King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Jonah > Old Testament > Home

Jonah 1

Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish. (1-3) He is stayed by a tempest. (4-7) His discourse with the mariners. (8-12) He is cast into the sea, and miraculously preserved. (13-17)

Jonah 1 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish

1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; 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.

He is stayed by a tempest

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.

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.

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.

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.

His discourse with the mariners

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

He is cast into the sea, and miraculously preserved

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.

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.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

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.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Ninive, the capital city of the Assyrian empire. Ch. — It was 150 stadia long and 90 broad, (Diod. ii.) on the western bank of the Tigris. Pliny vi. 13. — Mosul, which some mistake for it, stands on the northern side. See Gen. x. 10. At the time when Jonas preached, Ninive would contain about 600,000. C. iv. 11. They were people less favoured by God, (Acts xiv. 15. C.) but not abandoned. Theod. — God took sufficient care of all his creatures, and foretold many things relating to foreign nations. C. — Rom. iii. 29. W. — For the. Sept. add, “cry of.” Gen. iv. and xviii. H.

Ver. 3. Tharsis. Which some take to be Tharsus of Cilicia, others to be Tartessus of Spain, others to be Carthage. Ch. — Joppe, now Jaffa, (M.) a miserable seaport. H. — It was formerly the best near Jerusalem, (2 Par. ii. 16.) though very dangerous. Jos. Bel. 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 v. 13. C. — Lord. He feared being accounted a false prophet, (W.) knowing how much God was inclined to shew mercy, (C. iv. 2.) and being disheartened at the difficulty of the undertaking, like Moses and Gedeon. C. — He might also think that if the Ninivites repented, it would be a reflection on the obstinacy of the Jews. S. Greg. Mor. vi. 13. S. Jer.

Ver. 4. Broken. Seeing no natural cause of such a sudden tempest, they concluded (W.) that some on board must be guilty; as the sailors argued (H.) when the noted atheist, Diagoras, was in similar circumstances. C. — They had recourse to lots, and the prophet consented by God’s inspiration, (W.) though this is not written, (H.) and the lots were superstitious. M. — The oriental writers add many things to this sufficiently marvellous account. Lyran. D’Herbelot. C.

Ver. 5. God. They were idolaters. v. 6. — Wares, which is commonly done in storms. C. — This loss was in punishment of their sins; though they seem not devoid of some fear of God and man. H. — 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. Ch. — Yet Jonas was sleeping through grief. S. Jer. Mat. xxvi. 40. C.

Ver. 9. Fear, and therefore fly from the face of the Lord. v. 3, 10. H. — He knew that God is every where, v. 3. Ps. cxxxiii. 8. C. — Sept. “I worship.” Fear is often taken in this sense. H.

Ver. 12. Cast me. God intimates that he required this sacrifice. M.

Ver. 13. Hard. They were unwilling to destroy the prophet, (C.) fearing to incur fresh guilt by thus treating one who had intrusted his life to them. Jos. Ant. 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 (C.) when they came to port. M. — All know by the light of reason that sacrifice and vows are acceptable to the Lord. W.