Jonah Commentaries

 

 

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Resources on Jonah
Commentaries, Sermons, Illustrations, Devotionals
See disclaimer
Updated November 26, 2014

Precept Upon Precept
Inductive Bible study

Jonah - Where Are You Going?  - Do your own study so you will be able to comment on the commentaries and sermons!

Jonah
Chapter and Verse - Hold pointer over link
New American Standard Bible

Jonah 1:1
Jonah 1:2
Jonah 1:3
Jonah 1:4
Jonah 1:5
Jonah 1:6
Jonah 1:7
Jonah 1:8
Jonah 1:9
Jonah 1:10
Jonah 1:11
Jonah 1:12
Jonah 1:13
Jonah 1:14
Jonah 1:15
Jonah 1:16
Jonah 1:17

Jonah 2:1
Jonah 2:2
Jonah 2:3
Jonah 2:4
Jonah 2:5
Jonah 2:6
Jonah 2:7
Jonah 2:8
Jonah 2:9
Jonah 2:10
 
Jonah 3:1
Jonah 3:2
Jonah 3:3
Jonah 3:4
Jonah 3:5
Jonah 3:6
Jonah 3:7
Jonah 3:8
Jonah 3:9
Jonah 3:10
 
Jonah 4:1
Jonah 4:2
Jonah 4:3
Jonah 4:4
Jonah 4:5
Jonah 4:6
Jonah 4:7
Jonah 4:8
Jonah 4:9
Jonah 4:10
Jonah 4:11

Mark Adams
Sermons on Jonah

Jonah 1:1-16 The Prodigal Prophet
Jonah 1:17-2:10 The Praying Prophet
Jonah 3:1-10 The Preaching Prophet
Jonah 4:1-11 The Pouting Prophet
Jonah 1:1-2:1; 2:10-3:5; 3:10-4:11 Learning from a Reluctant Prophet

Paul Apple
Commentary on Jonah

Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment -
Commentary on the Book of Jonah

Albert Barnes
Commentary on Jonah

  Jonah 1 Commentary
  Jonah 2 Commentary
  Jonah 3 Commentary
  Jonah 4 Commentary

Brian Bell
Sermon Notes on Jonah

Jonah 1:1-3
Jonah 1:4-17
Jonah 2
Jonah 3
Jonah 4

Joseph Benson
Commentary on Jonah

  Jonah 1 Commentary
  Jonah 2 Commentary
  Jonah 3 Commentary
  Jonah 4 Commentary

Bible.org Resources
Resources that Reference Jonah
on the largest Bible Study Resource on the Web
Hint: Do a "control + find" when you open a "hit" and search Jon as well as the full name.
This may take some practice but is guaranteed to yield some "gems"!
Recommended Resource
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

  Jonah 1
  Jonah 2
  Jonah 3
  Jonah 4

Biblical Art
Related to Jonah

Jonah Images
Jonah Maps

Jonah Art

Biblical Illustrator
Be a Berean - Not Always Literal
Especially in prophetic passages
Anecdotes, illustrations, etc

Introduction

  Jonah 1 Commentary
  Jonah 2 Commentary
  Jonah 3 Commentary
  Jonah 4 Commentary

Charles Box
Commentary on Jonah

  Jonah 1 Commentary
  Jonah 2 Commentary
  Jonah 3 Commentary
  Jonah 4 Commentary

John Calvin
Commentary on Jonah
His prayers are excellent

Jonah 1 Commentary
Prayer
Prayer
Prayer
Prayer

Jonah 2 Commentary
Prayer

Jonah 3 Commentary

Prayer
Prayer

Jonah 4 Commentary

Prayer
Prayer

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Jonah Commentary

Jonah 1 Commentary

Jonah 2 Commentary

Jonah 3 Commentary

Jonah 4 Commentary

Adam Clarke
Jonah Commentary
critique

Jonah 1 Commentary

Jonah 2 Commentary

Jonah 3 Commentary

Jonah 4 Commentary

Bob Deffinbaugh
Commentary Notes

Jonah 1 Shattered Stereotypes
Jonah 2:1-10 The Psalm of the Prodigal Prophet
Jonah 3 & 4 Nineveh’s Repentance and Jonah’s Wrath

Charles Ellicott
Jonah Commentary
Be a Berean:
Not always a literal interpretation.
Caveat Emptor!

Jonah 1 Commentary

Jonah 2 Commentary

Jonah 3 Commentary

Jonah 4 Commentary

Expositor's Bible Commentary
Jonah Commentary
George Adam Smith

Jonah 1 Commentary

Jonah 2 Commentary

Jonah 3 Commentary

Jonah 4 Commentary

Arnold Fruchtenbaum
Israelology - Commentaries on Israel
Note: This resource is listed because it has numerous
commentary notes that relate to the OT Prophetic Books

Israelology: Part 1 of 6  Introduction: Definition of Terms 
Israelology: Part 2 of 6  Israel Present (Note: Article begins on Page 2) 
Israelology: Part 3 of 6  Israel Present (Continued) 
Israelology: Part 4 of 6 - Israel Future (Part One) 
Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two)
Israelology: Part 6 of 6 Other Relevant Topics - Illustrations of Israel (including marriage) 

A C Gaebelein
Commentary on Jonah
The Annotated Bible
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

 Introduction
The Highest Evidence

Jonah 1:1-2 The Commission
Jonah 1:3 The Disobedience
Jonah 1:4-17 The Disobedience
Jonah 1 - Typical Application
Jonah 2:1-9 Jonah's Prayer
Jonah 2:10 Jonah's Deliverance
Jonah 2 Typical Application
Jonah 3:1-4 The Repeated Commission and Jonah's Obedience

Jonah 3:4-10 The Repentance and Salvation of Nineveh
Jonah 3 Typical Application
Jonah 4:1-3 Jonah's Discontent
Jonah 4:4-11 Jonah's Correction

John Gill
Commentaries on Jonah
Not always literal (
see example)

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Doug Goins
Sermons on Jonah
Peninsula Bible Church

Jonah 1:1-16 Jonah: Rejecting God's Call
Jonah 1:17-2:10 Jonah--experiencing God's Salvation
Jonah 3:1-10 Jonah--delivering God's Message
Jonah 4:1-11 Jonah: Developing A Concern Like God's

David Guzik
Commentary on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Robert Hawker
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Ebenezer Henderson
Commentary on Jonah
from "The Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets"
(originally published 1845)
General Preface

James Rosscup writes "This 1858 work supplies much help on matters of the text, word meaning, resolving some problems, etc. Some have found it one of the most contributive sources in getting at what a text means." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works or Logos Format)

Preface
Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Matthew Henry
Commentary on Jonah
Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture literally
and sometimes replaces
Israel with the Church (note)
(Click example of his interpretative approach which is often allegorical) (Or another example)

Introduction
Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Homiletics
On Jonah

Jonah 1 Homiletics
Jonah 2 Homiletics
Jonah 3 Homiletics
Jonah 4 Homiletics

Homiletical Commentary
on the Minor prophets
Commentary on Jonah
Multiple Contributors (Spurgeon, Luther, Gurnall, Trapp, etc)
Homiletics , Illustrations
Interesting Resource
Be a Berean - Not Always Literal
Introduction

Jonah 1 Critical Notes
Jonah 1:1-2 The Great Commission
Jonah 1:3 The Disgraceful Flight
Jonah 1:4,5 The Retributive Storm
Jonah 1:5 Contrasts in the Voyage of Life
Jonah 1:6 The Sleeper Roused
Jonah 1:7 Is There Not a Cause?
Jonah 1:7 Casting Lots
Jonah 1:8 Urgent Questions
Jonah 1:9, 10 Confession of Faith and of Guilt
Jonah 1:9, 10 Aggravations of the Guilt of Backslidings
Jonah 1:11, 12 The Required Sacrifice
Jonah 1:11, 12 Labour in Vain
Jonah 1:13, 14 Pagan Prayers
Jonah 1:15 The Sacrifice and the Calm
Jonah 1:14, 16 The Converted Heathen
Jonah 1:17 The Great Miracle
Jonah 1 Illustrations to Chapter 1

 

Jonah 2 Critical Notes
Jonah 2 In the Deep
Jonah 2:1-4 Prayer and Distress
Jonah 2:4 Revived Feelings
Jonah 2:7 Remembrance of God
Jonah 2:8,9 The Moral Contrasts in Life
Jonah 2:9 Salvation of the Lord
Jonah 2:9, 10 The Great Deliverance
Jonah 2 Illustrations to Chapter 2

 

Jonah 3 Critical Notes
Jonah 3:1 Jonah a Sign to the Ninevites (Luke 11:30)
Jonah 3:1, 2 The Second Call
Jonah 3:3, 4 Jonah's Obedience
Jonah 3:4, 5 Jonah's Preaching
Jonah 3:4-8 Nineveh Warned and Nineveh Reformed
Jonah 3:5-9 Nineveh's Repentance: Its Origin and Nature
Jonah 3:9 Who Can Tell?
Jonah 3:9-10 Nineveh's Hope and Nineveh's Reprieve
Jonah 3 Illustrations to Chapter 3

 

Jonah 4 Critical Notes
Jonah 4:1-4 The Strange Displeasure
Jonah 4:2 A Gracious God
Jonah 4:4 Divine Reproof
Jonah 4:4, 9 The Folly of a Fretful Mind
Jonah 4:5 Jonah's Retirement
Jonah 4:6-10 The Divine Correction of a Fretful Man
 Jonah 4:7 Withered Joy
Jonah 4:11 God's Care for Children
Jonah 4:11 God's Care for Oxen
Jonah 4 Illustrations to Chapter 4

H A Ironside
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on Jonah

Introduction
Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

THE UNABRIDGED VERSION IS BELOW
Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

S Lewis Johnson
Sermons/Commentaries on Jonah
Mp3, Pdf, MS Word, HTML
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah 1:1-3 The Doctrine of Satanic Providence

Jonah 1:4-16 Man Overboard Doctrine of Christian Declension

Jonah 1:17-2:10 Salvation: All of God, Damnation: All of Man

Jonah 3:1-10 The God of Another Chance History's Greatest Evangelistic Campaign

Jonah 4 The Old-Testament Cousin of John 3:16

Keil & Delitzsch
Jonah Commentary

See caveat regarding this commentary

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Paul Kretzmann
Jonah Commentary

Lutheran Perspective

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Jonah Commentary
Note relevant maps and picture in left column

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Alexander Maclaren
Sermons on Jonah

Jonah 1:1-17 Guilty Silence and Its Reward
Jonah 2:8 Lying Vanities
Jonah 3:1-10 Threefold Repentance

J Vernon McGee
Thru the Bible
Commentary on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

J Vernon McGee
Thru the Bible
Commentaries on Jonah

Mp3 Audio
Click to listen or
Right click and select "Save Target as"
Literal, futuristic interpretation
Recommended
Complete Commentary of Jonah on one zip file

F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Devotional Commentaries on Jonah

Jonah 1:3 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 2:4 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 3:1 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 4:6-8 Devotional Commentary

Miscellaneous Resources
Commentaries, Sermons, Devotionals
Including "Verse by Verse Commentary" from multiple sources

JONAH- RESOURCES
GENERAL - STUDY BIBLE NOTES

Enter Query below to search articles in >30 conservative Theological Journals - An annual $50 fee (click here, monthly fee also available) is required to view the entire article but will give you access to literally thousands of conservative articles. Search by book You can also search by chapter like: John 1 or Gen. 2 You can also search by simple or complex references

Sample articles...

Reading Jonah Again for the First Time by Robert Spender

The Prophet Jonah and His Message Part 1 by Gerald B. Stanton

The Prophet Jonah and His Message Part 2 by Gerald B. Stanton

The Power of Biblical Preaching- An Expository Study of Jonah 3:1-10 by Steven J. Lawson

The Sign Of Jonah by Eugene H. Merrill

Theological Journals
Best Commentary on Jonah - Best Commentaries Reviews
Top 5 Commentaries on the Book of Jonah by Keith Mathison
Best Commentaries Jonah
Minor Prophets Study Guide - Questions/Lessons Learned Don Anderson
Living a New Life: OT Teaching About Conversion William D. Barrick
Jonah Introduction Bible.org
The Prophets and the Promise - 433 Page Book W J Beecher
The Book of Jonah. Christian Friend
Jonah 1-3 God’s Reluctant Missionary Steven Cole
A Whale of a Tale - Fundamentalist Fish Stories Edward B. Davis

Jonah - American Tract Society Bible Dictionary

Jonah - Nave's Topical Bible - Bible Concordance

Jonah - Bridgeway Bible Dictionary (Map)

Jonah - Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Jonah - Holman Bible Dictionary

Jonah - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Jonah - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Jonah - Morrish Bible Dictionary

Jonah - Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Jonah - Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Jonah - 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Jonah - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Jonah - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Jonah - The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Jonah, Book of - The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Dictionary Articles
The Commanding Importance of the Prophetic Scriptures Charles Feinberg
Sermons by Jonah - First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi First Presbyterian Jackson

Caught Up in a Story of Wild Proportions

Greg Herrick
Holman Christian Standard Bible Study Bible - 
H  Notes - enter Scripture, select "Read" under Study Bible
Holman
Christ in All the Scriptures - Jonah A M Hodgkin
Jonah Commentary William Kelly
Jonah 1-4 The Rebellious Missionary Steve Kreloff
Jonah Sermons.Logos.com Logos.com
Jonah 1:5 Calling on the Gods
Jonah 1:7 Sailors' Superstitions
Manners and Customs by
James Freeman
Jonah -Intro, Date, Setting, Themes, Interpretative Challenges, Outline John MacArthur
Recommended

G Campbell Morgan's devotional/practical thoughts make good fodder for sermon preparation!

Jonah - Living Messages

G Campbell Morgan
Minor Prophets - Book Introductions
Jonah - Introductory Notes, Outlines
J Vernon McGee
Jonah Middletown Bible
An Introduction to the Book of Jonah
An Argument of the Book of Jonah
A Selected Bibliography of the Book of Jonah
David Malick
Jonah Mp3's - over 200 Monergism
Jonah - Defender's Study Bible Notes Henry Morris
Jonah Introduction NIV Study Bible
Jonah - Book Chart Overview Book Chart
Jonah Sermons and Illustrations Pastor Life
Jonah: "Go...Preach!" Background Introduction
Introduction to Prophets in Old Testament
Wil Pounds
The Messianic Hope of Israel - The Witness of Jonah (see page 5) Max I Reich
The Failure Of Success: The Story Of Jonah RBC Booklet
Jonah - Reformation Study Bible Notes Reformation Study Bible
Book of Jonah Overview - Insight for Living Ministries Charles Swindoll

Analysis of Jonah - Well Done

James Van Dine

Reflections of Christ in the Old Testament book of Jonah

Paul Van Gorder
Jonah - Wikipedia (Be Discerning!) Wikipedia

JONAH- RESOURCES
COMMENTARIES AND SERMONS

Jonah J. G. Bellett
Jonah 1-4 Rich Cathers
Jonah: God's Reluctant Missionary - excellent Steven Cole
The Message of Jonah - Can You Run From God? Mp3 Mark Dever
Jonah: The Man who Disagreed with God Easy English
Jonah W. W. Fereday
Jonah: God versus Jonah
Hello, My Name is Jonah
Bruce Goettsche
Sermons on Jonah (Mp3) - Tim Keller, Alistair Bigg, Paul Tripp, etc Gospel Coalition
Jonah - Nice Chapter Summaries Grace Institute
Concise Bible Commentary on Jonah James Gray
The Minor Prophets J Hampton Keathley
Jonah Commentary J Hampton Keathley
Jonah. William Kelly
Jonah - The Worst Missionary
Jonah - Running Away from God's Will
Jonah - The Tragedy of an Unwilling Missionary
John MacArthur
Lord Break Me - a brief mention of Jonah William MacDonald
Lord, There's A Little Bit Of Jonah In Me Robert Morgan
Nineveh - Commentary notes NETBible
The Prophet Jonah (Overview) Arend Remmers
Jonah and Hosea - Well Done John Stevenson
Jonah's Forty Days W. T. P. Wolston

JONAH- RESOURCES
CHAPTER & VERSE

Jonah 1 The Great Fish John Kitto
Jonah 1:1-16, Jonah Run
Jonah 1:17-2:10 A Hole in the Prayer
Scott Grant
Jonah 1-4 The Tragedy of an Unwilling Missionary John MacArthur
Jonah: The Education of a Prophet: Jonah John Piper
Jonah 1 Exposition/Commentary Notes C H Spurgeon
Jonah 1 Commentary NETBible Notes
Jonah 1 The Flight of Jonah Joseph Parker
Jonah 1 The Pursuing Heart of God Rob Salvato
Jonah 1 Running From God Sermon Starter
Jonah 1 Commentary - Mp3 Warren Wiersbe

Jonah 1 The Fish is not the Hero

Jonah 1 The Prodigal Son Leaves Home

J Vernon McGee
Jonah 1-4 The Man Who Disagreed with God
Jonah 1:1-3 The Hand of God|
Don Fortner
Jonah 1:1-17 Guilty Silence and Its Reward Alexander Maclaren
Jonah 1:1-17 Devotional Commentary Today in the Word
Jonah 1:1-4 Sermon - Fish, Fishing, Fishermen W A Criswell
Jonah 1:1-3 Running from God Phil Newton
Jonah 1:1 Commentary
Jonah 1:2 Commentary
Grant Richison

Jonah 1:1-17 The Prison Of His Perseverance

Jonah 1:1-17 A Pop Quiz For Sleeping Saints

Alan Carr

Jonah 1:1-2 Commentary
Jonah 1:3 Commentary
Jonah 1:4 Commentary
Jonah 1:5 Commentary
Jonah 1:6 Commentary
Jonah 1:7 Commentary

John Calvin
Jonah 1:1-2:10 You Can't Get There From Here Ron Ritchie
Jonah 1:3 Devotional Commentary F B Meyer
Jonah 1:3 Commentary
Jonah 1:3b Commentary
Jonah 1:3c Commentary
Jonah 1:3d Commentary
Jonah 1:4 Commentary
Grant Richison
Jonah 1:6 "O Sleeper Arise!"
Jonah 1-4 "The Dilemma Of Jonah"
David Legge
Jonah 1:4-9 Found Out! Phil Newton
Jonah 1:5 Commentary
Jonah 1:5b Commentary
Jonah 1:5c Commentary
Jonah 1:6 Commentary
Jonah 1:7 Commentary
Jonah 1:8 Commentary
Grant Richison

Jonah 1:8-10 Commentary

John Calvin
Jonah 1:9 Commentary Grant Richison
Jonah 1:10 Commentary Grant Richison
Jonah 1:10-17 Divine Pursuit Phil Newton
Jonah 1:11-16 Commentary Grant Richison

Jonah 1:11-12 Commentary

John Calvin

Jonah 1:13-14 Commentary

John Calvin
Jonah 1:15-17 Something Greater than Jonah is Here Wil Pounds

Jonah 1:15 Commentary

John Calvin

Jonah 1:16 Commentary

John Calvin

Jonah 1:17 Commentary

John Calvin

JONAH 2

Jonah 2. Salvation is of the Lord

J Vernon McGee
Jonah 2 The Prayer of Jonah Rob Salvato
Jonah 2 Commentary NETBible Notes
Jonah 2 Commentary - Mp3 Warren Wiersbe
Jonah 2 Exposition/Commentary Notes C H Spurgeon
Jonah 2, Romans 9 Who Will be Saved? Don Fortner
Jonah 2: Cry of Distress and Voice of Thanks John Piper
Jonah 2:1-9 Lessons from the Belly of the Fish, Part 1
Jonah 2:1-9 Lessons from the Belly of the Fish, Part 2
Phil Newton
Jonah 2:1 Commentary
Jonah 2:2 Commentary
Jonah 2:3-4 Commentary
Grant Richison
Jonah 2:4 Devotional Commentary F B Meyer
Jonah 2:5-9 Commentary Grant Richison

Jonah 2:7-10 When My Soul Fainted Within Me

Chuck Smith
Jonah 2:8 Forsaking Our Own Mercy John Duncan
Jonah 2:8 Lying Vanities Alexander Maclaren

Jonah 2:9. The Resurrection

J Vernon McGee
Jonah 2:10-3:4 Recommissioned (Audio) Phil Newton
Jonah 2:10 Commentary Grant Richison

JONAH 3

Jonah 3 The God of the Second Chance Rob Salvato

Jonah 3 A Man From the Dead Gives a Message to Doomed

J Vernon McGee
Jonah 3 Great to God Scott Grant
Jonah 3 Commentary NETBible Notes
Jonah 3 Commentary - Mp3 Warren Wiersbe
Jonah 3 Exposition/Commentary Notes C H Spurgeon
Jonah 3:1-10 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 3:1-4:11 Devotional Commentary
Today in the Word
Jonah 3:1 Devotional Commentary F B Meyer
Jonah 3:1 Commentary Grant Richison
Jonah 3:1-9 Revival Under Jonah W A Criswell
Jonah 3:1-9 The Revival Under Jonah Alexander Maclaren
Jonah 3:1-10 Threefold Repentance Alexander Maclaren
Jonah 3:1-4:11 Now That I'm Here I Don't Like It! Ron Ritchie
Jonah 3:2 Commentary
Jonah 3:3 Commentary
Grant Richison
Jonah 3:3 Nineveh
Jonah 3 Nineveh
John Kitto

Jonah 3:4 Jonah: A Book About God

Phil Newton
Jonah 3:4 Commentary
Jonah 3:4b Commentary
Grant Richison

Jonah 3:5-10 The Awakening, Part 1
Jonah 3:5-10 The Awakening, Part 2

Phil Newton
Jonah 3:5 Commentary
Jonah 3:6-9 Commentary
Grant Richison
Jonah 3:10 Commentary Grant Richison
Jonah 3:10-4:11 Devotional Commentary Today in the Word
Jonah 3:10-4:11: Should Not I Pity That Great City? John Piper

Jonah 3:10-4:1 People, Plants and Priorities

Alan Carr

JONAH 4

Jonah 4 The Gourd John Kitto
Jonah 4 Angry Enough to Die Scott Grant

Jonah 4 From Nineveh to the Heart of God

J Vernon McGee
Jonah 4 The Sovereignty of God Rob Salvato
Jonah 4 Commentary NETBible Notes
Jonah 4 Commentary - Mp3 Warren Wiersbe
Jonah 4 Exposition/Commentary Notes C H Spurgeon
Jonah 4:1 Commentary Grant Richison

Jonah 4:1-4 Theology Unapplied

Phil Newton
Jonah 4:2 Commentary
Jonah 4:2b Commentary
Jonah 4:2c Commentary
Jonah 4:2d Commentary
Jonah 4:2e Commentary
Jonah 4:3 Commentary
Jonah 4:3b Commentary
Jonah 4:4 Commentary
Jonah 4:5 Commentary
Grant Richison
Jonah 4:4-11 "Mis-gourded Zeal" Arise!" David Legge

Jonah 4:5-9 When God Makes His Point

Phil Newton
Jonah 4:6 Commentary
Jonah 4:7 Commentary
Jonah 4:8 Commentary
Grant Richison
Jonah 4:6-8 Devotional Commentary F B Meyer
Jonah 4:9 Commentary
Jonah 4:10 Commentary
Jonah 4:10b Commentary
Grant Richison

Jonah 4:10-11 The Wideness of Gods Mercy

James Hastings

Jonah 4:10-11 The Missionary Challenge (Audio)

Phil Newton

Henry Morris
Defender's Study Bible Notes
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Click Available Notes in Right Column
Recommended

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Robert Neighbour
Wells of Living Water Commentary
Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary

Net Bible Notes
Commentary Notes on Jonah
Note: Net Notes synch with Constable's Notes

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

James Nisbet
Church Pulpit Commentary
Jonah Commentary

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Phil Newton
Sermons on Jonah
South Woods Baptist Church
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah 1:1-3 Running from God
Jonah 1:4-9 Found Out!
Jonah 1:10-17 Divine Pursuit
Jonah 2:1-9 Lessons from the Belly of the Fish, Part 1
Jonah 2:1-9 Lessons from the Belly of the Fish, Part 2
Jonah 2:10-3:4 Recommissioned

Jonah 3:4 Jonah: A Book About God (Audio)
Jonah 3:5-10 The Awakening, Part 1
Jonah 3:5-10 The Awakening, Part 2

Jonah 4:1-4 Theology Unapplied

Jonah 4:5-9 When God Makes His Point

Jonah 4:10-11 The Missionary Challenge (Audio)

Our Daily Bread
Devotionals related to Jonah
Sermon and teaching illustrations
Radio Bible Class

Jonah 1 When God Cleans House
Jonah 1:1-10 Running from God
Jonah 1:1-11 Headed The Wrong Way?
Jonah 1:1-17 Swallowed Up

Jonah 1:1-17 Once Upon A Time

Jonah 1:1-2:2 From Peeker To Seeker

Jonah 1:2-3 Sign-Seekers
Jonah 1:3 A Ticket To Tarshish
Jonah 1:1-17 He is in Control
Jonah 1:1-17 Swallowed Up
Jonah 2:1 Strange Places
Jonah 2:1 Unusual Places
Jonah 2:1-2 In the Belly of a Fish
Jonah 2:2 Lessons from Jonah
Jonah 3:10 Anger or Applause?
Jonah 4 Elephants Down
Jonah 4 The Good And The Bad

Jonah 4 Getting It Right On The Inside
Jonah 4:1 Grieved By Grace
Jonah 4:1-10 The Trouble with Me

Arthur Peake
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Peter Pett
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Matthew Poole
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Pulpit Commentary
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Edward B Pusey
Commentary on Jonah
The Minor Prophets"
(originally published 1860)
General Introduction

James Rosscup writes "This work originally appeared in 1860. The present publication is set up in two columns to the page with the text of the Authorized Version reproduced at the top. Scripture references, Hebrew words, and other citations are relegated to the bottom of the page. The work is detailed and analytical in nature. Introduction, background and explanation of the Hebrew are quite helpful. Pusey holds to the grammatical-historical type of interpretation until he gets into sections dealing with the future of Israel, and here Israel becomes the church in the amillennial vein." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works or Logos Format)

Introduction
Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Grant Richison
Verse by Verse Commentaries
Recommended
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Introduction
Jonah 1:1 Commentary
Jonah 1:2 Commentary
Jonah 1:3 Commentary
Jonah 1:3b Commentary
Jonah 1:3c Commentary
Jonah 1:3d Commentary
Jonah 1:4 Commentary
Jonah 1:5 Commentary
Jonah 1:5b Commentary
Jonah 1:5c Commentary
Jonah 1:6 Commentary
Jonah 1:7 Commentary
Jonah 1:8 Commentary
Jonah 1:9 Commentary
Jonah 1:10 Commentary
Jonah 1:11-16 Commentary

Jonah 2:1 Commentary
Jonah 2:2 Commentary
Jonah 2:3-4 Commentary
Jonah 2:5-9 Commentary
Jonah 2:10 Commentary

Jonah 3:1 Commentary
Jonah 3:2 Commentary
Jonah 3:3 Commentary
Jonah 3:4 Commentary
Jonah 3:4b Commentary
Jonah 3:5 Commentary
Jonah 3:6-9 Commentary
Jonah 3:10 Commentary

Jonah 4:1 Commentary
Jonah 4:2 Commentary
Jonah 4:2b Commentary
Jonah 4:2c Commentary
Jonah 4:2d Commentary
Jonah 4:2e Commentary
Jonah 4:3 Commentary
Jonah 4:3b Commentary
Jonah 4:4 Commentary
Jonah 4:5 Commentary
Jonah 4:6 Commentary
Jonah 4:7 Commentary
Jonah 4:8 Commentary
Jonah 4:9 Commentary
Jonah 4:10 Commentary
Jonah 4:10b Commentary

Don Robinson
Sermon Notes
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah 1:1-17 God in Pursuit #1

Jonah 2:1-10 God in Pursuit #2

Jonah 3:1-10 God in Pursuit #3

Jonah 4:1-11 God in Pursuit #4

Jonah 1:1-3 The Cost of Saying No to God

Jonah 3:1-4 A Second Chance

Rob Salvato
Calvary Chapel, Vista, California
Commentary Notes on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah 1 The Pursuing Heart of God
Jonah 2 The Prayer of Jonah
Jonah 3 The God of the Second Chance
Jonah 4 The Sovereignty of God

C I Scofield
Commentary Notes on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Introduction
Jonah 1
Jonah 2
Jonah 3
Jonah 4

Sermon Bible Commentary
Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Sermons on Jonah
Sermons arranged by verse - click arrow to go to next sermon set

Jonah 1
Jonah 2
Jonah 3
Jonah 4

Charles Simeon
Sermons on Jonah

Horae Homileticae
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

NOTE: If you are not familiar with the great saint Charles Simeon see Dr John Piper's discussion of Simeon's life - you will want to read Simeon's sermons after meeting him! - click Brothers We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering (Mp3 even better)

Jonah 1:6 Jonah Reproved by the Mariners

Jonah 2:6 Jonah Restored from the Belly of a Fish
Jonah 2:6 Jonah's Reflections in the Whale's Belly

Jonah 3:8-10 Repentance of the Ninevites

Jonah 4:2 The Mercy of God
Jonah 4:5-9 Jonah's Gourd

Chuck Smith
Commentaries on Jonah
Calvary Chapel
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah 2 Then Jonah Prayed

Jonah 2:3 Lying Vanities

Jonah 2:7-10 When My Soul Fainted Within Me

Jonah 2:8-9 Learning An Easy Lesson the Hard Way

Jonah 2:8 The Lying Vanities

Jonah 2:8 Learning an Easy Lesson the Hard Way

Jonah 2:8 The Authenticity of the Story

Jonah 3:4,9 Who Can Tell

Jonah 3:5 The Men of Nineveh Believed God

 

Jonah 1 Commentary

Jonah 2 Commentary

Jonah 3 Commentary

Jonah 4 Commentary

Speakers Commentary
Commentary on Jonah
Indexed by Chapter and Verse

Introduction
Jonah 1:1-3 Commentary
Jonah 1:4-6 Commentary
Jonah 1:7-9 Commentary
Jonah 1:10-13 Commentary
Jonah 1:14-17 Commentary
Jonah 1:6, 8, 13 Explanatory Notes

Jonah 2:1-2 Commentary
Jonah 2:3-6 Commentary
Jonah 2:7-10 Commentary

Jonah 3:1-3 Commentary
Jonah 3:4-6 Commentary
Jonah 3:7 Commentary
Jonah 3:8-10 Commentary
Jonah 3:3, 5 Explanatory Notes

Jonah 4:1-4 Commentary
Jonah 4:5-6 Commentary
Jonah 4:7 Commentary
Jonah 4:8-10 Commentary
Jonah 4:11 Commentary

C H Spurgeon
Verse by Verse
Expository/Commentary Notes
on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

C H Spurgeon
Devotional Commentary
Morning and Evening
Faith's Checkbook

Jonah 1:3
Jonah 2:8
Jonah 4:9

C H Spurgeon
All of Spurgeon's  Sermons
Jonah

Jonah 1:3 Runaway Jonah and the Convenient Ship
Jonah 1:3 Traveling Expenses on the Two Great Roads
Jonah 1:5 Sleepers Aroused
Jonah 1:5-6 What Meanest Thou, O Sleeper?
Jonah 1:12-13 Labour in Vain

Jonah 2:4 Jonah's Resolve or Look Again
Jonah 2:7 Plain Talk Upon an Encouraging Topic

Jonah 2:7 The Fainting Soul Revived

Jonah 2:9 Salvation of the Lord
Jonah 3:4 Sermon Notes - The Ninevites' Repentance

Jonah 3:9 Who Can Tell?

Jonah 4:6-8 Jonah's Object-Lessons
Jonah 4:6-8 God's Compassion

Joseph Sutcliffe
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Ron Teed
Sermons on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Recommended

Jonah 1-2 The Unwilling Prophet
Jonah 3-4 The Gospel of the Second Chance - 31 page Pdf

Ray Stedman
Sermons on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Jonah: The Reluctant Ambassador
God Waits: Jonah, Micah

Third Millennium
Commentary on Jonah

Outline & References

Structural Outline

References and Related Resources
 

Jonah 1

Jonah's Call, Rebellion, and Repentance - Jonah 1:1-2:10

God's Great Call: Jonah Goes Down Away from the Lord - Jonah 1:1-3

God's Great Storm: Jonah Goes Down into the Water - Jonah 1:4-15

God's Great Fish: Jonah Goes Down into the Fish - Jonah 1:16-17


Jonah 2

God's Great Grace: Jonah Goes Down on His Knees in Prayer - Jonah 2:1-10

Jonah's Prayer - Jonah 2:1-9

God's Answer - Jonah 2:10


Jonah 3

God's Great Call - Jonah 3:1-10

God's Call: Jonah's Great Obedience - Jonah 3:1-4

God's Call: Nineveh's Great Repentance - Jonah 3:5-10


Jonah 4

Jonah's Great Displeasure and God's Response - Jonah 4:1-11

Jonah's Anger - Jonah 4:1-4

God's Instruction - Jonah 4:5-11

John Trapp
Commentary on Jonah

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Today in the Word
Devotional Commentary on Jonah
Moody Bible Institute

Jonah 1:1-17 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 3:1-10 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 3:1-4:11 Devotional Commentary
Jonah 3:10-4:11 Devotional Commentary

Bob Utley
Commentary on Jonah

Be discerning: Utley is Amillennial and replaces Israel with the Church. Why listed? Because he has well done grammatical (word and phrase studies) and interesting historical comments

Jonah Introduction
Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

Warren Wiersbe
Commentary on Jonah
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Mp3 Audio
Recommended
Click to listen or
Right click and select "Save Target as"
(Each audio ~ 35-40')

Jonah 1 Commentary
Jonah 2 Commentary
Jonah 3 Commentary
Jonah 4 Commentary

 

Related Resources
on Jonah

Jonah 1:1-10
January 23, 2007
Running From God
READ: Jonah 1:1-10


Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. —Jonah 1:3

Why do people run away from God? Is it because of anger, disappointment, despair, disobedience, or a web of rebellion woven from our own desires?

The book of Jonah looks at a prophet who rejected God’s call to deliver His word to the people of Nineveh. In the first chapter (vv.3,10), we read that Jonah deliberately headed for Tarshish to run away from the Lord. He knew exactly where he was going and why. After being given a second chance (3:1-2), Jonah delivered God’s message but reacted angrily when the Lord spared the repentant city (3:10–4:2).

The book ends with the Lord speaking to Jonah about His compassion: “Should I not pity Nineveh?” (4:11). But there’s no indication that the disgruntled prophet changed his attitude. The people of Nineveh repented; Jonah did not.

The story of Jonah should cause each of us to be honest about our feelings toward the Lord. Do we harbor resentment for His leniency toward people we feel deserve judgment? Have we forgotten that God has forgiven us? Are we ready to obey His call and leave the outcome to Him?

The story of Jonah illuminates our reactions to God and measures our willingness to trust Him when we can’t understand His ways. —David C. McCasland
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Sometimes it’s hard to trust the Lord
When you don’t understand;
But fight the urge to run from Him—
Reach out and take His hand. —Sper

He pleases God best who trusts Him most

Jonah 1:2-3
June 26, 2004
Sign-Seekers
READ: Luke 11:29-32


This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. —Luke 11:29

A skeptic once said to me, "I'll believe in Jesus if He comes down and appears visibly above my house." Not necessarily!

The Christ-rejecting religious leaders who requested a sign from Jesus had plenty of evidence for believing. They had undoubtedly heard of, if not seen, His miracles of healing, casting out demons, and even raising the dead. What more did they need?

Jesus therefore called them an "evil generation" (Luke 11:29). The only sign they would be given was the sign of Jonah the prophet, who had been thrown into a stormy sea (Jonah 1:2-3). When the Ninevites heard Jonah's message of repentance after he had spent 3 days in the belly of a fish, they believed God had sent him and they repented.

Likewise, the religious leaders who already knew of Jesus' words and works would soon see Him crucified and securely entombed. And in the following weeks they would hear personal testimonies from those who had seen Him alive, and had even touched Him, but they still wouldn't believe.

Today we have in the Gospels a record of what Jesus said and did, written by people who knew Him. If we are open to the truth, we have all the evidence we need to believe. We don't need to be sign-seekers.—Herbert Vander Lugt
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

If we desire to honor God,
We take Him at His Word
And ask Him not for special signs,
But trust, "Thus saith the Lord." —D. De Haan

The sign of genuine faith is faith that needs no sign.

Jonah 1:1-11
Headed The Wrong Way?

Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. --Jonah 1:3

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. So, instead of obeying God's command to go there and "cry out against it" (Jonah 1:2), he headed for the docks. A ship was about to depart, so he paid the fare and left.

A classmate of mine in seminary had a good mind and was a gifted teacher. When he was finishing seminary, some wonderful opportunities were open to him. But he wasn't sure he wanted what he thought would be "the humdrum" of a pastorate, even though he felt God wanted him to be a pastor. He was looking for something more exciting. About that time he was offered a position in a brokerage firm. There he became a successful investor.

I had coffee with him a while ago, and he expressed regret that he had not followed God's leading into the ministry. "I still think about taking a church someday," he sighed. It seems to me that when he was running from God, the ship of financial opportunity was there. He "went down into it" and, to use his words, "wasted my life."

If you believe that God is calling you to a specific task, answer yes immediately and go as quickly as you can. Don't run from God and board a ship that's going in the wrong direction. —David C. Egner
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Here is my heart, Lord Jesus,
I have but one for Thee;
Oh, let my heart be Thine alone,
Thy will be done in me. --Mick

You can never go wrong when you choose to follow Christ.

Jonah 1:3
December 30, 1999
A Ticket To Tarshish
READ: Jonah 1:1-11


Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. --Jonah 1:3

An elderly follower of Christ was talking to me about her personal journey with the Lord. At one point in her life, after a couple of terms of missionary work, she lost her enthusiasm for serving God. Although she continued to fulfill her responsibilities, she tried to flee from God. She bought a "ticket to Tarshish," to use her own words, by burying herself in reading.

Our loving and persistent God did not let this missionary just sail away from Him. As He did with Jonah, the Lord caught her attention and drew her back to Himself. She now serves Him with a willing, compassionate, and joyful heart.

Any person who serves the Lord--leader or layman--can face the temptation to "walk out" on God. Whether we feel like running away from His will, as Jonah did, or if we slowly and quietly try to escape as this reluctant missionary tried to do, we let our hearts grow cold and we silence our ears to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord will not let you "sail away to Tarshish." Right now He may be calling you back to Himself. If so, fall on your knees and cry out to God. Let Him know that you've torn up your ticket to Tarshish, and that you're returning to Him. —David C. Egner
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I've strayed, O Lord, and turned aside,
I've disobeyed Your voice;
But now contrite of heart I turn
And make Your will my choice. --D J De Haan

It's never too soon to turn back to God.

Jonah 1:1-17
June 27, 1999
He Is In Control


The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. --Proverbs 16:33

Flipping a coin, drawing straws, or taking a number out of a hat have long been ways of resolving disputes. I once read of an election in an Oklahoma town where the two leading candidates each received 140 votes. Rather than go through the expense of another election, city officials used a chance method to decide the winner, and everyone accepted the outcome. What the writer of Proverbs said proved to be true: "Casting lots causes contentions to cease, and keeps the mighty apart" (Pr. 18:18).

Many people view all of this as nothing more than a matter of chance. But the amazing thing about what the Word of God calls "casting lots" is that the Lord is ultimately the One who controls the outcome. This was true in the story of Jonah, where God showed Himself to be Lord even through the actions of superstitious, unbelieving sailors.

So, what does all of this say to us as believers? From the Christian's perspective, there is no such thing as chance. God is either directly or indirectly involved in everything that happens to us. He can therefore be trusted and obeyed in any circumstance, because even the smallest details are under His control. —Mart De Haan
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Things don't just happen to those who love God,
They're planned by His own dear hand,
Then molded and shaped, and timed by His clock;
Things don't just happen--they're planned. --Fields

God is behind the scenes and controls the scenes He is behind.

Jonah 1:1-17
June 2, 2001
Swallowed Up


When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord. --Jonah 2:7

You've probably heard the story of Jonah and the great fish. But did you know that the disobedient prophet was "swallowed up" not once but three times? Let me explain.

First, Jonah was swallowed up by prejudice. The Ninevites were a wicked and idolatrous people (Jonah 1:2), and God wanted Jonah to preach repentance to them. But Jonah wanted them to feel God's wrath (4:2), so he boarded a ship and headed in the opposite direction (1:3).

Second, Jonah was swallowed up by the sea. A wild storm was battering the boat, so the superstitious sailors cast lots to find out who was to blame, and "the lot fell on Jonah" (v.7). He said, "Throw me into the sea" (v.12). As the swirling waters engulfed him, he sank toward certain death.

Third, Jonah was swallowed up by a large fish that God had prepared to rescue him (1:17). Inside the fish 3 days, he confessed his sin and promised to obey God (2:1-9). After he was delivered, he followed God's directive and preached judgment to Nineveh, and all the people repented (3:1-5).

God sometimes allows us to face frightening circumstances so that we will learn to trust and obey Him. It's always best to obey the Lord right away—then we won't be "swallowed up." —David C. Egner
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey. —Sammis

The way of obedience is the way of blessing.
Obedience is another word for love and loyalty.

Jonah 1:3
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa.” — Jonah 1:3

Instead of going to Nineveh to preach the Word, as God bade him, Jonah disliked the work, and went down to Joppa to escape from it. There are occasions when God’s servants shrink from duty. But what is the consequence? What did Jonah lose by his conduct? He lost the presence and comfortable enjoyment of God’s love. When we serve our Lord Jesus as believers should do, our God is with us; and though we have the whole world against us, if we have God with us, what does it matter? But the moment we start back, and seek our own inventions, we are at sea without a pilot. Then may we bitterly lament and groan out, “O my God, where hast thou gone? How could I have been so foolish as to shun thy service, and in this way to lose all the bright shinings of thy face? This is a price too high. Let me return to my allegiance, that I may rejoice in thy presence.” In the next place, Jonah lost all peace of mind. Sin soon destroys a believer’s comfort. It is the poisonous upas tree, from whose leaves distil deadly drops which destroy the life of joy and peace. Jonah lost everything upon which he might have drawn for comfort in any other case. He could not plead the promise of divine protection, for he was not in God’s ways; he could not say, “Lord, I meet with these difficulties in the discharge of my duty, therefore help me through them.” He was reaping his own deeds; he was filled with his own ways. Christian, do not play the Jonah, unless you wish to have all the waves and the billows rolling over your head. You will find in the long run that it is far harder to shun the work and will of God than to at once yield yourself to it. Jonah lost his time, for he had to go to Nineveh after all. It is hard to contend with God; let us yield ourselves at once.

Jonah 1:3
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Jonah 1:3
Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

He went down to Joppa. — Sin is always a going down. Down from the heights of fellowship with God; down from the life of high and noble purpose; down from self-restraint and high endeavor. Yes, and we know we are going down; that our self-discipline is relaxed; that our holy separation from the world is slacker.

He found a ship. — Opportunity does not necessarily indicate either expediency or duty. Because the ship happened at that moment to be weighing anchor and the sails to be filled with a favoring breeze, Jonah might have argued that his resolution was a right one. Whether he did or not, there are many times in our lives when we are disposed to argue that favoring circumstances indicate the right course. But it must be remembered that they never can belie God’s summons to the soul to do his will. The court of conscience is the supreme court of appeal; and to run away from known duty cannot be right, though circumstances seem at first to smile.

He paid the fare thereof. — Yea, if we go opposite to God’s will, we always have to pay for it. The loss of self-respect, the broken piece of conscience, the deprivation of God’s blessed presence, are part of the fare. And even when we have paid and lost it all, we fail to get what we purchased; we are dropped out of our chosen vessel in mid-ocean; and God brings us back to land at his own expense, and in a ship of his own construction. The morning may be fine, but it is soon overcast: the sky may be clear at starting, but God sends a great storm after the runaways to bring them back to Himself: the ship may seem to be opportunely leaving the wharf, but disaster will over-take it.

Jonah 1:1-17
You brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. - Jonah 2:6

TODAY IN THE WORD
In Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven,” the speaker flees from God. He hides, seeks fulfillment in other things, and runs in fear from God’s overwhelming love. But as the title implies, God pursues him through the years, relentlessly and patiently.

Why? Not because the speaker in the poem is lovable or worthy or deserves God’s favor, but because God knows that he will find fulfillment and joy only in Him:

All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

Yesterday, we saw that God welcomes back the prodigal. But that’s only part of the truth. In fact, God is more aggressive–He’s always working to pursue us and woo us and discipline us back to His side. We often call people who are considering the claims of Christ “seekers,” but the truth is that God is the great Seeker. Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10; cf. Rom. 5:10).

Jonah is a classic case study in regard to this principle. There he was, a man in full-time ministry with clear directions from God about where to go and what to do, rebelliously heading in the exact opposite direction. Why did he disobey? He let his human perspective–the fact that Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the enemy of Israel–overrule God’s command. Did he really think he could run from God? When we sin, our own stubbornness and rebelliousness blind us to the truth.

How did God pursue Jonah? By means of a storm,

lots (or dice) thrown by pagan sailors, and a great fish. Notice that the prophet had the correct beliefs about God (v. 9), but this was not enough to keep him on the path of obedience. Given a second chance, Jonah took it, but his attitude still wasn’t right. At the book’s close, God was still working to teach His servant more about His love.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Now is a good time to review the “Today Along the Way” applications from earlier in the month. Is there one you skipped before, but feel like returning to now? There may even be one that you did already but feel led to do again! 
(Today in the Word. Moody Bible Institute. Used by Permission. All rights reserved)

Jonah 2:1
April 22, 2006
Strange Places
READ: Psalm 40:1-8


Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. —Jonah 2:1

Walking past my barn one day, I heard a frantic chirping inside, and upon investigation I found a bluejay beating its wings against the glass pane of the window. Had it not cried and squawked, I would not have heard it. But its plaintive note prompted me to open the door wide and the jay flew out to liberty.

That bluejay was in a strange place for a bird; and Jonah found himself in a strange place for a human being. Because of his disobedience, Jonah was cast into the sea, swallowed by a sea monster and trapped in its belly. Although it was Jonah’s own fault that he was there, God was also there to hear his prayer. And when he confessed, God delivered him.

God’s children sometimes get themselves into some strange places and unhappy circumstances because of their folly. Are you in a strange place today? Are you out of fellowship with the Lord, defeated, unhappy? Then cry out to God, confess your sin, and be restored by His abundant mercy (1 John 1:9). God is waiting to hear your faintest cry and accept your repentance.

Maybe through your own foolish choices you’re in a strange place today—but He is with you and waiting to hear your cry. Don’t wait another day. —M. R. De Haan
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When I ceased my vain endeavor
And to Jesus yielded all,
Then He came, the Overcomer,
Conquering foes both great and small. —Complin

When you’re in the wrong place,
God always has the right answer.

Jonah 2:1
Unusual Places
READ: Psalm 40:1-8

Walking past my barn one day, I heard a frantic chirping inside. When I investigated, I found a poor blue jay beating its wings against the window. Had it not cried and chirped, I would not have heard, but its cry for help prompted me to come, open the door wide, and allow it to fly out to freedom.

God's children get themselves into some unusual places and unhappy circumstances. Consider the following incidents:

Jonah in a fish's belly, running from God (Jonah 2:1)

David in enemy territory, acting insane (1Sa 21:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

Abram in Egypt, lying about his wife (Gen. 12:10, 11, 12, 13)

Lot in Sodom, living with the wicked (Ge 13:12,13)

Elijah in the desert, wallowing in self-pity (1Ki. 19:4)

Peter in a courtyard, denying his Lord (Lk 22:55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62)

God's children should not be found in such circumstances, but all too often they are.

Are you in a place you shouldn't be today? Are you far from God, feeling defeated, trapped, and unhappy? Then cry out to the Lord, confess your sin, and be restored by His abundant mercy (1Jn. 1:9). He is waiting to hear your cry of repentance. — M. R. De Haan
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

There is only One who knows
All the answers to my woes;
He will all my needs supply
When in faith to Him I cry. --Morgan

No place is beyond the reach of God's grace.

Jonah 2:1-2
In The Belly Of A Fish

Jonah must have been very uncomfortable in the belly of the fish. Yet there are many people in this dark and suffocating world who seem to think that the place they find themselves is a pretty good place to be. They believe that the world needs only a few social and political improvements. And they also hold that people themselves possess the ability to make all the needed changes.

But this is not the testimony of the Word of God, for it says that "the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1Jn. 5:19). It certainly is not the testimony of the Spirit of truth, for He has come to "convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (Jn 16:8). The primary mission of the church is not to introduce social and political changes into the world, but to proclaim salvation as the way out.

Jonah was not so foolish as to suppose that God would make him a little more comfortable in the fish's belly, but he looked for deliverance out of it. He cried to the Lord, and the Lord heard him.

We are not to look for perfection in this world but to look forward to the time when Christ will recreate the world and bring in everlasting righteousness. — M. R. De Haan

I am a stranger here within a foreign land,
My home is far away upon the golden strand;
Ambassador to be of realms beyond the sea;
I'm here on business for my King. --Cassel

Our main business in this world
is to lay up treasure in heaven.

Jonah 2:2
Lessons From Jonah
Our Daily Bread

The story of Jonah is one of the most discussed and fascinating accounts in the Bible. But for all the debate, one thing is sure: Jonah did a lot of soul-searching in that smelly underwater hotel.

All of us can identify. Sometimes life just goes badly. When it does, like Jonah we need to ask ourselves some hard questions.

Is there sin in my life? In light of Jonah’s blatant disobedience, God had to do something drastic to catch his attention and lead him to repentance.

What can I learn from this situation? The wicked people of Nineveh were enemies of God’s people. Jonah thought they should be judged and not given a second chance. He obviously needed a lesson in sharing God’s compassion for the lost. “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster” (Jonah 3:10).

Can I display God’s glory in this? Often our suffering is not about us but about people seeing the power of God working through our weakness. Jonah found himself in a helpless situation, yet God used him to lead a pagan nation to repentance.

Next time you find yourself in a “belly-of-a-whale” problem, don’t forget to ask the hard questions. It could mean the difference between despair and deliverance. — Joe Stowell
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

For Further Study
For an in-depth study of the fascinating account of Jonah,
read
The Failure Of Success: The Story Of Jonah

We learn lessons in the school of suffering
that we can learn in no other way.

Jonah 2:4
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Jonah 2:4 I am cast out from before thine eyes; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. (r.v.)

That is well, O truant soul. Look again from where thou art! Thou art in the heart of the seas; the flood of sorrow enwraps thee; storms of trouble are sweeping over thee—but look again toward his holy temple. All that sorrow has been sent to bring thee back from thy wanderings, and cause thee to look again. Thou couldest not look so long as thy back was towards the will of God, and thy face towards Tarshish; but now thou art turned again, and art on thy way back, thou mayest look again in the direction of the altar and its sacrifice, the High Priest and his mediation. Look again. Look off unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Faith. Do not wait till thou hast come into a better vantage-point for vision, but look again from thy position in the lowest depths.

Look again! God invites thee, too. Though thou hast turned thy back on Him these many years, He waits to be gracious; his face is wreathed in tenderest, yearning love. One look the least, the most abashed, from the greatest distance, will be eagerly noticed and instantly reciprocated. “They looked unto Him and were lightened” — so wilt thou be. And He will bring up thy life from the pit. Does thy soul faint within thee? — then remember the Lord. Let there be but one yearning desire for Him, and it will come in unto Him as a prayer to his holy temple.

Look again! in spite of as remonstrances of thine heart. “I said.” The heart is always saying: I am too vile; I have sinned too deeply; I have gone too far; I have so often fallen and returned, I am ashamed to come again: besides, are there not texts about never forgiveness, and impossible to renew to repentance? I said: Yet, look again!

Jonah 2:8
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“Salvation is of the Lord.” — Jonah 2:9

Salvation is the work of God. It is he alone who quickens the soul “dead in trespasses and sins,” and it is he also who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “Alpha and Omega.” “Salvation is of the Lord.” If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God’s gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because he upholds me with his hand. I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, that is my own; but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord’s strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who liveth in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God’s chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He only is my rock and my salvation.” Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven’s hills: without Jesus I can do nothing. As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet: “Salvation is of the Lord.”

Jonah 3:1
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

Jonah 3:1 The word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time.

We must not presume on this, but we may take it to our hearts for their very great comfort. God’s word may come to us “the second time.” Jonah evaded it the first time; but he was permitted to have a second opportunity of obeying it. Thus it was with Peter; he failed to realize the Lord’s ideal in the first great trial of his apostolic career, but the Lord met him on the shores of the lake, and his word came to him a second time.

God is not waiting to notice our first failure and thrust us from his service. He waits, with eager desire, to give us the joy and honor of being fellow-laborers with Himself. He waits to be gracious. Therefore, when in our madness we refuse to do his bidding, and rush off in another direction, He brings us back, amid bitter experiences, and says, “Go again to Nineveh with the message that I gave thee originally.”

How many times He will do this I do not dare to say. He forgives indefinitely, unto seventy times seven; but how often He will re-entrust the sacred message and mission, it is not for me to say. But there is, without doubt, a limit beyond which He cannot go, lest our own character suffer, and the interests of other souls, who may be dissuaded from obedience by our example, should be imperiled.

How wonderful it is that God should employ us at all! Yet it is like his work in nature. He is ever calling men to co-operate with Himself. He lays the coal up in mines, but man must excavate: He puts the flowers in the wilds, but man cultivates them: He gives the water, but man irrigates the fields. So He longs over Nineveh, but summons sinful men to carry his word.

Jonah 3:1-10
Go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it. . . . Should I not be concerned about that great city? - Jonah 1:2; 4:11

TODAY IN THE WORD
In 430, Patrick, a young Roman Briton, was carried off by Irish raiders to be a slave. At the time he was a nominal Christian, but he turned to God in earnest in the midst of his suffering. “I would pray constantly during the daylight hours,” he later said. “The love of God and the fear of Him surrounded me more and more.” After six years, he escaped.

Years later, Patrick had a dream in which he received a call to evangelize Ireland, the country in which he’d been enslaved. At that time, Ireland was pagan and idolatrous, a difficult place to serve. Patrick faced fierce opposition from druids and wrote, “Daily I expect murder, fraud, or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven.”

Called to witness to his enemies, Patrick obeyed. But when Jonah was called to do the same, he ran.

Where was Nineveh (see notes)? This ancient city, with a population of 120,000 (Jonah 4:11) and an area of about sixty square miles, was the capital of Assyria, a world power and chief enemy of Israel. Jonah ran away not because he was afraid to take a message of judgment there, but because he was afraid the people would repent and God would relent and forgive them (Jonah 4:1, 2, 3). He understood God’s character well (Jonah 4:10; cf. Jer 18:7, 8, 9, 10)!

The Ninevites did indeed respond to Jonah’s preaching. They fasted and wore sackcloth to demonstrate humility and repentance before God (v. 5). The essence of repentance is a changed heart and life, as the king’s proclamation recognizes: “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence” (v. 8).

God gave both the Ninevites and Jonah a second chance; His love is infinite, reaching out even to those who oppose Him (Matt. 5:44–45; Rom. 5:10). Later, in an example which must have galled the Pharisees, Jesus used the Ninevites as an example of repentance in response to God’s love (Matt. 12:41).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Here’s a question for reflection: Would you share the gospel with your enemies? You may not think that you have actual “enemies.” To identify the people in your life who may be your “Ninevites,” think of people whom you dislike or at least those you tend to avoid. Are you willing to share God’s love with them? Do you desire to spend eternity with them? Can you think of specific ways, in word or in action, to communicate the love of Christ to them? What you do with your answers to these questions is between you and God. 
(Today in the Word. Moody Bible Institute. Used by Permission. All rights reserved)

Jonah 3:1-4:11

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? . . . Am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? - Ezekiel 18:23

At the height of the Soviet Union's power, it controlled territory from the Baltics to the Balkans, and controlled a circle of Central Asian republics. Soviet troops often used brutal tactics to suppress challenges to Soviet domination. For residents who lived in Soviet satellite countries, the Soviets were feared and hated. Yet believers from countries such as Romania and Poland risked their lives to bring the gospel into the heart of the Soviet Union.

Although most people only think about Jonah and his encounters with a big fish, this book is a compelling example of God's love for even the most hated of nations. Assyria at that time was known for its gruesome cruelty. Assyrians were so proud of their ability to terrorize that they left numerous monuments boasting of their sadistic practices. To the average Israelite, the most logical object of God's wrath would be Nineveh. It's no wonder, then, that Jonah felt that he had to run from God's call. If he went to Nineveh, he was sure to be killed; and even if he were successful in his mission, no one would rejoice at home that anything good had happened to these hated people.

After much resistance, Jonah went to Nineveh, and the results of his preaching were nothing short of miraculous (Jonah 3:5, 10). The Lord's concern for Nineveh shows that His love was not confined to a particular nation or place. This is the most likely reason why Jonah tried to run away. It was unthinkable to him that God could love even the Assyrians. In Jonah's mind, these people deserved God's wrath because of all they had done. But, apart from God's intervention, all people are deserving of His wrath. God's heart is that all people might repent and turn toward Him.

Jonah was a very human prophet. God's ways were difficult for him to understand—and he was not afraid to let God know that. But God's response to Jonah cut to the core: Jonah cared more about his comfort than the fate of a 120,000 people.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - The book of Jonah forces us to ask some hard questions. Are we like Jonah and become angry if God extends mercy to those who we feel deserve judgment? Perhaps this is how we feel about outreach to hardened criminals or prayer for terrorists. Or are we going to takes God's perspective, which asks, “Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Jonah pushes us to see how great God's love is for all nations and peoples, even those whom we consider enemies deserving His wrath.
(Today in the Word. Moody Bible Institute. Used by Permission. All rights reserved)

Jonah 3:10-4:11

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” - Jonah 4:9

In recent years, educational studies have discovered that different people have different styles of learning. Some learn best through verbal interaction--in lectures or books. Others learn visually--seeing images or symbols helps them to remember or communicate information. Still others learn experientially, interacting with physical materials or environments in order to understand them.

Jonah, it would seem, is an experiential learner. This reluctant prophet only learns when God places him in live-action parables. In growing and withering the vine, for example, God leads Jonah in an experience of grace in order to explain His mercy for the Ninevites.

Jonah knows God is gracious. Indeed, it angers Him (Jonah 4:2). He doesn’t want God to show grace to the Gentile Ninevites, but only to Israel. God’s question to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry?” suggests that Jonah doesn’t understand the nature of grace. His response to the gift of the vine confirms this; God graciously shelters Jonah from the desert sun, but when the vine withers, Jonah is angry again.

This time he justifies his anger (Jonah 4:9). He asserts his right to shade in the desert; he asserts his “right” to grace. But God tells Jonah the vine was a gift, just as much as His mercy on the Ninevites is a gift. Neither the sheltering vine (a means of grace in the desert) nor the forgiveness of God can be earned, only received.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Jonah tried to limit God’s mercy to others, but demanded it as a right for himself. His attitude is worth pondering. Are we sometimes the “reluctant prophets”? Do we hoard God’s kindness to ourselves? Or are we willing to testify to His mercy to whomever He sends us? Today, like Samuel, say to the Lord, “Here I am, send me.” Ask for an opportunity this week to speak of God’s kindness to someone you may have previously been reluctant to talk to. Then wait and see whom God will bring your way and follow God’s leading.

Anger Or Applause?
READ: Jonah 3:10-4:11

How do we react when God shows mercy to people we think deserve punishment? If we are resentful, it may indicate that we have forgotten how much the Lord has forgiven us.

After Jonah followed God's second call to preach His coming judgment on Nineveh (Jonah 3:1, 2, 3, 4), the people of the city turned from their evil lifestyle, so the Lord did not destroy them (Jonah 3:10). God's mercy made Jonah angry. He told God he had been afraid this would happen, and that's why he fled to Tarshish in the first place. "I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, . . . One who relents from doing harm" (Jonah 4:2).

But the Lord said to Jonah, "Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons?" (Jonah 4:11).

God's marvelous grace is greater than all our sin. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Ep 2:8). Because of His grace to us, we should "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave [us]" (Jonah 4:32).

Instead of being angry when God is merciful, we should applaud. — David C. McCasland
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What love the Father has bestowed on me!
For this I cannot help but thankful be;
I read His Word, His promises embrace,
And daily praise Him for His matchless grace. —Hess

We can stop showing mercy to others
when Christ stops showing mercy to us.

Elephants Down
Read Jonah 4:1-10

When rainy-season storms caused flooding in a nature preserve in Thailand, seven elephant calves became unlikely victims. As they tried to ford a river at their usual crossing point, dangerous currents swept them over a 250-foot waterfall. Wildlife advocates said the loss could have been prevented. A spokesperson for the Thailand Wildlife Fund complained that the protective barriers, which had been built at the crossing where four other young elephants had died earlier, were useless.

Long before animal rights became a global issue, the story of Jonah shows the attention our Creator gives to all His creatures. As the story ends, the Lord expresses concern not only for the citizens of Nineveh but also for their livestock (Jonah 4:11). And earlier, God gave Moses laws that extended certain protections even to animals (Ex. 23:4, 5,12).

Though humans alone are made in the image of God, the story of Jonah and other Bible texts show a link between caring for people and animals. The Creator gives us reason to provide appropriate, though different, attention to both.

The conclusion seems clear. If God cares even for livestock, how can we ignore the needs of any person for whom His Son died? — Mart De Haan

In trees and flowers of the field,
In creatures large and small,
We trace the watchful care of Him
Who planned and made them all. —King

God cares for us and
calls us to care for His creation.

The Trouble With Me
READ: Jonah 4:1-10

Selfishness comes in many forms, and we are all prone to it. I was reminded of this while driving on a toll road. My wife Ginny and I were hoping to get home early that evening, but a traffic jam held us up for almost 2 hours.

Although Ginny mentioned that there may have been a serious accident up ahead, I gave this little thought and kept grumbling about the delay. But when the traffic began to flow again, we saw six mangled cars next to the highway. A wave of conviction swept over me. "Forgive me, Lord," I prayed, "and please help the victims and their families."

The Bible gives many examples of selfish attitudes. Jonah was upset because a worm had destroyed a vine that shaded him from the scorching sun (Jonah 4:9). Yet he didn't care that many men, women, and children in Nineveh might be destroyed.

In Mark 10:37, we read that two disciples selfishly asked for positions of power in Christ's coming kingdom. And in Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church, we see many examples of selfish behavior (Jonah 1:10; 3:3; 5:1; 6:6, 7, 8; 11:21).

God calls us to put the good of others ahead of our selfish desires (1Cor 10:24). Forgive us, Lord, and help us to do just that! — Herbert Vander Lugt
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O Lord, how often selfishness
Will raise its ugly head,
So help us, Lord, to conquer it
And show Your love instead. —D. De Haan

The heart of our problem is selfishness in our heart.

Jonah 4:1
February 28, 2002
Grieved By Grace
READ: Jonah 3:10-4:11

It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. --Jonah 4:1

In his book The Divine Intruder, James Edwards portrays the prophet Jonah as a man who was grieved by the grace of God. Jonah had been told by God to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, but he believed that the wicked city deserved to be destroyed for its brutality and cruelty, not pardoned.

After a futile attempt to run away from God, Jonah finally obeyed and proclaimed judgment on Nineveh. Then the unthinkable happened—the people repented.

Greatly angered, Jonah poured out his frustration to the Lord: "I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm" (Jonah 4:2).

Like Jonah, we may feel that certain people deserve God's judgment, not His forgiveness. Because of what they've done to us or those we love, we can't hope anything but the worst for them. James Edwards reminds us, however, that the story of Jonah ultimately points a finger at us. He asks, "Will we bind God by our judgments, or will we free God to transform our enemies—even ourselves—by grace?"

God calls us to reach out to the people in our lives to whom He longs to show His love and mercy. —David C. McCasland 
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

To pray that God will save our foes
Is difficult to do
Until we recognize that we
Deserve God's judgment too. —Sper

You can stop showing mercy to others
when God stops showing mercy to you.
(cp Mt 6:12-
note, Mt 6:14, 15-note)

Jonah 4:6-8
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Jonah 4:6-8 The Lord prepared.

This book is full of this word prepared. We are told that the Lord prepared a great fish, a gourd, a worm, and a sultry east wind.

He prepares the fish (Jonah 1:17). — When we are at our wits’ end, apparently going to destruction, He interposes and arrests our progress, and brings us back again to Himself.

He prepares the gourd, that it may come up to be a shadow to our heads, and deliver us from our evil case. The gourd of friendship, of property, of some cherished and successful achievement. Ah, how glad we are for these gourds; though not always sufficiently quick to attribute them to the loving providence of our Heavenly Father.

He prepares the worm, and the east wind. — Jonah would have regarded Nineveh’s destruction with equanimity, whilst he mourned over his gourd; and there was no way of awakening him to the true state of the case than by letting worm and east wind do their work. He must be taught that what the gourd was to himself, Nineveh was to God. Yea, it was more; because God had labored for it, and made it to grow through long centuries (Jonah 4:11).

How often our gourds are allowed to perish, to teach us these deep lessons. In spite of all we can do to keep them green, their leaves turn more and more sere and yellow, until they droop and die. And when they lie prone in the dust, the east wind is let forth from the Almighty hand—the malign breath from which the gourd would have delivered us. O child of God, fainting in the east wind, do not ask to die; but get thee to the blue misty shadow of the great Rock in a weary land; to the Man who is a shadow from the heat.

Jonah 4:9
Morning and Evening
C H Spurgeon

“God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?” — Jonah 4:9

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, “Doest thou well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “YES.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “NO.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature? Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” said he, “but the fruit will not be crabs.” We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

Jonah 1:1-17
Guilty Silence and Its Reward
Alexander Maclaren

Jonah was apparently an older contemporary of Hosea and Amos. The Assyrian power was looming threateningly on the northern horizon, and a flash or two had already broken from that cloud. No doubt terror had wrought hate and intenser narrowness. To correct these by teaching, by an instance drawn from Assyria itself, God’s care for the Gentiles and their susceptibility to His voice, was the purpose of Jonah’s mission. He is a prophet of Israel, because the lesson of his history was for them, though his message was for Nineveh. He first taught by example the truth which Jesus proclaimed in the synagogue of Nazareth, and Peter learned on the housetop at Joppa, and Paul took as his guiding star. A truth so unwelcome and remote from popular belief needed emphasis when first proclaimed; and this singular story, as it were, underlines it for the generation which heard it first. Its place would rather have been among the narratives than the prophets, except for this aspect of it. So regarded, Jonah becomes a kind of representative of Israel; and his history sets forth large lessons as to its function among the nations, its unwillingness to discharge it, the consequences of disobedience, and the means of return to a better mind.

Note then, first, the Prophet’s unwelcome charge. There seems no sufficient reason for doubting the historical reality of Jonah’s mission to Nineveh; for we know that intercourse was not infrequent, and the silence of other records is, in their fragmentary condition, nothing wonderful. But the fact that a prophet of Israel was sent to a heathen city, and that not to denounce destruction except as a means of winning to repentance, declared emphatically God’s care for the world, and rebuked the exclusiveness which claimed Him for Israel alone. The same spirit haunts the Christian Church, and we have all need to ponder the opposite truth, till our sympathies are widened to the width of God’s universal love, and we discern that we are bound to care for all men, since He does so.

Jonah sullenly resolved not to obey God’s voice. What a glimpse into the prophetic office that gives us! The divine Spirit could be resisted, and the Prophet was no mere machine, but a living man who had to consent with his devoted will to bear the burden of the Lord. One refused, and his refusal teaches us how superb and self-sacrificing was the faithfulness of the rest. So we have each to do in regard to God’s message intrusted to us. We must bow our wills, and sink our prejudices, and sacrifice our tastes, and say, ‘Here am I; send me.’

Jonah represents the national feelings which he shared. Why did he refuse to go to Nineveh? Not because he was afraid of his life, or thought the task hopeless. He refused because he feared success. God’s goodness was being stretched rather too far, if it was going to take in Nineveh. Jonah did not want it to escape. If he had been sent to destroy it, he would probably have gone gladly. He grudged that heathen should share Israel’s privileges, and probably thought that gain to Nineveh would be loss to Israel. It was exactly the spirit of the prodigal’s elder brother. There was also working in him the concern for his own reputation, which would be damaged if the threats he uttered turned out to be thunder without lightning, by reason of the repentance of Nineveh.

Israel was set among the nations, not as a dark lantern, but as the great lampstand in the Temple court proclaimed, to ray out light to all the world. Jonah’s mission was but a concrete instance of Israel’s charge. The nation was as reluctant to fulfil the reason of its existence as the Prophet was. Both begrudged sharing privileges with heathen dogs, both thought God’s care wasted, and neither had such feelings towards the rest of the world as to be willing to be messengers of forgiveness to them. All sorts of religious exclusiveness, contemptuous estimates of other nations, and that bastard patriotism which would keep national blessings for our own country alone, are condemned by this story. In it dawns the first faint light of that sun which shone at its full when Jesus healed the Canaanite’s daughter, or when He said, ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.’

Note, next, the fatal consequences of refusal to obey the God-given charge. We need not suppose that Jonah thought that he could actually get away from God’s presence. Possibly he believed in a special presence of God in the land of Israel, or, more probably, the phrase means to escape from service. At any rate, he determined to do his flight thoroughly. Tarshish was, to a Hebrew, at the other end of the world from Nineveh. The Jews were no sailors, and the choice of the sea as means of escape indicates the obstinacy of determination in Jonah.

The storm is described with a profusion of unusual words, all apparently technical terms, picked up on board, just as Luke, in the only other account of a storm in Scripture, has done. What a difference between the two voyages! In the one, the unfaithful prophet is the cause of disaster, and the only sluggard in the ship. In the other, the Apostle, who has hazarded his life to proclaim his Lord, is the source of hope, courage, vigour, and safety. Such are the consequences of silence and of brave speech for God. No wonder that the fugitive Prophet slunk down into some dark corner, and sat bitterly brooding there, self-accused and condemned, till weariness and the relief of the tension of his journey lulled him to sleep. It was a stupid and heavy sleep. Alas for those whose only refuge from conscience is oblivion!

Over against this picture of the insensible Prophet, all unaware of the storm (which may suggest the parallel insensibility of Israel to the impending divine judgments), is set the behaviour of the heathen sailors, or ‘salts,’ as the story calls them. Their conduct is part of the lesson of the book; for, heathen as they are, they have yet a sense of dependence, and they pray; they are full of courage, battling with the storm, jettisoning the cargo, and doing everything possible to save the ship. Their treatment of Jonah is generous and chivalrous. Even when they hear his crime, and know that the storm is howling like a wild beast for him, they are unwilling to throw him overboard without one more effort; and when at last they do it, their prayer is for forgiveness, inasmuch as they are but carrying out the will of Jehovah. They are so much touched by the whole incident that they offer sacrifices to the God of the Hebrews, and are, in some sense, and possibly but for a time, worshippers of Him.

All this holds the mirror up to Israel, by showing how much of human kindness and generosity, and how much of susceptibility for the truth which Israel had to declare, lay in rude hearts beyond its pale. This crew of heathen of various nationalities and religions were yet men who could be kind to a renegade Prophet, peril their lives to save his, and worship Jehovah. ‘I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,’ is the same lesson in another form. We may find abundant opportunities for learning it; for the characters of godless men, and of some among the heathen, may well shame many a Christian.

Jonah’s conduct in the storm is no less noble than his former conduct had been base. The burst of the tempest blew away all the fog from his mind, and he saw the stars again. His confession of faith; his calm conviction that he was the cause of the storm; his quiet, unhesitating command to throw him into the wild chaos foaming about the ship; his willing acceptance of death as the wages of his sin, all tell how true a saint he was in the depth of his soul. Sorrow and chastisement turn up the subsoil. If a man has any good in him, it generally comes to the top when he is afflicted and looks death in the face. If there is nothing but gravel beneath, it too will be brought up by the plough. There may be much selfish unfaithfulness overlying a real devoted heart.

Jonah represented Israel here too, both in that the consequence of the national unfaithfulness and greedy, exclusive grasp of their privileges would lead to their being cast into the roaring waves of the sea of nations, amid the tumult of the peoples, and in that, for them as for him, the calamity would bring about a better mind, the confession of their faith, and acknowledgment of their sin. The history of Israel was typified in this history, and the lessons it teaches are lessons for all churches, and for all God’s children for all time. If we shirk our duty of witnessing for Him, or any other of His plain commands, unfaithfulness will be our ruin. The storm is sure to break where His Jonahs try to hide, and their only hope lies in bowing to the chastisement and consenting to be punished, and avowing whose they are and whom they serve. If we own Him while the storm whistles round us, the worst of it is past, and though we have to struggle amid its waves, He will take care of us, and anything is possible rather than that we should be lost in them.

The miracle of rescue is the last point. Jonah’s repentance saved his life. Tossed overboard impenitent he would have been drowned. So Israel was taught that the break-up of their national life would not be their destruction if they turned to the Lord in their calamity. The wider lesson of the means of making chastisement into blessing, and securing a way of escape—namely, by owning the justice of the stroke, and returning to duty—is meant for us all. He who sends the storm watches its effect on us, and will not let His repentant servants be utterly overwhelmed. That is a better use to make of the story than to discuss whether any kind of known Mediterranean fish could swallow a man. If we believe in miracles, the question need not trouble us. And miracle there must be, not only in the coincidence of the fish and the Prophet being in the same bit of sea at the same moment, but in his living for so long in his strange ‘ark of safety.’

The ever-present providence of God, the possible safety of the nation, even when in captivity, the preservation of every servant of God who turns to the Lord in his chastisement, the exhibition of penitence as the way of deliverance, are the purposes for which the miracle was wrought and told. Flippant sarcasms are cheap. A devout insight yields a worthy meaning. Jesus Christ employed this incident as a symbol of His Death and Resurrection. That use of it seems hard to reconcile with any view but that the story is true. But it does not seem necessary to suppose that our Lord regarded it as an intended type, or to seek to find in Jonah’s history further typical prophecy of Him. The salient point of comparison is simply the three days’ entombment; and it is rather an illustrative analogy than an intentional prophecy. The subsequent action of the Prophet in Nineveh, and the effect of it, were true types of the preaching of the Gospel by the risen Lord, through His servants, to the Gentiles, and of their hearing the Word. But it requires considerable violence in manipulation to force the bestowing of Jonah, for safety and escape from death, in the fish’s maw, into a proper prophecy of the transcendent fact of the Resurrection.

Jonah 2:8
Lying Vanities

‘They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.’— JONAH 2:8 .

Jonah’s refusal to obey the divine command to go to Nineveh and cry against it is best taken, not as prosaic history, but as a poetical representation of Israel’s failure to obey the divine call of witnessing for God. In like manner, his being cast into the sea and swallowed by the great fish, is a poetic reproduction, for homiletical purposes, of Israel’s sufferings at the hands of the heathen whom it had failed to warn. The song which is put into Jonah’s mouth when in the fish’s belly, of which our text is a fragment, represents the result on the part of the nation of these hard experiences. ‘Lying vanities’ mean idols, and ‘their own mercy’ means God. The text is a brief, pregnant utterance of the great truth which had been forced home to Israel by sufferings and exile, that to turn from Jehovah to false gods was to turn from the sure source of tender care to lies and emptiness. That is but one case of the wider truth that an ungodly life is the acme of stupidity, a tragic mistake, as well as a great sin.

In confirmation and enforcement of our text we may consider:—

I. The illusory vanity of the objects pursued.

The Old Testament tone of reference to idols is one of bitter contempt. Its rigid monotheism was intensified and embittered by the universal prevalence of idolatry; and there is a certain hardness in its tone in reference to the gods of the nations round about, which has little room for pity, and finds expression in such names as those of our text—‘vanities,’ ‘lies,’ ‘nothingness,’ and the like. To the Jew, encompassed on all sides by idol-worshippers, the alternative was vehement indignation or entire surrender. The Mohammedan in British India exhibits much the same attitude to Vishnu and Siva as the Jew did to Baal and Ashtoreth. It is easy to be tolerant of dead gods, but it becomes treason to Jehovah to parley with them when they are alive.

But the point which we desire to insist upon here is somewhat wider than the vanity of idols. It is the emptiness of all objects of human pursuit apart from God. These last three words need to be made very prominent; for in itself ‘every creature of God is good,’ and the emptiness does not inhere in themselves, but first appears when they are set in His place. He, and only He, can, and does, satisfy the whole nature—is authority for the will, peace for the conscience, love for the heart, light for the understanding, rest for all seeking. He, and He alone, can fill the past with the light in which is no regret, the present with a satisfaction rounded and complete, the future with a hope certain as experience, to which we shall ever approximate, and which we can never exhaust and outgrow. Any, or all, the other objects of human endeavour may be won, and yet we may be miserable. The inadequacy of all these ought to be pressed home upon us more than it is, not only by their limitations whilst they last, but by the transiency of them all. ‘The fashion of this world passeth away,’ as the Apostle John puts it, in a forcible expression which likens all this frame of things to a panorama being unwound from one roller and on to another. The painted screen is but paint at the best, and is in perpetual motion, which is not arrested by the vain clutches of hands that would fain stop the irresistible and tragic gliding past.

These vanities are ‘lying vanities.’ There is only one aim of life which, being pursued and attained, fulfils the promises by which it drew man after it. It is a bald commonplace, reiterated not only by preachers but by moralists of every kind, and confirmed by universal experience, that a hope fulfilled is a hope disappointed. There is only one thing more tragic than a life which has failed in its aims, and it is a life which has perfectly succeeded in them, and has found that what promised to be bread turns to ashes. The word of promise may be kept to the ear, but is always broken to the hope. Many a millionaire loses the power to enjoy his millions by the very process by which he gains them. The old Jewish thinker was wise not only in taking as the summing up of all worldly pursuits the sad sentence, ‘All is vanity,’ but in putting it into the lips of a king who had won all he sought. The sorceress draws us within her charmed circle by lying words and illusory charms, and when she has so secured the captives, her mask is thrown off and her native hideousness displayed.

II. The hard service which lying vanities require.

The phrase in our text is a quotation, slightly altered, from Psalm xxxi. 6 : ‘I hate them that regard lying vanities; but I trust in the Lord.’ The alteration in the form of the verb as it occurs in Jonah expresses the intensity of regard, and gives the picture of watching with anxious solicitude, as the eyes of a servant turned to his master, or those of a dog to its owner. The world is a very hard master, and requires from its servants the concentration of thought, heart, and effort. We need only recall the thousand sermons devoted to the enforcement of ‘the gospel of getting on,’ which prosperous worldlings are continually preaching. A chorus of voices on every side of us is dinning into the ears of every young man and woman the necessity for success in life’s struggle of taking for a motto, ‘This one thing I do.’ How many a man is there, who in the race after wealth or fame, has flung away aspirations, visions of noble, truthful love to life, and a hundred other precious things? Browning tells a hideous story of a mother flinging, one after another, her infants to the wolves as she urged her sledge over the snowy plain. No less hideous, and still more maiming, are the surrenders that men make when once their hearts have been filled with the foolish ambitions of worldly success. Let us fix it in our minds, that nothing that time and sense can give is worth the price that it exacts.

‘It is only heaven that can be had for the asking;
It is only God that is given away.’

All sin is slavery. Its yoke presses painfully on the neck, and its burden is heavy indeed, and the rest which it promises never comes.

III. The self-inflicted loss.

Our text suggests that there are two ways by which we may learn the folly of a godless life—One, the consideration of what it turns to, the other, the thought of what it departs from.

‘They forsake their own Mercy,’ that is God. The phrase is here almost equivalent to ‘His name’; and it carries the blessed thought that He has entered into relations with every soul, so that each man of us—even if he have turned to ‘lying vanities’—can still call Him, ‘my own Mercy.’ He is ours; more our own than is anything without us. He is ours, because we are made for Him, and He is all for us. He is ours by His love, and by His gift of Himself in the Son of His love. He is ours; if we take Him for ours by an inward communication of Himself to us in the innermost depths of our being. He becomes ‘the Master-Light of all our seeing.’ In the mysterious inwardness of mutual possession, the soul which has given itself to God and possesses Him, has not only communion, but may even venture to claim as its own the deeper and more mysterious union with God. Those multiform mercies, ‘which endure for ever,’ and speed on their manifold errands into every remotest region of His universe, gather themselves together, as the diffused lights of some nebulæ concentrate themselves into a sun. That sun, like the star that led the wise men from the East, and finally stood over one poor house in an obscure village, will shine lambent above, and will pass into, the humblest heart that opens for it. They who can say, as we all can if we will, ‘My God,’ can never want.

And if we turn to the alternative in our text, and consider who they are to whom we turn when we turn from God, there should be nothing more needed to drive home the wholesome conviction of the folly of the wisest, who deliberately prefers shadow to substance, lying vanities to the one true and only reality. I beseech you to take that which is your own, and which no man can take from you. Weigh in the scales of conscience, and in the light of the deepest necessities of your nature, the whole pile of those emptinesses that have been telling you lies ever since you listened to them; and place in the other scale the mercy of God, and the Christ who brings it to you, and decide which is the weightier, and which it becomes you to take for your pattern for ever.

Jonah 3:1-10
Threefold Repentance

This passage falls into three parts: Jonah’s renewed commission and new obedience (Jonah 3:1, 2, 3, 4), the repentance of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5, 6, 7, 8, 9), and the acceptance thereof by God (Jonah 3:10 ). We might almost call these three the repentance of Jonah, of Nineveh, and of God. The evident intention of the narrative is to parallel the Ninevites turning from their sins, and God’s turning from His anger and purpose of destruction; and if the word ‘repentance’ is not applied to Jonah, his conduct sufficiently shows the thing.

I. Note the renewed charge to the penitent Prophet, and his new eagerness to fulfil it.

His deliverance and second commission are put as if all but simultaneous, and his obedience was swift and glad. Jonah did not venture to take for granted that the charge which he had shirked was still continued to him. If God commands to take the trumpet, and we refuse, we dare not assume that we shall still be honoured with the delivery of the message. The punishment of dumb lips is often dumbness. Opportunities of service, slothfully or faintheartedly neglected, are often withdrawn. We can fancy how Jonah, brought back to the better mind which breathes in his psalm, longed to be honoured by the trust of preaching once more, and how rapturously his spirit would address itself to the task. Duties once unwelcome become sweet when we have passed through the experience of the misery that comes from neglecting them. It is God’s mercy that gives us the opportunity of effacing past disobedience by new alacrity.

The second charge is possibly distinguishable from the first as being less precise. It may be that the exact nature of ‘the preaching that I bid thee’ was not told Jonah till he had to open his mouth in Nineveh; but, more probably, the second charge was identical with the first.

The word rendered ‘preach’ is instructive. It means ‘to cry’ and suggests the manner befitting those who bear God’s message. They should sound it out loudly, plainly, urgently, with earnestness and marks of emotion in their voice. Languid whispers will not wake sleepers. Unless the messenger is manifestly in earnest, the message will fall flat. Not with bated breath, as if ashamed of it; nor with hesitation, as if not quite sure of it; nor with coldness, as if it were of little urgency,—is God’s Word to be pealed in men’s ears. The preacher is a crier. The substance of his message, too, is set forth. ‘The preaching which I bid thee’—not his own imaginations, nor any fine things of his own spinning. Suppose Jonah had entertained the Ninevites with dissertations on the evidences of his prophetic authority, or submitted for their consideration a few thoughts tending to show the agreement of his message with their current opinions in religion, or an argument for the existence of a retributive Governor of the world, he would not have shaken the city. The less the Prophet shows himself, the stronger his influence. The more simply he repeats the stern, plain, short message, the more likely it is to impress. God’s Word, faithfully set forth, will prove itself. The preacher or teacher of this day has substantially the same charge as Jonah had; and the more he suppresses himself, and becomes but a voice through which God speaks, the better for himself, his hearers, and his work.
Nineveh, that great aggregate of cities, was full, as Eastern cities are, of open spaces, and might well be a three days’ journey in circumference. What a task for that solitary stranger to thunder out his loud cry among all these crowds! But he had learned to do what he was bid; and without wasting a moment, he ‘began to enter into the city a day’s journey,’ and, no doubt, did not wait till the end of the day to proclaim his message. Let us learn that there is an element of threatening in God’s most merciful message, and that the appeal to terror and to the desire for self-preservation is part of the way to preach the Gospel. Plain warnings of coming evil may be spoken tenderly, and reveal love as truly as the most soothing words. The warning comes in time. ‘Forty days’ of grace are granted. The gospel warns us in time enough for escape. It warns us because God loves; and they are as untrue messengers of His love as of His justice who slur over the declaration of His wrath.

II. Note the repentance of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-9).

The impression made by Jonah’s terrible cry is perfectly credible and natural in the excitable population of an Eastern city, in which even now any appeal to terror, especially if associated with religious and prophetic claims, easily sets the whole in a frenzy. Think of the grim figure of this foreign man, with his piercing voice and half-intelligible speech, dropped from the clouds as it were, and stalking through Nineveh, pealing out his confident message, like that gaunt fanatic who walked Jerusalem in its last agony, crying, ‘Woe! woe unto the bloody city!’ or that other, who, with flaming fire on his head and madness in his eyes, affrighted London in the plague. No wonder that alarm was kindled, and, being kindled, spread like wildfire. Apparently the movement was first among the people, who began to fast before the news penetrated to the seclusion of the palace. But the contagion reached the king, and the popular excitement was endorsed and fanned by a royal decree. The specified tokens of repentance are those of ordinary mourning, such as were common all over the East, with only the strange addition, which smacks of heathen ideas, that the animals were made sharers in them.

There is great significance in that ‘believed God’ (Jonah 3:5). The foundation of all true repentance is crediting God’s word of threatening, and therefore realising the danger, as well as the disobedience, of our sin. We shall be wise if we pass by the human instrument, and hear God speaking through the Prophet. Never mind about Jonah, believe God.

We learn from the Ninevites what is true repentance They brought no sacrifices or offerings, but sorrow, self-abasement, and amendment. The characteristic sin of a great military power would be ‘violence,’ and that is the specific evil from which they vow to turn. The loftiest lesson which prophets found Israel so slow to learn, ‘A broken and a contrite heart Thou wilt not despise,’ was learned by these heathens. We need it no less. Nineveh repented on a peradventure that their repentance might avail. How pathetic that ‘Who can tell?’ (Jonah 3:9 ) is! We know what they hoped . Their doubt might give fervour to their cries, but our certainty should give deeper earnestness and confidence to ours.

The deepest meaning of the whole narrative is set forth in our Lord’s use of it, when He holds up the men of Nineveh as a condemnatory instance to the hardened consciences of His hearers. Probably the very purpose of the book was to show Israel that the despised and yet dreaded heathen were more susceptible to the voice of God than they were: ‘I will provoke you to jealousy by them which are no people.’ The story was a smiting blow to the proud exclusiveness and self-complacent contempt of prophetic warnings, which marked the entire history of God’s people. As Ezekiel was told: ‘Thou are not sent . . . to many peoples of a strange speech and of an hard language. . . . Surely, if I sent thee to them, they would hearken unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee.’ It is ever true that long familiarity with the solemn thoughts of God’s judgment and punishment of sin abates their impression on us. Our Puritan forefathers used to talk about ‘gospel-hardened sinners,’ and there are many such among us. The man who lives by Niagara does not hear its roar as a stranger does. The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with other generations than that which was ‘this generation’ in Christ’s time; and that which is ‘this generation’ to-day will, in many of its members, be condemned by them.

But the wave of feeling soon retired, and there is no reason to believe that more than a transient impression was made. It does not seem certain that the Ninevites knew what ‘God’ they hoped to appease. Probably their pantheon was undisturbed, and their repentance lasted no longer than their fear. Transient repentance leaves the heart harder than before, as half-melted ice freezes again more dense. Let us beware of frost on the back of a thaw. ‘Repentance which is repented of’ is worse than none.

III. We note the repentance of God (Jonah 3:10).

Mark the recurrence of the word ‘turn,’ employed in Jonah 3:8, 9, 10 in reference to men and to God. Mark the bold use of the word ‘repent,’ applied to God, which, though it be not applied to the Ninevites in the previous verses, is implied in every line of them. The same expression is found in Exodus 32:14 , which may be taken as the classical passage warranting its use. The great truth involved is one that is too often lost sight of in dealing with prophecy; namely, that all God’s promises and threatenings are conditional. Jeremiah learned that lesson in the house of the potter, and we need to keep it well in mind. God threatens, precisely in order that He may not have to perform His threatenings. Jonah was sent to Nineveh to cry, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown,’ in order that it might not be overthrown. What would have been the use of proclaiming the decree, if it had been irreversible? There is an implied ‘if’ in all God’s words. ‘Except ye repent’ underlies the most absolute threatenings of evil. ‘If we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end,’ is presupposed in the brightest and broadest promises of good.

The word ‘repent’ is denied and affirmed to have application to God. He is not ‘a son of man, that He should repent,’ inasmuch as His immutability and steadfast purpose know no variableness. But just because they cannot change, and He must ever be against them that do evil, and ever bless them that turn to Him with trust, therefore He changes His dealings with us according to our relation to Him, and because He cannot repent, or be other than He was and is, ‘repents of the evil that He had said that He would do’ unto sinners when they repent of the evil that they have done against Him, inasmuch as He leaves His threatening unfulfilled, and ‘does it not.’

So we might almost say that the purpose of this book of Jonah is to teach the possibility and efficacy of repentance, and to show how the penitent man, heathen or Jew, ever finds in God changed dealings corresponding to his changed heart. The widest charity, the humbling lesson for people brought up in the blaze of revelation, that dwellers in the twilight or in the darkness are dear to God and may be more susceptible of divine impressions than ourselves, the rebuke of all pluming ourselves on our privileges, the boundlessness of God’s mercy, are among the other lessons of this strange book; but none of them is more precious than its truly evangelic teaching of the blessedness of true penitence, whether exemplified in the renegade Prophet returning to his high mission, or the fierce Ninevites humbled and repentant, and finding mercy from the God of the whole earth.

 

DISCLAIMER: Before you consult commentaries, sermons or other resources, first consult the Word of God, studying the Scriptures diligently (2Ti 2:15-note) and inductively (See inductive Bible study) in dependence on your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
 

THOUGHTS ON
INTERPRETATION
OF PROPHETIC BOOKS

 

In regard to the OT Prophetic books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the 12 "Minor" Prophets, remember that the most accurate interpretation is derived by applying the following principles:

 

(1) Read the Scripture literally (unless the text is clearly figurative, e.g., Jesus said "I am the door..." Jn 10:9). If one interprets a text symbolically (allegorically, figuratively, spiritualizing) when that text makes good sense literally, one potentially opens themselves to the danger of inaccurate interpretation, for then the question arises as to who's "symbolic" interpretation is correct and how imaginative one should be in evaluating a "supposed symbol"? Many of the commentaries and sermons on the OT prophetic books unfortunately are replete with non-literal interpretations (except when it comes to Messianic Passages, which are usually interpreted literally). Therefore the watchword when reading any commentary on Old Testament prophecy is caveat emptor ("buyer beware"). Read all commentaries like the Bereans (Acts 17:11-note).

 

(2) Study the context which is always "king" in interpretation (don't take verses out of context.)

 

(3) Passages addressed to Israel should be interpreted as directed to the literal nation of Israel and should not be interpreted as addressed to the NT Church, an entity not mentioned in the Old Testament. The promises of Jehovah to the nation of Israel (e.g., see Millennial Promises) remain valid (Jer 31:35, 36, 37, Nu 23:19, Lk 21:33) and have not been passed on to the NT Church because Israel has "defaulted" (See study Israel of God). Remember that while Scripture has only one correct interpretation, there can be many legitimate applications (See Application), and therefore the OT prophetic books are extremely applicable in the lives of NT believers.

 

(4) Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture. While an attempt has been made to list resources that adhere to these basic interpretative guidelines, not all the works listed in these collections have been read in detail. Therefore should you discover a resource you feel is NOT conservative and/or orthodox, please email your concerns.

 

Related Resources:

 

Inductive Bible Study - Guidelines to Assure Accurate Interpretation

Inductive Bible Study Interpretation of Prophetic Scripture

Interpretative Views of the Revelation of Jesus Christ
Allegorical Interpretation - Tony Garland
Interpreting Symbols - Tony Garland
Basic Considerations in Interpreting Prophecy - John Walvoord

Millennium - Biblical descriptions of this time on earth, primarily from the OT prophets


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