King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jonah 2

The prayer of Jonah. (1-9) He is delivered from the fish. (10)

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The prayer of Jonah

1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,

2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

6 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 life from corruption, O LORD my God.

7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

He is delivered from the fish

10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Fish. Heb. dag: afterwards daga occurs, v. 2; (H.) on which Leusden observes, the Jews infer that Jonas was first swallowed up by male and then by a female fish, which being full of young he was much straitened, and prayed from the belly of that (hadaga) female fish! He alludes to R. Jarchi. H. — Thus nar, puer, is put for a girl, to imply that Rebecca was prudent and Dina rambling. Buxt. Tib. 13. See Kennicott, Dis. 2. p. 417 and 552. — Noble discoveries! Many suppose (H.) that this fish was a whale, as it does not live on flesh; (C.) but its throat being so narrow, as hardly to suffer a man’s arm to pass, it is more probable that it was the sea-dog, lamia or canis chariarias, (Bartolin 14.) which may easily contain a man. Aldrovandus iii. 32. M. — This sea-dog, or shark, has five rows of teeth in each jaw. Human bodies have been found entire in the stomach. Button. — Our Saviour calls the fish a whale, Mat. xii. 40. W. — But that term is given to any great sea monster. Yet it is not of much importance what species of fish be meant, provided the miracle be admitted. C. — The pagans ridiculed it. S. Aug. ep. 102. q. 6. 30. — Yet they believed many of a similar nature, alleging the omnipotence of God. S. Jer. — This reason accounts for all the miracles recorded in Scripture. But might not God have chosen some easier expedient? We must not dive into his reasons. The impression which such a fact would make on the Ninivites, and the prefiguring of Christ’s burial, might suffice. Jonas was not a type of his death, as some have imagined, Q. ad Orthodox. C. — Nights, or as long as our Saviour was in the monument, (M.) which was about thirty-four hours. C. Dis.

Ver. 2. Prayed. He entertained these sentiments. Sanct. xiv. — He afterwards wrote them down. C.

Ver. 3. I cried. These five verses (H.) express his thoughts while he was in the sea, (S. Jer. C.) or in the fish. H. — He doubtless prayed before, when he was cast into the sea, and also in the whale’s belly, having then greater confidence that he should arrive safely on dry land, (v. 5.) and therefore vowing sacrifices of thanks, v. 10. W. — Hell; the whale’s belly, (Theod. &c.) or rather the depth of the sea. It may denote any imminent danger.

Ver. 5. Eyes, in a sort of despair, like the psalmist, xxx. 23. Yet he presently resumes fresh confidence in God, notwithstanding the greatness of his offences. — Temple. He went to Jerusalem, like other good Israelites.

Ver. 6. Soul, so that I was in danger of being suffocated. Ps. lxviii. 2. C. — Sea. Heb. “weeds entangled,” &c. H. — The Mediterranean has a great deal of sea weed. He speaks of the time before he was swallowed up by the fish.

Ver. 7. Lowest. Heb. and Sept. “clefts.” — Bars, or prisons, in the abyss, (C.) farthest from the heights. W.

Ver. 8. Me, at the last gasp, (C.) and oppressed with grief. M.

Ver. 9. Mercy. He alludes to the sailors. Theodoret — Heb. also, “let them forsake their worship,” (Drus. Lev. xx. 17.) or they are guilty of impiety. They neglect their vows. v. 10. C. i. 16. C.

Ver. 11. Spoke to the fish. God’s speaking to the fish was nothing else but his will, which all things obey. Ch. W. — Land. Josephus says near the Euxine Sea. But thus it must have travelled 800 leagues. Others fix upon different places, without any proof. C.