurer]. As in the previous clauses he expresses the hopelessness of his state, so in this, his sure hope of deliverance through Jehovah's infinite resources. "Against hope he believes in hope," and speaks as if the deliverance were actually being accomplished. Hezekiah seems to have incorporated Jonah's very words in his prayer (Isa 38:17), just as Jonah appropriated the language of the Psalms.

I went down, the fish carried him down,

to the bottoms of the mountains; as deep in the sea as are the bottoms of the mountains, or into those depths out of which might be supposed that mountains were thence drawn out by the roots; an elegant description of fathomless depths, whirlpools of the seas.

The earth with her bars was about me for ever; I seemed to be imprisoned where the bars that secured me were as great and durable as the rocks which they were made of.

Yet, notwithstanding all these insuperable difficulties, and my own fears,

hast thou brought up; by what was first my danger thou hast wonderfully secured me, what I thought should have been my grave was made a safety to me; by the fish Jonah is in due time fairly and safely set on shore.

My life; his life of nature; his life of comfort, and peace, and joy too.

From corruption, or the pit; a description of the stale of the dead, whose bodies turn to putrefaction and stench.

O Lord; O almighty and eternal Being, Lord and Sovereign over all.

My God; mine, saith Jonah, by particular choice, faith, and hope, whom I had served and should not have disobeyed, to whom I prayed, who hath pardoned, whom I will adore, obey, and love for ever. I went down to the bottom of the mountains,.... Which are in the midst of the sea, whither the fish carried him, and where the waters are deep; or the bottom of rocks and promontories on the shore of the sea; and such vast rocks hanging over the sea, whose bottoms were in it, it seems are on the shore of Joppa, near to which Jonah was cast into the sea, as Egesippus (f) relates:

the earth with her bars was about me for ever; that is, the earth with its cliffs and rocks on the seashore, which are as bars to the sea, that it cannot overflow it; these were such bars to Jonah, that could he have got clear of the fish's belly, and attempted to swim to shore, he could never get to it, or over these bars, the rocks and cliffs, which were so steep and high:

yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God; notwithstanding these difficulties, which were insuperable by human power, and these seeming impossibilities of, deliverance; yet the Lord brought him out of the fish's belly, as out of a grave, the pit of corruption, and where he must otherwise have lain and rotted, and freed his soul from those terrors which would have destroyed him; and by this also we learn, that this form of words was composed after he came to dry land: herein likewise he was a type of Christ, who, though laid in the grave, was not left there so long as to see corruption, Psalm 16:10.

(f) "De excidio", Urb. Hieros. l. 3. c. 20.

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my {d} life from corruption, O LORD my God.

(d) You have delivered me from the belly of the fish and all these dangers, as it were raising me from death to life.

6. bottoms] Lit., as in margin, “cuttings off,” the mountains being poetically conceived of as stretching away their roots or ridges to the lowest depths of the sea, and there ending or being cut off.

her bars] Lit., (as for) the earth, her bars, &c. The idea is that the gates of the earth were not only closed, but barred and made fast upon him, shutting him into the unseen world. The same word is used of Samson carrying away the gates of Gaza, “bar and all,” i. e. probably a wooden beam used to hold fast the gates when they were closed. Jdg 16:3. Comp. “Let not the pit shut her mouth upon me,” Psalm 69:15.

from corruption] Rather, from the pit. R. V.Verse 6. - The bottoms of the mountains; literally, the cuttings off, where the mountains seem to be cut off by the ocean floor; the roots of the mountains. Αἰς σχισμὰς ὀρέων, "the clefts of the mountains" (Sop-tuagint); Psalm 18:15. The earth with her bars; as for the earth, her bars were about me; return to it was shut out for me; the gate by which I might return was locked behind me. He adds, forever, as it was to all appearance, because he had no power in himself of returning to earth and life. Yet; in spite of all, I am preserved. From corruption (shachath); as Job 17:14; de corruptione (Vulgate); so the Chaldee and Syriac; Septuagint, Ἀναβήτω ἐκ φθορᾶς ἡ ζωή μου (Alex.), Ἀναβήτω φθορὰ ζωῆς μου (Vatican), "Let my life arise from destruction;" or, "Let the destruction of my life [i.e. my destroyed life] arise." Jerome refers the word to the digestive process in the fish's stomach; it is probably merely a synonym for "death." The marginal rendering, "the pit," i.e. Sheol, is also etymologically correct (comp. Psalm 30:3). My God. He thankfully acknowledges that Jehovah has proved himself a beneficent God to him. Amos has thus vindicated his own calling, and the right of all the prophets, to announce to the people the judgments of God; and now (Amos 3:9-15) he is able to proclaim without reserve what the Lord has resolved to do upon sinful Israel. Amos 3:9. "Make it heard over the palaces in Ashdod, and over the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumult in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the heart thereof. Amos 3:10. And they know not to do the right, is the saying of Jehovah, who heap up violence and devastation in their palaces." The speaker is Jehovah (Amos 3:10), and the prophets are addressed. Jehovah summons them to send out the cry over the palaces in Ashdod and Egypt (על as in Hosea 8:1), and to call the inhabitants of these palaces to hear, (1) that they may see the acts of violence, and the abominations in the palaces of Samaria; and (2) that they may be able to bear witness against Israel (Amos 3:13). This turn in the prophecy brings out to view the overflowing excess of the sins and abominations of Israel. The call of the prophets, however, is not to be uttered upon the palaces, so as to be heard far and wide (Baur and others), but over the palaces, to cause the inhabitants of them to draw near. It is they alone, and not the whole population of Ashdod and Egypt, who are to be called nigh; because only the inhabitants of the palace could pronounce a correct sentence as to the mode of life commonly adopted in the palaces of Samaria. Ashdod, one of the Philistian capitals, is mentioned by way of example, as a chief city of the uncircumcised, who were regarded by Israel as godless heathen; and Egypt is mentioned along with it, as the nation whose unrighteousness and ungodliness had once been experienced by Israel to satiety. If therefore such heathen as these are called to behold the unrighteous and dissolute conduct to be seen in the palaces, it must have been great indeed. The mountains of Samaria are not the mountains of the kingdom of Samaria, or the mountains upon which the city of Samaria was situated - for Samaria was not built upon a plurality of mountains, but upon one only (Amos 4:1; Amos 6:1) - but the mountains round about Samaria, from which you could look into the city, built upon one isolated hill. The city, built upon the hill of Semer, was situated in a mountain caldron or basin, about two yours in diameter, which was surrounded on all sides by lofty mountains (see at 1 Kings 16:24).

(Note: "As the mountains round the hill of Semer are loftier than this hill itself, the enemy might easily discover the internal state of besieged Samaria." V. de Velde, R. i. p. 282.)

Mehūmâh, noise, tumult, denotes a state of confusion, in which everything is topsy-turvy, and all justice and order are overthrown by open violence (Maurer, Baur). ‛Ashūqı̄m, either the oppressed, or, taken as an abstract, the oppression of the poor (cf. Amos 2:6). In Amos 3:10 the description is continued in the finite verb: they do not know how to do right; that is to say, injustice has become their nature; and they who heap up sins and violence in their palaces like treasures.

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