Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Ninive, the capital city of the Assyrian empire. (Challoner) — It was 150 stadia long and 90 broad, (Diod. ii.) on the western bank of the Tigris. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 13.) — Mosul, which some mistake for it, stands on the northern side. See Genesis x. 10. At the time when Jonas preached, Ninive would contain about 600,000, chap. iv. 11. They were people less favoured by God, (Acts xiv. 15.; Calmet) but not abandoned. (Theodoret) — God took sufficient care of all his creatures, and foretold many things relating to foreign nations. (Calmet) — Romans iii. 29. (Worthington) — For the. Septuagint add, “cry of,” Genesis iv., and xviii. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Tharsis. Which some take to be Tharsus of Cilicia, others to be Tartessus of Spain, others to be Carthage. (Challoner) — Joppe, now Jaffa, (Menochius) a miserable seaport. (Haydock) — It was formerly the best near Jerusalem, (2 Paralipomenon ii. 16.) though very dangerous. (Josephus, Jewish Wars iii. 15. or 29.) — It is said to have been built before “the inundation” of the world, (Mela. i. 11.) and was famous for the adventure of Andromeda, rescued by Perseus from a sea monster. (Pliny, [Natural History?] v. 13.) (Calmet) — Lord. He feared being accounted a false prophet, (Worthington) knowing how much God was inclined to shew mercy, (chap. iv. 2.) and being disheartened at the difficulty of the undertaking, like Moses and Gedeon. (Calmet) — He might also think that if the Ninivites repented, it would be a reflection on the obstinacy of the Jews. (St. Gregory, Mor. vi. 13.) (St. Jerome)
Ver. 4. Broken. Seeing no natural cause of such a sudden tempest, they concluded (Worthington) that some on board must be guilty; as the sailors argued (Haydock) when the noted atheist, Diagoras, was in similar circumstances. (Calmet) — They had recourse to lots, and the prophet consented by God’s inspiration, (Worthington) though this is not written, (Haydock) and the lots were superstitious. (Menochius) — The oriental writers add many things to this sufficiently marvellous account. (Lyranus; D’Herbelot.) (Calmet)
Ver. 5. God. They were idolaters, ver. 6. — Wares, which is commonly done in storms. (Calmet) — This loss was in punishment of their sins; though they seem not devoid of some fear of God and man. (Haydock) — Sleep. This is a lively image of the insensibility of sinners, fleeing from God, and threatened on every side with his judgments; and yet sleeping as if they were secure. (Challoner) — Yet Jonas was sleeping through grief. (St. Jerome) (Matthew xxvi. 40.) (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Fear, and therefore fly from the face of the Lord, ver. 3, 10. (Haydock) — He knew that God is every where, ver. 3., and Psalm cxxxiii. 8. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “I worship.” Fear is often taken in this sense. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Cast me. God intimates that he required this sacrifice. (Menochius)
Ver. 13. Hard. They were unwilling to destroy the prophet, (Calmet) fearing to incur fresh guilt by thus treating one who had intrusted his life to them. (Josephus, Antiquities ix. 11.)
Ver. 14. Blood. We act thus by his direction, and through necessity.
Ver. 16. Lord. They were converted by this prodigy, and offered sacrifice immediately, or (Calmet) when they came to port. (Menochius) — All know by the light of reason that sacrifice and vows are acceptable to the Lord. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Jonas being sent to preach in Ninive, fleeth away by sea: a tempest riseth: of which he being found, by lot, to be the cause, is cast into the sea, which thereupon is calmed.
1 Now *the word of the Lord came to Jonas, the son of Amathi, saying:
2 Arise, and go to Ninive, the great city, and preach in it: for the wickedness thereof is come up before me.
3 And Jonas rose up to flee into Tharsis from the face of the Lord, and he went down to Joppe, and found a ship going to Tharsis: and he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tharsis from the face of the Lord.
4 But the Lord sent a great wind into the sea: and a great tempest was raised in the sea, and the ship was in danger to be broken.
5 And the mariners were afraid, and the men cried to their god: and they cast forth the wares that were in the ship, into the sea, to lighten it of them: and Jonas went down into the inner part of the ship, and fell into a deep sleep.
6 And the shipmaster came to him, and said to him: Why art thou fast asleep? rise up, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think of us, that we may not perish.
7 And they said every one to his fellow: Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know why this evil is upon us. And they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonas.
8 And they said to him: Tell us for what cause this evil is upon us, what is thy business? of what country art thou? and whither goest thou? or of what people art thou?
9 And he said to them: I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made both the sea and the dry land.
10 And the men were greatly afraid, and they said to him: Why hast thou done this? (for the men knew that he fled from the face of the Lord: because he had told them.)
11 And they said to him: What shall we do to thee, that the sea may be calm to us? for the sea flowed and swelled.
12 And he said to them: Take me up, and cast me into the sea, and the sea shall be calm to you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 And the men rowed hard to return to land, but they were not able: because the sea tossed and swelled upon them.
14 And they cried to the Lord, and said: We beseech thee, O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 And they took Jonas, and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from raging.
16 And the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and sacrificed victims to the Lord, and made vows.
1: Year of the World about 3197, Year before Christ 807.