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Jonah 3:1-2

1. And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

1. Et factum fuit verbum Jehovae ad Jonam secundo, dicendo, —

2. Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

2. Surge, proficiscere Nineven in urbem magnam, et praedica ad eam praedicationem quam ego mando tibi.

 

There is here set before us a remarkable proof of God’s grace, — that he was pleased to bestow on Jonah his former dignity and honor. He was indeed unworthy of the common light, but God not only restored him to life, but favored him again with the office and honor of a prophet. This, as I have said, Jonah obtained through the wonderful and singular favor of God. As he had previously fled, and by disobedience deprived himself in a manner of all God’s favor, the recovery of his prophetic office was certainly not obtained through his own merit.

It must, in the first place, be observed, that this phrase, The word of Jehovah came the second time, ought to be noticed; for the word of God comes to men in different ways. God indeed addresses each of us individually; but he spoke to his Prophets in a special manner; for he designed them to be witnesses and heralds of his will. Hence, whenever God sets a man in some peculiar office, his word is said to come to him: as the word of God is addressed to magistrates because they are commanded to exercise the power committed to them; so also the word of God ever came to the Prophets, because it was not lawful for them to thrust in themselves without being called.

The command now follows, Arise, go to Nineveh, to that great city, and preach there the preaching which I command thee. 4242     Literally, “And proclaim to or against her the proclamation which I declare to thee.” The Septuagint is, “Και κηρυξον εν αυτη κατα το κηρυγμα το εμπροσθεν ὸ̔ εγω ελαλησα προς σε — And preach in it the former preaching which I have spoken to thee.” עליה in five MSS., as in chapter 1:2, “against her,” and not אליה, “to her.” אשר אנכי דבר אליד, “which I am speaking or declaring to thee.” דבר is a participle; being preceded by a nominative, it will admit of an auxiliary verb either in the past, present or future tense, according to the context; though it is often used to express the present time.
   Newcome renders the sentence thus — “And cry unto her in the words which I shall speak unto thee;” Henderson more paraphrastically thus — “And make the proclamation to it which I order thee;” and adds the following remarks, — “Be my herald, and faithfully deliver my message. The word κηρυξ in Greek answers to the Hebrew קורא, kore, both signifying a crier, a herald, a preacher; one that makes proclamation with a loud and earnest cry. Such was John Baptist, Isaiah 40:3; such was Jesus Christ, John 7:18-37; and such were all his apostles. And such earnestness becomes a ministry that has to do with immortal souls, asleep and dead in sin, hanging on the brink of perdition, and insensible of their state. The soft speaking, gentle toned, unmoved preacher, is never likely to awaken souls.”

   Henry considers that the commission was not specifically explained to him then. “Jonah must go,” he says, “with implicit faith: he shall not know till he comes thither what message he must deliver.” — Ed.
God again repeats what we have observed at the be ginning, — that Nineveh was a great city, that Jonah might provide himself with an invincible courage of mind, and come there well prepared: for it often happens, that many boldly undertake an office, but soon fail, because difficulties had not been sufficiently foreseen by them. Hence, when men find more hardships than they thought of at the beginning, they nearly faint, at least they despond. The Lord, therefore, expressly foretold Jonah how difficult would be his employment; as though he said, “I send thee, a man unknown, and of no rank, and a stranger, to denounce ruin on men, not a few in number, but on a vast multitude, and to carry on a contest with the noblest city, and so populous, that it may seem to be a region of itself.”

We now then understand why this character of the city was added; it was, that Jonah might gird up himself for the contest, that he might not afterwards fail in the middle of his course. This fear indeed frightened him at the beginning, so that he shunned the call of God; but he is not now moved in any degree by the greatness of the city, but resolutely follows where the Lord leads. We hence see, that faith, when once it gains the ascendancy in our hearts, surmounts all obstacles and despises all the greatness of the world; for it is immediately added —


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