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vals for more than fifty years. Rondoletius enumerates did not actually swallow Jonah (and the text does not several whales stranded or taken on the coast of the Me- oblige us to affirm that it did), but detained him in its diterranean; these were most likely all orcas, physeters, or mouth. If a whale had done this, the prophet would have campedolios, i. e., toothed whales, as large and more fierce been less unpleasantly circumstanced than in the stomach than the mysticetes, which have belein in the month, and of any fish. For the mouth of a common whale, when at present very rarely make their way farther south 'than open, presents a cavity as large as a room, and capable of the Bay of Biscay; though in early times it is probable containing a merchant ship’s jolly-boat, full of men, being they visited the Mediterranean, since the present writer six or eight feet wide, ten or twelve feet high (in front), has seen them within the tropics. In the Syrian seas the and fifteen or sixteen feet long (Scoresby, i. 455). It is Belgian pilgrim, Lavaers, on his passage from Malta to perfectly true that difficulties will remain under any exPalestine, incidentally mentions a " Tonynvisch,” which he planation ; but it is enough to shew the circumstance not further denominates an "oil-fish,” longer than the vessel, to be physically impossible; for the remaining difficulties leisurely swimming along, and which the seamen said are more than sufficiently met by the miraculous character prognosticated bad weather. On the island of Zerbi, close of the transaction. It was the Lord who prepared 'the to the African coast, the late Commander Davies, R.N., great fish : and the Lord of all creatures might exert infound the bones of a cachalot on the beach. Shaw men- fluences beyond the ordinary course of nature (though it tions an orca more than sixty feet long, stranded at does not appear that they were against nature) to ensure Algiers ; and the late Admiral Ross Donelly saw one in the accomplishment of his Divine purposes. They who the Mediterranean, near the island of Albaran. There undertake to explain every thing in a transaction of this are, besides, numerous sharks of the largest species in the kind, perform a work of very great supererogation. As a seas of the Levant, and also in the Arabian Gulf and Red whole the narrative presents fewer difficulties than many Sea, as well as cetacea, of which balæna bitan is the largest of the other miracles recorded in Scripture. The greatest in those seas, and two species of halicore or dugong, which difficulty in it may be to find by what provision Jonah was are herbivorous animals, intermediate between whales and preserved from suffocation. And for this it is not necesseals.'
sary to account. 'Is anything too hard for the Lord ?' And to the Lord it was not harder to preserve Jonah in the belly of the fish than the three youths at Babylon in the midst of the burning fiery furnace.' They who believe that the Almighty has, at sundry times and in divers manners, exercised powers beyond the ordinary course of the laws which He has appointed to govern nature, will find no difficulties; and those who do not believe this have read the Bible, if they do read it, to little purpose. Our limits do not allow us to investigate the subject more fully; but we may refer the reader to Calmet's Dissertation sur Jonas ; the Dissertations in Gleig's edition of Stackhouse ; and Bishop Jebb’s Sacred Literature,
-• Three days and three nights'—This by no means necessarily implies three entire days and nights; but would be true if understood of one complete day, and any part, however small, of two others. It is at this day a common mode of expression among the Greeks to say that such a thing happened three days ago when they mean that a day only intervened. They include the two extreme
days as if they had been complete. Thus our Saviour, As the animal stomach has no power over substances who lay in the tomb from Friday evening to Sunday endued with vitality, a person swallowed alive, and who morning, is said to have lain three days and nights in the received no injury from the fish before being swallowed, grave. And that the present text should be similarly unwould necessarily remain alive for a considerable time, derstood is the more probable from the remarkable text unless suffocated in so uncongenial a situation and ele- in which the Son of Man makes this situation of Jonah a ment. There is, however, one explanation which might type of his own sojourn for three days and three nights allow a whale to be intended, if that fish were known in the heart of the earth.' (Matt. xii. 40.) in the Mediterranean—that is, to suppose that the fish
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight ; i The prayer of Jonah. 10 He is delivered from the yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5 The 'waters compassed me about, even fish.
to the soul : the depth closed me round about, Tuen Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God the weeds were wrapped about my head. out of the fish's belly,
6 I went down to the bottoms of the moun2 And said, I cried by reason of mine tains; the earth with her bars was about me affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me ; for ever : yet hast thou brought up my life out of the belly of "hell cried I, and thou from "corruption, O LORD my God. heardest
7 When my soul fainted within me I re3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in membered the LORD: and my prayer came the ‘midst of the seas, and the floods com- in unto thee, into thine holy temple. passed me about: all thy billows and thy 8 They that observe lying vanities forsake waves passed over me.
their own mercy. ? Or, out of mine affliction. 3 Or, the grave.
© Heb. cuttings of 7 Or, the pit.
1 Psal. 120. 1.
4 Heb. heart.
5 Psal, 69. 1.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the 10 . And the LORD spake unto the fish, voice of 'thanksgiving; I will pay that that I and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Verse 1.Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord.' — On reviewing the prayer, and weighing the import of its several terms, it is obvious that though Jonah was in a state of consciousness while in the belly of the fish, he had no idea that such was his situation. On the contrary, he appears to have been under the impression that he was engulphed in the scan-now forcibly carried along by its current, now entangled among its weeds, and now sinking into the profound ravines of its rocks.'-- Henderson,
10. ' It vomited out Jonuh upon the dry land.— It is not stated where the prophet was cast on shore. Some ima. gine that the fish carried him during the three days down the Mediterranean, and through the Archipelago and the Propontis into the Euxine sea, and deposited him on the south coast, at the nearest point to Nineveh. But it seems probable that he was discharged on the coast of Palestine, that his obedience to the second command might spring entirely from his enlarged experience and convictions.
6 For word came unto the king of Nine
veh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid 1 Jonah, sent ayain, preacheth to the Ninevites. 5 Upon their repentance, 10 God repenteth.
his robe from him, and covered him with sack
cloth, and sat in ashes. And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and the second time, saying,
`published through Nineveh by the decree of 1 2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, the king and his ‘nobles, saying, Let neither and preach unto it the preaching that I bid man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing : thee.
let them not feed, nor drink water: 3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, 8 But let man and beast be covered with according to the word of the LORD. Now Ni- sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, neveh was an 'exceeding great city of three let them turn every one from his evil way, and days' journey.
from the violence that is in their hands. 4 And Jonah began to enter into the city 9 'Who can tell if God will turn and rea day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet pent, and turn away from bis fierce anger, forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. that we perish not?
5 T So the people of Nineveh 'believed 10 I And God saw their works, that they God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sack- turned from their evil way; and God repenteil cloth, from the greatest of them even to the of the evil, that he had said that he would do least of them.
unto them; and he did it not.
i Heb. of God.
2 Matt. 12. 41. Luke Il, 32.
3 Heb. said,
4 lleb. great men.
5 Joel 2. 14.
Verse 3. “ Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.'--Opinions are divided whether we are to understand that Nineveh was three days' journey in length, or in circuit. We have never ourselves felt any doubt that the circuit must be intended, as this not only is more probable, but agrees remarkably with the dimensions given by ancient writers. Three days' journey may be taken as giving from fifty to sixty miles, accordingly as we understand a journey on foot, or a caravan journey. This is absolutely incredible as the length of a city ; but the different computations of the circuit of Nineveh do actually range between forty-eight and sixty miles-a very strong and decisive coincidence. The only objection to this conclusion arises from the statement, in the next verse, that Jonah went a day's journey into the city; which has been commonly enough understood to mean that he went a day's journey into the city, till he arrived at a particular public place, where he delivered his message. And be it so; but may not this particular place have been near the opposite extremity of the town to that at which the prophet entered? Or, rather, may we not understand the passage actually to intimate that the city was a day's journey in length, stating that Jonah went through the city, being a day's journey, proclaiming its
destruction ? Of this it is another remarkable corro
It appears that the city extended its length along the eastern bank of the Tigris, while its breadth reached from the river to the eastern hills. All the ancient writers concur with Jonah in describing Nineveh as an 'excced. ing great city.' But as none of these writers lived till after its destruction, their accounts, derived from old records and reports, are necessarily brief and incomplete. The best account which we possess is that furnishesi by Diodorus, who states that Ninus, having surpassed all his ancestors in the glory and success of his arms, resolved to build a city, of such state and grandeur, that it should not only be the greatest then in the world, but such as no sovereign coming after him should be easily able to ex
The swains forgot their sheep, nor near the brink signed by Diodorus to Nineveh, with those which Hero
Of running waters brought their herds to drink ; dotus (and Pliny after him) gives to Babylon, this is not
The thirsty cattle, of themselves, abstaind true, both having 480 stadia of circumference. But if we
From water, and their grassy fare disdain'd.'—DRYDEN. take any other measurement of Babylon than that of Herodotus, its circuit becomes ten or twelve miles Jess In Peru and the Canaries, it was usual for the people, than that which Diodorus gives to Nineveh: for Ctesias in time of great drought, to shut up their animals without makes the circumference of Babylon but 360 stadia ; Cli- food, under the notion that their loud cries and bleating tarchus, 365; Curtius, 368; and Strabo, 385.
would reach heaven, and prevail with God to send rain. We are not to suppose that the whole of the vast en- -It should be observed that, in the East, those who fasted closure of Nineveh was built upon. It was no doubt abstained from all manner of food until the evening, as is loosely built, with the houses much apart, as at Babylon; still the custom in the same countries. However the fastand contained extensive plantations, parks, gardens, fields, ing may be extended, we are doubtless to understand that and open grounds, as did the same city, and as the larger
the animals clothed in sackcloth were horses, mules, and Oriental towns still do.
camels, which were deprived of their usual caparisons Such is the substance of our information concerning and ornaments, and invested with sackcloth, the attire of the ancient Nineveh. It now only remains to notice its mourning; a circumstance which may in some degree be desolate site: but it is best to reserve this part of the sub- illustrated by our own custom of covering with black ject to illustrate the prophecy of Nahum or Zephaniah, cloth or velvet the horses employed at funerals.
might be a shadow over his head, to deliver
him from his grief. So Jonah 'was exceeding 1 Jonah, repining at God's mercy, 4 is reproved by the type of a gourd.
glad of the gourd.
7 But God prepared a worm when the But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he morning rose the next day, and it smote the was very angry.
gourd that it withered. 2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, 8 And it came to pass, when the sun did I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my say- arise, that God prepared a "vehement east ing, when I was yet in my country? There- wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jofore I 'fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew nah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to that thou art a 'gracious God, and merciful, die, and said, It is better for me to die than slow to anger, and of great kindness, and re- to live. pentest thee of the evil.
9 And God said to Jonal, 'Doest thou well 3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech to be angry for the gourd ? And he said, 'I thee, my life from me; for it is better for me do well to be angry, even unto death. to die than to live.
10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast ''had 4 Then said the LORD, 'Doest thou well pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not to be angry?
laboured, neither madest it grow; which 5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat "'came up in a night, and perished in a night: on the east side of the city, and there made 11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, great city, wherein are more than sixscore till he might see what would become of the thousand persons that cannot discern between city.
their right hand and their left hand ; and also 6 And the Lord God prepared a 'gourd, much cattle ? and made it to come up over Jonah, that it I Chap. 1. ?. 9 Exod. 34. 6. Paal. 86, 5. Joel 2. 13.
8 Or, Art thou greatly angry! • Or, palmcrist. 3 Heb. Kikajon.
6 Heb. rejoiced with great joy; 7 Or, silent. 8 Or, Art thou greatly angry Or, I am greatly angry.
Verse 1. . It displeased Jonah exceedingly?:-Seeing their environs, which contain extensive parks, fields, garthat what he had foretold against the Ninevites did not dens, and open grounds, we shall find that, in 1831, come to pass, Jonah was afraid lest he should be regarded London contained not less than 1,776,500 persons, within as a false prophet, who had created a needless alarm, a circle with a radius of eight British miles from St. and should hence be exposed to insult or violence from the people. There is also some reason to think that the prophet, in foresight of the evils which the Assyrians were hereafter to inflict upon his own people, actually desired that their power might be weakened by the destruction of Nineveh.
6.· Gourd.?— 12? kikayon ; Sept. kolokúvon; Vulg. hedera. We see, therefore, that while the Greek version makes the plant a kind of gourd, the Vulgate reckons it a species of ivy. But it would be a waste of time to discuss the merits of these respective versions, when a hint suggested by the similarity between kiki and i*P'p leads us at once to the Ricinus communis, or castor-oil tree, which with its broad palmate leaves extends a grateful shade over the parched traveller. It is described by Dioscorides under the name of kíkt or kiki, the identity of which with the Hebrew name will not escape notice, as having leaves like those of the Oriental plane-tree, but larger, smoother, and of a deep hue. The stem and branches are hollow, and of rapid growth, though incapable, without the interposition of a miracle, of rising and becoming a shelter in the course of a night. It belongs to the natural order of the Euphorbiaceæ, and is hence related to the Euphorbium or Spurge, and Jatropha, or tapioca-tree. The lively red of the inner threads of the flower gives a pleasing variety to the deep green of the foliage. It grows in all the warmer regions of the old and new continents, and flourishes in the driest soil, among stones and rubbish. From the softness and little substance of the stem, it may easily be destroyed by insects, which Rumphius describes as being sometimes the case. The conclusion that this plant is to be identified with the gourd of Jonah is corroborated by local traditions; as well as by the fact that it abounds near the Tigris, where it is not an annual, and grows to a size much more considerable than it is commonly supposed to attain.
11. · Wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand!--By these the young children are commonly understood. As these are, in any place, usually reckoned to form one-fifth of the entire population, the result would give 600,000 persons as the population of Nineveh. This is not by any means an extraordinary population for a town of such extent. The case is, indeed, so much other
Jonah's Gourd (Ricinus communis). wise as to shew that the great ancient cities of the East covered a vast extent of ground in proportion to their Pauls; and that, in 1829, Paris contained 1,013,000 perpopulation. And if, to obtain a better comparison, we sons within a circle of equal extent. See Mr. Rickman's take these two cities in the largest extent, comprehending Preface to the Population Returns of 1831.
The time of Micah, as stated in the first verse of his prophecy, shews that he began to prophesy in the times of Amos, Hosea, Joel, and Isaiah ; but that he began later than any of them, and continued also later than any except Isaiah, and perhaps Hosea. Although a native of the kingdom of Judah,
. his prophetic mission extended to the other kingdom as well. Some of the old writers unaccountably confound him with Micaiah, the prophet who is so honourably mentioned in the history of Ahab (1 Kings xxii. ; 2 Chron. xviii.); but who must have lived at least one hundred and thirty years prior to the present prophet. He belonged to the town of Moresheth, and hence is called the Morasthite, which appellation some have erroneously regarded as a patronymic. Jerome says that Moresheth was a small village of Palestine near the city of Eleutheropolis. Others think it is the Mareshah mentioned in Josh. xv. 44, which Eusebius describes as a place in ruins, in the tribe of Judah, two miles from Eleutheropolis. The direction is not stated; but Dr. Robinson supposes that he found it about a mile and a half to the south of Eleutheropolis—any place near which would seem to be too far from the probable situation of Gath to be designated as Moresheth-Gath, which name Micah gives to his place in i. 14, and which it probably bore to distinguish it from the other Moreshah. alleged grave of Micah was still, however, shewn, over which a church had been erected. Sozomen, in his Ecclesiastical History, says that the body of Micah was found, in the time of Theodosius the elder, by Zebennus, bishop of Eleutheropolis, at a place which he calls Berathsalia, about ten furlongs from the city, and near which was the prophet's grave, called by the common people • The Faithful Monument, perhaps because they also confounded him with the Micaiah of Ahab's time, and who is reputed to have been slain by that monarch. Micah prophesied against Israel and Judah, but particularly against the latter. Moral corruption, apostacy, and false prophecy, rather than political crime, are the objects of his indignation. He utters bold threats, which he may have lived to see partly fulfilled ; and with these threats lofty promises are mingled. He predicts the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, and of Samaria its capital; the desolation of Jerusalem by the Chaldæans, and the consequent captivity of the Jews ; the restoration of the Jewish state ; the successes of the Maccabees, and their victories over the Syro-Macedonians, called Assyrians in Micah v., as well as in Zech. ix. 11 ; the establishment of the royal residence in Zion; and the birth and reign of the Messiah. The last of these prophecies contains the famous passage (v. 2) which predicts that Bethlehem should be the birthplace of Christ, and which occasioned the confident expectation that he would be born there (Matt. ii. 5, 6).
The style of Micah is briefly characterized by Bishop Lowth as being · for the most part close, forcible, pointed, and concise ; sometimes approaching the obscurity of Hosea ; in many parts animated and sublime, and in general poetical.' To this we may add the estimate of De Wette. · He resembles Hosea in his rapid transitions from threats of punishment to promises of prosperity, as well as in his style; but he has more roundness, fulness, and clearness in his style and in his rhythm. He frequently indulges in a play upon words (a quality not perceivable in a translation); he makes a happy use of the form of a dialogue. He is full of feeling (see i. 8, and vii. 1); and his prophecies are penetrated by the purest spirit of morality and piety. Micah's description of the character of Jehovah is, as Dr. Henderson remarks, unrivalled by any contained elsewhere in Scripture.
Luther's Prælections on this book were collected and published in both the Latin and German languages, the former in 1542: Gilby, A Commentary upon Micah, Lond., 1551, 1591 ; Draconitis, Juel, Micheas, et Zacharias Propheta Ebraice, cum translationibus Chaldaica, Graca, Latina, et Germanica, etc., Vitemb., 1565; Chytræi Explicatio Michæ et Nahum, Viteberg., 1565; Graxar, Comm. in Micheam, Salmant., 1576; Graueri Expositio plena et perspicua propheta Michee, inque hac quæstiones inter Lutheranos, Photinianos, Pontificios, et Calvinianos controversa, Jenæ, 1619; Bangii Fontium Israelis Trias, Jona, Michea et Ruth, Hafniæ, 1631 ; Tarnovii In Prophetam Micham Commentarius, Rostoch, 1632; Van Toll, Uitlegginge van den Propheet Micha, etc., Utrecht, 1709; Animadversiones philologico-criticæ ad Vaticinia Michæ, ex collatione versionum Græcarum reliquarumque in Polyglottis Londinensibus editarum, præs. C. F. Schnurrer auct. Respond. J. G. Andler, Tubing., 1783; Bauer, Animadversiones Criticæ in duo priora prophetæ Micha capita, Altdorf, 1790; Grosschopff, Die Orakel des Propheten Micha, Jena, 1798 ;
Justi, Micha, neu übersetzt und erläutert, Leipz., 1799; Hartmann, Micha, neu übersetzt und erläutert, etc., Lemgo, 1800.