Simon provides a critical line-by-line commentary of the biblical text. It includes an extensive scholarly introduction, generous bibliographic and critical notes, and other explanatory material. Simon refers to traditional rabbinic commentaries, and the Mishna, Midrash and Talmud. His commentary also makes use of literary analysis, comparative Semitics, and evidence from modern archaeological discoveries.
This resource is available as part of the JPS Tanakh Commentary Collection (11 volumes).
“According to Yehezkel Kaufmann, ‘Jonah is the classic statement of the Israelite idea of repentance’ (p. 285), which aims to reject the ancient view, expressed by Jonah’s unwillingness to warn the transgressors and his protest against the clemency shown them, that only punishment can cleanse sin. Like the Book of Job, this is a book of rebellion and protest, ‘except that Jonah complains that divine mercy detracts from divine justice, whereas Job complains that divine anger infringes upon divine justice’ (p. 284).” (Page vii)
“The second view is that Jonah preferred loyalty to his people Israel over his duty to obey the Lord of the universe, his master.” (Page viii)
“Nineveh merits its Creator’s protection not because of its citizens’ remorse, but because it is a great metropolis, teeming with children who have never sinned, and many beasts as well.” (Page viii)
“Thus Jonah does not symbolize Israel, and Nineveh does not symbolize the gentile world.” (Page x)
“The designation of Jonah as the haftarah for the Afternoon Service of the Day of Atonement (B. Megillah 31a) reflects the view that this book depicts the concept of repentance so starkly and completely that it can stir hearers to repent of their ways and even modify their conduct. The Ninevites’ repentance does indeed seem to be an exemplary combination of fasting, prayer, and deeds (abandoning their evil ways), just as its acceptance by the merciful God is tantamount to a guarantee and confirmation that authentic repentance has the power to nullify the fatal decree.” (Page vii)