Jonah 2:7
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
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(7) Fainted.—Literally, covered itself. Comp. Jonah 4:8. (See Psalm 61:2; Psalm 142:3; Psalm 143:4, where the same Hebrew word is rendered overwhelmed. Comp. Psalm 107:5.) Here, apparently, we are to think of the blinding mist of death slowly stealing over sight and sense.

Into thine holy temple.—See Jonah 2:4, and comp. Psalm 18:6.

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.When my sold fainted - , literally "was covered, within me," was dizzied, overwhelmed. The word is used of actual faintness from heat, Jonah 4:8. thirst, Amos 8:13. exhaustion, Isaiah 51:20. when a film comes over the eyes, and the brain is, as it were, mantled over. The soul of the pious never is so full of God, as when all things else fade from him. Jonah could not but have remembered God in the tempest; when the lots were east; when he adjudged himself to be east forth. But when it came to the utmost, then he says, "I remembered the Lord," as though, in the intense thought of God then, all his former thought of God had been forgetfulness. So it is in every strong act of faith, of love, of prayer; its former state seems unworthy of the name of faith, love, prayer. It believes, loves, prays, as though all before had been forgetfulness.

And my prayer came in unto Thee - No sooner had he so prayed, than God heard. Jonah had thought himself cast out of His sight; but his prayer entered in there. "His holy temple" is doubtless His actual temple, toward which he prayed. God, Who is wholly everywhere but the whole of Him nowhere, was as much in the temple as in heaven; and He had manifested Himself to Israel in their degree in the temple, as to the blessed saints and angels in heaven.

7. soul fainted … I remembered the Lord—beautifully exemplifying the triumph of spirit over flesh, of faith over sense (Ps 73:26; 42:6). For a time troubles shut out hope; but faith revived when Jonah "remembered the Lord," what a gracious God He is, and how now He still preserves his life and consciousness in his dark prison-house.

into thine holy temple—the temple at Jerusalem (Jon 2:4). As there he looks in believing prayer towards it, so here he regards his prayer as already heard.

When, so soon as, and so often as,

my soul fainted within me, my heart was perplexed with variety of fears, sorrows, temptations, and difficulties; whenever I did forecast, and devise what way I might likely escape out of this forlorn condition, I was dispirited, my heart sunk within me, Psalm 22:14 42:4; and I had fainted if I had not remembered the mighty, faithful, wise, and gracious God, who could save me, and on whose mercy I relied, who had promised the best of two deliverances, the eternal, whatever he did with me as to the temporal deliverance.

I remembered the Lord, with faith and prayer, for it is not a bare recalling of God to his mind, but a recalling his mercy and promise to his mind.

And my prayer, made in the fish’s belly, in his prison more dismal than ever was that of Manasseh, came in unto thee; did enter the ears of the Lord, he heard and readily answered.

Into thine holy temple; typically the temple at Jerusalem, to which Jonah looked; but principally heaven, the temple of his glory, whence God gives the command for his delivery, orders the gaoler to set him safe on shore.

When my soul fainted within me,.... Covered with grief; overwhelmed with sorrow; ready to faint and sink at the sight of his sins; and under a sense of the wrath and displeasure of God, and being forsaken by him:

I remembered the Lord; his covenant and promises, his former mercies and lovingkindness, the gracious experiences he had had of these in times past; he remembered he was a God gracious and merciful, and ready to forgive, healed the backslidings of his people, and still loved them freely, and tenderly received and embraced them, when they returned to him:

and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple; into heaven itself, the habitation of God's holiness, the temple where he dwells, and is worshipped by holy angels and glorified saints; the prayer the prophet put up in the fish's belly, encouraged to it by remembering the mercy and goodness of God, ascended from thence, and reached the ears of the Lord of hosts in the highest heavens, and met with a kind reception, and had a gracious answer; see Psalm 3:4.

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
7. fainted] Lit., covered itself; with reference to the film and darkness that comes over eye and mind in fainting and exhaustion. Comp. Psalm 142:3; Psalm 107:5, where the same Heb. word occurs.

thine holy temple] at Jerusalem, as in Jonah 2:4.

Verse 7. - His prayer was heard. When my soul fainted within me; literally, was covered - referring, says Pusey, to that physical exhaustion when a film comes over the eyes, and the brain is mantled over. The clause is from Psalm 142:3 or Psalms 143:4. I remembered the Lord. That was his salvation (Psalm 119:55). He turned in thought to thine holy temple (ver. 4), the sanctuary where God's presence was most assured, like the psalmist in the wilderness (Psalm 63:2). or like the exiles by the waters of Babylon when they remembered Zion (Psalm 137.). Jonah 2:75 Waters surrounded me even to the soul: the flood encompassed me,

Sea-grass was wound round my head.

6 I went down to the foundations of the mountains;

The earth, its bolts were behind me for ever:

Then raisedst Thou my life out of the pit, O Jehovah my God.

7 When my soul fainted within me, I thought of Jehovah;

And my prayer came to Thee into Thy holy temple.

This strophe opens, like the last, with a description of the peril of death, to set forth still more perfectly the thought of miraculous deliverance which filled the prophet's mind. The first clause of the fifth verse recals to mind Psalm 18:5 and Psalm 69:2; the words "the waters pressed (בּאוּ) even to the soul" (Psalm 69:2) being simply strengthened by אפפוּני after Psalm 18:5. The waters of the sea girt him round about, reaching even to the soul, so that it appeared to be all over with his life. Tehōm, the unfathomable flood of the ocean, surrounded him. Sūph, sedge, i.e., sea-grass, which grows at the bottom of the sea, was bound about his head; so that he had sunk to the very bottom. This thought is expressed still more distinctly in Psalm 18:6. קצבי הרים, "the ends of the mountains" (from qâtsabh, to cut off, that which is cut off, then the place where anything is cut off), are their foundations and roots, which lie in the depths of the earth, reaching even to the foundation of the sea (cf. Psalm 18:16). When he sank into the deep, the earth shut its bolts behind him (הארץ is placed at the head absolutely). The figure of bolts of the earth that were shut behind Jonah, which we only meet with here (בּעד from the phrase סגר הדּלת בּעד, to shut the door behind a person: Genesis 7:16; 2 Kings 4:4-5, 2 Kings 4:33; Isaiah 26:20), has an analogy in the idea which occurs in Job 38:10, of bolts and doors of the ocean. The bolts of the sea are the walls of the sea-basin, which set bounds to the sea, that it cannot pass over. Consequently the bolts of the earth can only be such barriers as restrain the land from spreading over the sea. These barriers are the weight and force of the waves, which prevent the land from encroaching on the sea. This weight of the waves, or of the great masses of water, which pressed upon Jonah when he had sunk to the bottom of the sea, shut or bolted against him the way back to the earth (the land), just as the bolts that are drawn before the door of a house fasten up the entrance into it; so that the reference is neither to "the rocks jutting out above the water, which prevented any one from ascending from the sea to the land," nor "densissima terrae compages, qua abyssus tecta Jonam in hac constitutum occludebat" (Marck). Out of this grave the Lord "brought up his life." Shachath is rendered φθορά, corruptio, by the early translators (lxx, Chald., Syr., Vulg.); and this rendering, which many of the more modern translators entirely reject, is unquestionably the correct one in Job 17:14, where the meaning "pit" is quite unsuitable. But it is by no means warranted in the present instance. The similarity of thought to Psalm 30:4 points rather to the meaning pit equals cavern or grave, as in Psalm 30:10, where shachath is used interchangeably with בּור and שׁאול in Jonah 2:4 as being perfectly synonymous. Jonah 2:7 is formed after Psalm 142:4 or Psalm 143:4, except that נפשׁי is used instead of רוּחי, because Jonah is not speaking of the covering of the spirit with faintness, but of the plunging of the life into night and the darkness of death by drowning in the water. התעטּף, lit., to veil or cover one's self, hence to sink into night and faintness, to pine away. עלי, upon or in me, inasmuch as the I, as a person, embraces the soul or life (cf. Psalm 42:5). When his soul was about to sink into the night of death, he thought of Jehovah in prayer, and his prayer reached to God in His holy temple, where Jehovah is enthroned as God and King of His people (Psalm 18:7; Psalm 88:3).

But when prayer reaches to God, then He helps and also saves. This awakens confidence in the Lord, and impels to praise and thanksgiving. These thoughts form the last strophe, with which the Psalm of thanksgiving is appropriately closed.

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