This commentary interprets the narrative of Jonah as true history that reveals the God of Israel as gracious toward all who repent and believe in him. The introduction discusses the historical setting, archaeological evidence, and themes in the book. An original translation is based on the textual notes, which explain all the grammatical features of the Hebrew, revealing the literary artistry of Jonah’s author. The commentary clearly expounds the book’s message in harmony with the rest of the Scriptures. Ironically, Jonah the Israelite begrudges God’s abundant grace, while Gentiles are converted to saving faith through the power of the preached Word. Excursuses cover evangelism in the Old Testament, “The Sign of Jonah” in the Gospels, death and resurrection motifs from Jonah 2 in Christian baptism, and God changing his verdict from judgment to salvation. The commentary’s focus is on the “one greater than Jonah”: Jesus Christ, the Savior of all peoples.
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“This commentary will proceed with the understanding that the genre of Jonah is narrative history.” (Page 4)
“Campbell Morgan penned these wise words: ‘Men have been looking so hard at the great fish that they have failed to see the great God.’” (Page 55)
“Jonah is a sinner-saint whose chief problem is the application of the Gospel.” (Page 83)
“The idea expressed here is not that Jonah pays a fare, but rather that he hires or makes a payment for the services of the ship and its crew. The nuance underscores the magnitude of Jonah’s action; he has financed an entire ship for his disobedience! Chapter 1 supports this. That Jonah has access to the ship’s ‘innermost recesses’ (1:5) makes sense if he has hired the entire boat. That also explains why the sailors hesitate to throw Jonah overboard (1:13–14) even after they discern that he has endangered the entire ship. Even the captain does not order Jonah off the ship, but merely asks him to pray (1:6).” (Pages 76–77)
“In conclusion, Jonah’s mission to Nineveh can be dated within the historical context of the eighth century BC, but the text does not contain any specific details regarding the book’s author or date of writing. As it stands, the narrative of Jonah is an anonymous and undated work. Hence, although the events described pertain to the eighth century BC, it is possible that the book itself may have been composed later. However, the evidence points to a preexilic and not a postexilic date of writing, and it is not impossible that the narrator was Jonah himself (cf. 2 Ki 14:25).” (Pages 17–18)