Jonah 2 − Commentary

1 While Jonah was inside the fish, he prayed to the Lord his God.

Verse 1 Jonah learned that nobody can get away from God (Psalm 139:7-10). Nobody can avoid responsibility when God calls them to do something for him. Moses tried to do so (Exodus 3:11; 4:1, 10, 13). So did Gideon (Judges 6:15). So did Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6).

At last, Jonah turned back to God and prayed. (Jonah uses words that are similar to words in the Psalms. One example is Psalm 18:4-6.) Jonah's prayer is a prayer of thanks to God, because he saved him from death in the sea.

2 Jonah said, 'I was in great trouble. I called to the Lord for help,

and he answered me.

From deep in the world of the dead

I cried for help, and you heard me.

3 You threw me down to the deepest part of the sea.

The waters were all round me,

and your powerful waves rolled over me.

4 I thought, you have swept me out of your sight.

I shall never see your holy Temple again!

5 The waters surrounded me. I was drowning.

I went deep down into the sea. The water closed over me. Seaweed wrapped round my head.

6 I was at the deepest part of the sea,

the place where mountains begin.

I thought, I shall be a prisoner there for all time.

But you, O Lord my God, brought me back from the gates of death!

7 When I was losing all hope, I remembered you, O Lord.

And in your holy Temple, you heard my prayer.

Verses 2-3 God heard Jonah's cry for help as he sank in the water. Jonah now realized that God had caused the sailors to throw him into the sea.

Verse 4 The Jews believed that nobody in the world of the dead was able to worship God again (Psalm 6:5; 115:17). Death had cut them off from God. Jonah thought he could never again worship God in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Verse 6 The world of the dead was like a prison with many bars. Nobody could ever hope to escape. But God could bring Jonah back from the world of the dead. And he did.

Verse 7 The Temple was the special building in Jerusalem (as in verse 4), where the Jews believed that God was present in a special way.

8 People who serve idols turn away from God's love.

Verse 8 Only God could have saved Jonah. No idol could have done so. People who trust in useless idols do not trust and follow the one true God. However, God still loves them.

9 But I will offer a sacrifice to you with shouts of praise.

I have made a promise. I will do what I said.

The Lord is the one with power to save!'

Verse 9 Now Jonah was ready to give honour to God. He would offer him a sacrifice of thanks. God always appreciates our thanks (Psalm 116:17). And Jonah will promise to obey God and go to Nineveh.

10 Then the Lord commanded the fish to vomit Jonah on to the shore. And it did.

Verse 10 The fish had served God's purpose. So now it brought Jonah near to land and threw him out of its mouth.