Jonah is a prophet of Father named and described in II Kings 14:25. He was a native of Gath-heper (wine-press on the hill– a town on the border of the territory of Zebulun), now el meshhed three miles north-east of Nazareth. Nazareth was in Galilee and therefore the statement by the pharisees in – John 7:52They answered and said unto Him, "Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." – was a false statement.
Several years ago while we were still attending a denominational church, I was asked to teach during Sunday School, the Book of Jonah. I had to use the church's materials to teach, and at the time, Father had not yet opened my eyes and ears. So at the time, I had no understanding of what I was teaching, however, I was able to "stumble through" the lesson. Yes, I understood that Father had come to Jonah and wanted him to go to the Ninevites and tell them His Word in order to save them, I knew and understood that Jonah didn't want to do so; but, I was unknowledgeable as to the "why" he didn't want to do so. Today however, I can say I am knowledgeable and can explain the "why." So let's learn that now.
Sadly, most modern critics are practically unanimous in declaring that the Book of Jonah is a combination of allegory and myth," much the way they don't believe that the giants mentioned many times in Father's Word, were real giants who were hybrid offspring of the fallen angels and flesh women. But the fact that Jonah the prophet was a historic personage is settled by II Kings 14:15. Also the fact that the prophesy, with its great miracle, was referred to by our Lord Jesus Christ as a "type" of Himself, places the Book in as high a position as any other prophesy. The prophesy of Jonah is literal history; and is besides a twofold "type:" (1) he was a type of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus – see Matthew 12:40 where the "as" and "so" are sufficient to show us that a man's being miraculously kept alive for a particular period can be no type of another's being dead and buried for the same period.
As our Lord was raised from the dead at the end of that period (see Companion Bible Appendix 156), so Jonah must have been, as miraculously raised from the dead.
Jonah's Prayer could have been uttered in the last few moments of life. In any case the words of the Prayer had not been written down until he had been vomited up alive (Jonah 2:1-10);
(2) "As Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be unto this generation" – (Luke 11:30).
Both these "types" were and for the most part are still hidden in the history by the One Who knew the end from the beginning, and are declared to be so by Him of Whom YHVH said "I will put My Words in His mouth." Seven times in the Gospel of John did our Lord Jesus testify to the fulfillment of these promises: John 7:16; 8:28; 8:46-47; 12:49; 14:10; 14:24 and also 17:8.
To the reader who truly studies the Book of Jonah, they'll be able to ascertain that Jonah was not a wayward, thoughtless child, but a "man of God" willing to sacrifice himself (mistakenly, of course) in order to save his nation - Israel. He knew that Assyria at the time was in great difficulties. There is a silence of eighteen years in Assyrian history at that time, and the surrounding nations were beginning to assert themselves. Jonah had just been commissioned to encourage Israel to a restored position (II Kings 14:25-25). So he must have also known that Nineveh - the capital of Assyria and a wicked city, was to be YHVH's "rod of judgment" on Israel. Jonah knew the "well-known" character of YHVH, and as such, he feared that if he made YHVH's proclamation, Nineveh might repent, her overthrow be averted and the destruction of Israel assured. Therefore he ran and tried to hide from Father in order to try and not allow Israel to be destroyed.
The clue to the dating of the life and Book of Jonah is given in verse v1:1; which, by comparison with II Kings 14:25, falls within the time of Jeroboam II and the earlier years of Uzziah: therefore about 690B.C..
Jonah 1:1Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai (true, or the truth of YHVH or veracious), saying, -> Word of the LORD came=This statement is unanswerable, and covers the truth of the whole contents of this Book; we can compare this with Father speaking to Moses when He was saying that the Levites shall have no inheritance in Deuteronomy 18: Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. [18:19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. -> We can compare this also with the Gospel of John: John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (the Logos – the Divine expression, that is Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God., let's skip down to John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. [1:15]John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, "This was He of Whom I spake, He That cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. [1:16]And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. [1:17] For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. [1:18] No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. -> Our Father became flesh with us as He said He would in Genesis 1:26-27, why did He do this first and foremost - Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; - secondly, He became flesh with us in order that He might take away our sins.
I will require it=That "Word" is the "critic" (or Judge) and will judge all other critics.
Jonah 1:2 "Arise, go to Nineveh (abode of ninus) that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me." -> Arise, go to=We can compare and contrast this with what Jonah does in the next verse v1:3 where we read that "he rose up to flee."
Nineveh=We read in Genesis 10:11 that it was Asshur – the son of Shem, Noah's grandson, who built Nineveh. Nineveh was situated on the left bank of the Tigris River. From the Smith's Bible Dictionary: "The name appears to be compounded from that of an Assyrian deity "Nin," corresponding, it is conjectured, with the Greek Hercules, and occurring in the names of several Assyrian kings, as in "Ninus," the mythic founder, according to Greek tradition of the city. Nineveh is situated on the eastern bank of the river Tigris, 50 miles from its mouth and 250 miles north of Babylon. It is first mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with the primitive dispersement and migrations of the human race. Asshur, or according to the marginal reading, which is generally preferred, Nimrod is there described, (Genesis 10:11) as extending his kingdom from the land of Shinar or Babylonia, in the south, to Assyria in the north and founding four cities, of which the most famous was Nineveh. Hence Assyria was subsequently known to the Jews as "the land of Nimrod," cf. (Micah 5:6) and was believed to have been first peopled by a colony from Babylon. The kingdom of Assyria and of the Assyrians is referred to in the Old Testament as connected with the Jews at a very early period, as in (Numbers 24:22, 24) and (Psalms 83:8). But after the notice of the foundation of Nineveh in Genesis no further mention is made of the city until the time of the book of Jonah, or the eighth century B.C. In this book no mention is made of Assyria or the Assyrians, the king to whom the prophet was sent being termed the "king of Nineveh," and his subjects "the people of Nineveh." Assyria is first called a kingdom in the time of Menahem, about B.C. 770. Nahum (? B.C. 645) directs his prophecies against Nineveh; only once against the king of Assyria. ch. (Nahum 3:18) In (II Kings 19:36) and (Isaiah 37:37). The city is first distinctly mentioned as the residence of the monarch. Sennacherib was slain there when worshipping in the temple of Nisroch his god. Zephaniah, about B.C. 630, couples the capital and the kingdom together, (Zephaniah 2:13) and this is the last mention of Nineveh as an existing city. The destruction of Nineveh occurred B.C. 606. The city was then laid waste, its monuments destroyed and its inhabitants scattered or carried away into captivity. It never rose again from its ruins. This total disappearance of Nineveh is fully confirmed by the records of profane history.".
Cry against it=Not whisper or speak softly but cry as in making a general proclamation.
Their wickedness=Nineveh was noted for its idolatry, violence and cruelty of all kinds, and even recorded some of this on its own bas-reliefs.
Jonah 1:3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish (established) from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa (beauty or beautiful, now Jaffa, a small town on the southwest coast of Palestine); and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. -> Father told Jonah what He wanted him to do; however, Jonah realizing that if he did indeed tell Nineveh to repent and they indeed did do so, then they would not face the judgment of Father and would in the future be able to be used by Father as that rod of judgment against Israel which Jonah didn't want to be the cause of. So what does he do? He tries to flee from Father and hid out aboard a ship bound for Tarshish.
Do you think and believe -- like Jonah -- that his plan will work? Father is about to give us an important lesson, it doesn't pay to, nor can you run from Him. He has his way of calling you back to him, for He is always in control of all things. And just as Saul in the New Testament was struck down Father while on the road to Damascus, His elect will always be brought into understanding and submission to God's plan and will for them.
1:4-2:10 CONSEQUENCES. RESURRECTION OF JONAH (Extended Alternation.)
1:4-15 Jonah's punishment.
Jonah 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. -> As we have seen time and again in His Word; Father uses His elements and natural things to His advantage. His creation knows His voice and He talks with His creation - and I don't mean man, I'm referring to nature - the wind, animals, plants and trees and the like, and they obey His voice.
Jonah 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. -> When this great tempest came, the sailors were very afraid as this storm was like none they had ever seen before. Every man on that ship prayed to their false gods - whichever one they thought that would help them – but no help came, as there are no gods except Father. They then cast the tackling and cargo over the sides, which defeated the entire purpose of their journey. Like anyone in a situation such as this, their fear took their minds off their profits and caused them to instead think of their lives.
To Jonah, life and\or death just doesn't matter at this point for he knows that he is fleeing from Father, therefore what happens to him, or the ship doesn't matter. Because of his disobedience to Father, he felt there was no hope for him. However, the confusion here was because Jonah thought he knew more than God; however, Father knows all things and He knows more than Jonah, or any other of His children. Like when the chief priest's soldiers came to collect our Lord Jesus and satan came into Peter and used him and his love for our Lord, satan also used Jonah's love for his people to cause him to disobey Father, yet God used satan's deception to glorify His own plan.
Jonah 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, "What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not." -> The ship's captain and crew are frantic and in a near state of panic. The captain; while searching the ship, finds Jonah sleeping instead of praying like all the other sailors and demands he call upon ELOHIM or any other of the gods in order to try and save their lives and the ship.
This reminds me of I Kings 18 when Elijah gathered all Israel to Mount Carmel along with the four hundred fifty baal prophets and four hundred prophets of the groves which Jezebel had. After Jezebel's eight hundred and fifty prophets built their alter, there they stood all day long calling on their false gods to no avail, finally, after the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah had had enough and he called all the Israelites to come near unto him while he built the alter to YHVH, once completed, he told the baal prophets fill four barrels of water and then to pour them onto the altar completely soaking it, he then told them to do it a second time and then a third time, He then called on YHVH who consumed the sacrifice, the altar and the wood and even the stones. Here, the ship's crew are all calling on the names of their false gods and are receiving the same reply as Jezebel's prophets - silence.
That God=Here the ship's captain uses the correct name of Father - ELOHIM (with 'eth) - The True God.
1:7-12 JONAH. SELF SACRIFICE. (Extended Alternation.)
1:7 Mariners. Counsel. Casting of lots.
1:7 Jonah taken.
Jonah 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, "Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. -> After not receiving an answer from their gods, they knew that there must be someone who wasn't praying or calling on the name of his god. So they then drew straws to find out who it was, as "luck" would have it, the lot fell onto Jonah.
1:8 Mariners. Inquiry.
Jonah 1:8 Then said they unto him, "Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? 'what is thy country? and of what people art thou?" -> They all looked at Jonah and asked him straight-up, "what have you done to your God, that this tempest is come upon us?" - give us a complete account of yourself that we might know the answer. If most people of today were questioned to give account of themselves; they could not. Nor do most of them care. They don't know who they are with respect to the Bible. They don't recognize the fact that Father is in control of all things that happen in the world - even to today.
Jonah has cost these men much and they want an answer as to why?
1:9 Jonah. Confession.
Jonah 1:9 And he said unto them, "I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, Which hath made the sea and the dry land." -> He said=Jonah tells them some things, however, he isn't being completely honest with them as he doesn't tell them all the story; we find that out in Jonah 4:1-3.
Hebrew=Referring to the language spoken, not necessarily the lineage or people. This was a title that was used whenever they spoke with foreigners, and really what it means is - those who crossed over the Jordan River.
The God of heaven=Father's title in relation to the Creator's creatures. The first occurrence of this title is in II Chronicles 36:23, where it was used because His People had become Lo-Ammi (not My People), and He - YHVH, had withdrawn from their midst. It is The Title peculiar to the times of the Gentiles, while Father - ELOHIM acts from heaven, and not from between the cherubim as YHVH the God of Israel, or as "LORD of all the earth" - His millennial title.
1:10-11 Mariners. Fear.
Jonah 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, "Why hast thou done this?" For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. -> After giving account of himself, the men know Who he is running from but, they don't really know the "why," and that makes them even more afraid because they know if they lay a hand on him, that might make YHVH even more angry.
Jonah 1:11 Then said they unto him, "What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us?" for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. -> Since they don't know what to do to save the ship and their lives, they ask Jonah. Jonah really doesn't care about saving their lives, the ship or even his life, because as far as he is concerned, he's already sacrificed himself for his people.
Wrought=Grew more and more tempestuous, meaning, it was going on and raging.
1:12 Jonah. Determination.
Jonah 1:12 And he said unto them, "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you." -> Jonah tells them that this great storm is indeed just as the cast lots told them - his fault. See he had already counted the cost of this, was he scared? No, for he had already given up when he came aboard. So when the sea bellowed; Jonah slept. To Jonah, his life was a loss, for he knew he was in defiance of what God had told him to do.
Was Jonah joking when he told them to throw him overboard? No, he was willing to die, rather than convert and save Nineveh - Israel's enemy.
We must learn from this for when Father wants your attention, He has ways of getting it.
Jonah 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. -> The men didn't want to anger YHVH by throwing Jonah overboard, so they decide to instead try and row the ship--against the storm-- to the coastline. Remember, back in verse v1:5 they had already thrown the tackling overboard, so now they have no choice but to row. No matter how hard they tried, they just could not get rid of Jonah - without resorting to possibly angering Father.
Jonah 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, "We beseech Thee, O LORD, we beseech Thee, 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." -> This is music to Father's ears - the heathen of His children calling out to Him - YHVH. What is it that Father's desires? II Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance..
This man's life=In other words, for Jonah's sins.
They are also about to do as Jonah had told them - throw him into the sea, so they are also praying and asking Father to not blame this murder on them. They figure this is what He - Father, wants, so, they are going to comply.
Jonah 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. -> Without delay, the storm came to an end, and the men knew then that Father's hand was indeed upon Jonah.
1:16 Sacrifice and Vows of Mariners.
Jonah 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. -> Look at the immediate reaction by these heathen. Did the start a fire and offer their sacrifices right then and there? No, they vowed to do so as soon as they got to the shore. When people see and feel the presence and the hand of YHVH directly in their life; it changes them. They begin to take a new and different outlook on life, one towards Father. Vows are easy to make, and many times when someone is in a “tough spot” (much like these men), they’ll make promises and vows to God to get them out of their current situation, but sometimes once out of that situation, those vows are forgotten and become very hard to keep.
1:17 The Fish. Preparation and Reception.
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. -> Prepared=Let's look at this word in the Hebrew. In the Strong's Concordance it is Hebrew word number H4487 - מנה - mânâh – pronounced - maw-naw', and means: A primitive root; properly to weigh out; by implication to allot or constitute officially; also to enumerate or enroll: - appoint, count, number, prepare, set, tell., so in other words, Father prepared a fish (Hebrew word number H1709 - דּאג דּגo - dâg or dâ'g, pronounced - dawg, dawg, and means: From H1711; a fish (as prolific); or perhaps rather from H1672 (as timid); but still better from H1672 (in the sense of squirming, that is, moving by the vibratory action of the tail); a fish (often used collectively): - fish.) as He prepares "the gourd", "the worm" and "the vehement east wind" in Jonah 4:6-8. Prepared, never means "to create."
Great fish=One large enough to swallow Jonah. In the Greek, as found in Matthew 12:40, when Jesus spoke this, He didn't say "whale's belly" - that's man's mistranslating, for Jesus spoke G2785 - κη"τος - kētos - kay'-tos, and means: Probably from the base of G5490; a huge fish (as gaping for prey): - whale. , meaning any large marine monster. So what I'm trying to say, is that Father appointed or assigned this particular fish to do exactly what He wanted done.
Some would argue, or at least like to argue, concerning whether Jonah died in the flesh for those three days he was in the fish's belly, I'll leave that to others. My thought is this, it really doesn't matter; as what does matter, is that Father appointed this fish to do a task that would be unique enough, to be used as a sign of Jesus Christ's time in the tomb, a sign of His death, burial and resurrection. In fact it would be the only sign Jesus would give to the "kenites, Scribes and Pharisees" when they confronted Him and stated in Matthew 12:38 - "we would see a sign of thee."
Why a fish? Because Father knew the Ninevites like the Philistines and some of the other heathen in the region, worshipped: dagon, the fish god. He likewise knew that when Jonah reached the shoreline and the fish opened its mouth to vomit him out on dry land, that the Ninevites would see this and listen to what he was telling them, remember Father wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to them to repent of their sins and turn to Him. Father knew the Ninevites would receive Jonah as their saviour and thereby believing whatever Jonah says to them.