King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Jonah 3

Jonah sent again to Nineveh, preaches there. (1-4) Nineveh is spared upon the repentance of the inhabitants. (5-10)

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Jonah sent again to Nineveh, preaches there

1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Nineveh is spared upon the repentance of the inhabitants

5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Bid thee before, or when thou shalt be there. C. — He seems to have retired to Jerusalem. M.

Ver. 3. Journey. By the computation of some ancient historians, Ninive was about fifty miles round: so that to go through all the chief streets and public places, was three days’ journey. Ch. — Diodorus (iii. 1.) says Ninive was 150 stadia or furlongs in length. It must have been therefore 480 round; and as each furlong contains 125 paces of 5 ft. each, the compass would be “60 Italian miles, (about 50 Eng.)” which would employ a person three days to go through the principal streets. W. — Ninive “was much larger that Babylon.” Strabo xvi. — Heb. “a great city of God,” &c. denoting its stupendous size.

Ver. 4. Journey. He records what he said the first day, though he seems to have preached many (Theod.) even during forty days, after which time (H.) he expected the city would fall, and therefore retired out of the walls. C. iv. — Forty. Sept. three. S. Justin, (dial.) “three, or forty-three.” Theodoret thinks that the mistake was made by some ancient transcriber, and has since prevailed in all the copies of the Sept. All the rest have forty. S. Aug. (de civ. Dei. xviii. 44.) believes the Sept. placed three for a mysterious reason. Origen (hom. xvi. Num.) suggests that the prophet determined the number, and hence God did not execute the threat. C. — This and many other menaces are conditional. If men repent, God will change his sentence. S. Chrys. S. Greg. Mor. xvi. 18. W.

Ver. 5. God. They were convinced that he had wrought such wonders in the person of Jonas, with a desire of their welfare, particularly as he allowed them some delay. Accordingly they did penance for about forty days, and their conversion was so sincere, that Christ proposes it to his disciples. Mat. xii. 41. C. — Thus “the city was overturned in its perverse manners.” S. Aug. de civ. Dei. xxi. 24. and Ps. l. — They were at an end, and the city was renovated. H.

Ver. 6. King Sardanapalus, (Salien, A. 3216) or rather his father, Phul, whom Strabo calls Anacyndaraxes, (C.) and who died in the year 3237, (Usher) four years after he had invaded Palestine. 4 K. xv. 19.

Ver. 7. Princes. Their consent was requisite, to form an irrevocable edict. Dan. vi. 8. — Men. Even infants, according to the Fathers. Joel ii. 16. S. Basil adds also, the young of cattle. This was done to excite rational beings to repentance. Theod. — We do not find that cattle were deprived of food on such occasions among the Jews. But Virgil specifies that this was the case at the death of C├Žsar, (Ecl. v.) as it was in droughts among some nations of America. Horn ii. 13. C. — When people are greatly moved by repentance, they exceed in austerity; but if this be not indiscreet, God accepts of their good intention. W.

Ver. 10. Mercy. Heb. “repented,” as some copies of the Sept. read, while others have, “was comforted.” H. — God suspended the stroke. But as the people soon relapsed, Sardanapalus burnt himself to death, and the city was taken, (S. Jer.) thirty-seven years after Jeroboam. A. 3257. Usher. — Yet this was only a prelude to its future ruin, foretold by Tobias, (xiv. 5. in Gr.) and effected by Nabopolassar and Astyages. C. A. 3378. Usher. — The vestiges did not appear in the days of Lucian, (Charon. C.) soon after Christ. H.