OF THE BOOK OF
This book of Jonah, though it be placed here m the midst ot the prophetical books of scnpture, is yet rather a history than a prophecy; one line of prediction there is in it, Yet forty days, and JV'inn'th shall be overthrown; the rest of the book is a narrative of the preface to, and the consequences of, that prediction. In the midst of the obscure prophecies before and after this book, wherein are many things dark, and hard to be understood, which are puzzling to the learned, and are strong meat for strong men, comes in this plain and pleasant story, which is entertaining to the weakest, and milk for babes. Probably Jonah was himself the penman of this book, and he, as Moses and other inspired penmen records his own faults, whicli is an evidence that in these writings they designed God's glory, and not their own. We read nf this same Jonah, 2 Kings xiv. 25. where we find tliat he was of Gath-hepher in Galilee, a city that belongs to the tribe of Zebulun; in a remote corner of the land of Israel: for the Spirit, which like the wind blonvs where it listeth, will as easily find out Jonah in Galilee as Isaiah at Jerusalem. We find also that he was a messenger of mercy to Israel, in the reign of Jeroboam the second; for the success of his arms, in the restoring of the coast of Israel, is said to be according to the word of the Lord, which he sfiake by the hand of his servant Jonah the firofihet. Tliose prophecies were not "committed to writing, but this against Nineveh was, chiefly for the sake of the story that depends upon it, and that is recorded chiefly for the sake of Christ, of whom Jonah was a type; it contains also very remarkable instances of human infinnity in Jonah; and of God's mercy, both in pardoning refienting sinners, witness Nineveh, and in bearing with refiining saints, witness Jonah.
!n this chapter we have, I. A command given to Jonah to preach at Nineveh; v. 1, 2. 11. Jonah's disobedience to that command, v. 3. III. The pursuit and arrest of him for that disobedience by a storm, in which he was asleep, v. 4.. 6. IV. The fliscovery of him, and his disobedience, to be the cause of the storm, v. 7 . . 10. V. The casting of him into the sea, for the stilling of the storm, V. 11 .. 16. VI. The miraculous preservation of his life there in the belly of a fish, (v. 17.) which was his reservation for further services. ■N'
1.NOW the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, 2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it ; for their wicked- ness is come up before me. 3. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the pre- sence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa ; and he found a ship going to Tar- shish : so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshisli from the presence of the I^grd. . The honour God put upon Jonah, in giving him a commission to go and prophesy against Nineveh. Jonah signifies, a dove; a proper name for all God's prophets, all his people, who ought to be harmless as doves, and to mourn as doves for the sins and calamities of the land. His father's name was Amittai — My truth; for God's prophets should be sons of truth. To him the word of the Lord came,to him it was, (so the word signifies,) for God's