Jonah 1:7-2:10

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015



According to II Kings 14:23-25 , Jonah was a servant of the Lord from Gath Hepher, which was located in the tribe of Zebulun about half way from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean. Jonah lived when Jereboam II was king of the northern kingdom. Jereboam II reigned from 793-753.

Jonah was a contemporary of Hosea and Amos. He preceded Micah by a few years. In Amos 5:7 , Amos had prophesied that Israel would be sent into captivity beyond Damascus.

Amos 5:27 - Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

Although Amos did not specify that Israel would go into captivity to the Assyrians, Hosea did prophesy this in Hosea 11:5 .

Hosea 11:5 - 5 He [i.e. Israel] shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return [i.e. to return from their idolatry to worshiping the LORD].

Nineveh was situated on the east bank of the Tigris River across the Tigris River from the city of Mosul in modern Iraq, which is located on the west side of the Tigris River.

Nineveh was the capital of one of the cruelest, vilest, most powerful, and most idolatrous empires in the world.

Inasmuch as Hosea prophesied that Israel would go into captivity to Assyria, it makes sense that Jonah wanted God to destroy Assyria so that they would not do these horrible things to Israel.

We are in the process of looking at -

I. The Disobedience of Jonah - 1:1 - 2:10

We have already seen -

A. The commission of the prophet - 1:1-2

Jonah 1:1-2 - 1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

Jonah clearly understood the mission God was sending him on.

We have also already seen -

B. The disobedience of the prophet - 1:3

Jonah 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish [i.e. west to southern Spain; whereas Nineveh, where he was supposed to go, was northeast] But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

He wasted his money on this fare.

How can you flee from the presence of the LORD inasmuch as He is omnipresent? You can't. So why did Jonah not go to Nineveh as God had commanded?

It seems likely that Jonah knew that God was compassionate and merciful and would forgive the Assyrians if they repented, but Jonah didn't want the Assyrians to be forgiven. He wanted them to be destroyed. If they were destroyed, they would not be able to conquer Israel as Hosea had prophesied.

We are in the process of seeing -

C. The consequences of the prophet's disobedience - 1:4 - 2:10

We have seen that God sent -

1. The great wind - 1:4-16

We have noted -

a. The distress of the sailors - 1:4-5a

Jonah 1:4-5 a - 4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5a Then the mariners [i.e. the sailors] were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea [i.e. they threw the cargo that was in the ship overboard], to lighten it of them. . . .

We have also noted -

b. The complacency of Jonah - 1:5b-6

Jonah 1:5 b - . . . 5b But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster [i.e. the captain] came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise [i.e. get up!], call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

We note next -

c. The reasons for the dilemma - 1:7-9

Jonah 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow [i.e. they said to each other (or to one another)], Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us [i.e. so that we may know who is responsible for this calamity]. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

God sovereignly controlled the lots.

Jonah 1:8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee [i.e. please tell us], for whose cause this evil is upon us [i.e. On Whose account has this calamity struck us?, Who is responsible for this calamity which has come upon us?]; What is thine occupation? [i.e. What do you do?] and whence comest thou? [i.e. Where do you come from?] what is thy country? and of what people art thou? [i.e. From what people are you?]

Jonah 1:9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

Note furthermore -

d. The calming of the sea - 1:10-16

Jonah 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

Jonah 1:11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous [i.e. for the sea was growing more tempestuous, for the sea was getting rougher and rougher].

Jonah 1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea [i.e. Pick me up and throw me into the sea]; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you [i.e. I know that this great tempest is because of me, I know that it is on account of me that this great storm has come upon you.].

Jonah 1:13 Nevertheless [i.e. however, but] the men rowed hard to bring it to the land [i.e. to return to land - it sounds like they were not too far from where they had begun their voyage]; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them [i.e. for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them, the sea was becoming even stormier against them].

Jonah 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life [i.e. We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man's life], and lay not upon us innocent blood [i.e. do not charge us with innocent blood]: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee [i.e. for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You].

Jonah 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea [i.e. So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea]: and the sea ceased from her raging [i.e. and the sea stopped from her raging, and the sea grew calm].

Jonah 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows [i.e. took vows].

Not only did God send the great wind, He also sent -

2. The great fish - 1:17 - 2:10

We see -

a. The swallowing of Jonah - 1:17

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Attempts to determine what kind of fish this was are futile. It might been a one-of-a-kind fish specially prepared for this occasion rather than any particular kind of whale or shark. All discussions regarding what kind of fish this was which could swallow a full grown man are off the mark. Whatever this fish was, it swallowed Jonah.

Three days and three nights does not necessarily mean 72 hours. In Hebrew reckoning, it may mean part of one 24-hour period, all of a second 24-hour period, and part of a third 24-hour period.

Next, we see -

b. The praise by Jonah - 2:1-9

There is -

(1) A summary of Jonah's experience - 2:1-2

Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly.

God had Jonah right where He wanted him. He was in a place he could not get out of, a place from which he could not free himself.

Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction [i.e. because of my distress] unto the LORD, and he [i.e. the LORD] heard me; out of the belly of hell [i.e. Sheol, the grave] cried I, and thou [i.e. You, LORD] heardest my voice.

Jonah experienced the fear of death, not death itself. He did not die.

Not only is there a summary of Jonah's experience, but there is also -

(2) A description of Jonah's experience - 2:3-7

Jonah 2:3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep [i.e. into the deep sea], in the midst [i.e. into the heart] of the seas; and the floods compassed me about [i.e. the waters surrounded me]: all thy billows [i.e. breakers of the sea, waves that crest or break into foam] and thy waves passed over me. [It sounds like he was under water.]

It would have been a whole lot easier on Jonah if he had obeyed the LORD in the first place. Do you suppose we might learn the lesson from Jonah's experience that it is always best to obey the LORD right away rather than to try to get away with disobeying Him?

Jonah 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

Jonah expressed confidence in approaching God. Looking again toward God's holy temple may be a reference to the Jerusalem temple or to God's heavenly abode.

Jonah 2:5 The waters compassed me about [i.e. surrounded me], even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds [i.e. seaweeds] were wrapped about my head.

Jonah 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever [At this point it appears that Jonah thought he was going to die in his watery grave.]: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption [i.e. from the pit], O LORD my God.

Jonah 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

It seems that at this point the great fish must have actually swallowed Jonah.

Not only is there a summary and description of Jonah's experience, but there is also -

(3) An expression of Jonah's thankfulness - 2:8-9

Jonah 2:8 They that observe lying vanities [i.e. those who regard worthless idols] forsake their own mercy.

Jonah 2:9 - But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Jonah vowed that he would obey the LORD.

Jonah's salvation (or deliverance) may refer to his eternal salvation or to his physical deliverance from drowning.

Not only have we seen the swallowing of Jonah and the praise by Jonah, but we also see -

c. The return of Jonah - 2:10

Jonah 2:10 And the LORD spake unto [i.e. spoke to] the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.


We have seen seven miracles in chapters 1-2.

1. God caused a violent storm - 1:4

2. God had the lot fall on Jonah - 1:7

3. God calmed the sea when Jonah was thrown overboard - 1:15

4. God had a specially-prepared fish swallow Jonah - 1:17

5. God had the fish transport Jonah safely to land

6. God had the fish throw Jonah up on dry land - 2:10

7. God melted the disobedient prophet's heart


This sermon is the 2nd part of the series, Study of Jonah. Other sermons in this series are: