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Jonah 1:16

Context
1:16 The men feared the Lord 1  greatly, 2  and earnestly vowed 3  to offer lavish sacrifices 4  to the Lord. 5 

Jonah 2:9

Context

2:9 But as for me, I promise to offer a sacrifice to you with a public declaration 6  of praise; 7 

I will surely do 8  what I have promised. 9 

Salvation 10  belongs to the Lord!” 11 

1 tc The editors of BHS suggest that the direct object אֶת־יְהוָה (’et-yÿhvah, “the Lord”) might be a scribal addition, and that the original text simply read, “The men became greatly afraid…” However, there is no shred of external evidence to support this conjectural emendation. Admittedly, the apparent “conversion” of these Phoenician sailors to Yahwism is a surprising development. But two literary features support the Hebrew text as it stands. First, it is not altogether clear whether or not the sailors actually converted to faith in the Lord. They might have simply incorporated him into their polytheistic religion. Second, the narrator has taken pains to portray the pagan sailors as a literary foil to Jonah by contrasting Jonah’s hypocritical profession to fear the Lord (v. 9) with the sailors’ actions that reveal an authentic fear of God (v. 10, 14, 16).

2 tn Heb “they feared the Lord with a great fear.” The root ירא (yr’, “fear”) is repeated in the verb and accusative noun, forming a cognate accusative construction which is used for emphasis (see IBHS 167 §10.2.1g). The idea is that they greatly feared the Lord or were terrified of him.

3 tn Heb “they vowed vows.” The root נדר (ndr, “vow”) is repeated in the verb and accusative noun, forming an emphatic effected accusative construction in which the verbal action produces the object specified by the accusative (see IBHS 166-67 §10.2.1f). Their act of vowing produced the vows. This construction is used to emphasize their earnestness and zeal in making vows to worship the God who had just spared their lives from certain death.

4 tn Heb “they sacrificed sacrifices.” The root זבח (zbkh, “sacrifice”) is repeated in the verb and accusative noun, forming an emphatic effected accusative construction in which the verbal action produces the object (see IBHS 166-67 §10.2.1f). Their act of sacrificing would produce the sacrifices. It is likely that the two sets of effected accusative constructions here (“they vowed vows and sacrificed sacrifices”) form a hendiadys; the two phrases connote one idea: “they earnestly vowed to sacrifice lavishly.” It is unlikely that they offered animal sacrifices at this exact moment on the boat – they had already thrown their cargo overboard, presumably leaving no animals to sacrifice. Instead, they probably vowed that they would sacrifice to the Lord when – and if – they reached dry ground. Tg. Jonah 1:16 also takes this as a vow to sacrifice but for a different reason. According to Jewish tradition, the heathen are not allowed to make sacrifice to the God of Israel outside Jerusalem, so the Targum modified the text by making it a promise to sacrifice: “they promised to offer a sacrifice before the Lord and they made vows” (see B. Levine, The Aramaic Version of Jonah, 70; K. Cathcart and R. Gordon, The Targum of the Minor Prophets [ArBib], 14:106, n. 29).

5 tn Heb “The men feared the Lord [with] a great fear, they sacrificed sacrifices, and they vowed vows” (cf. v. 10). By pairing verbs with related nouns as direct objects, the account draws attention to the sailors’ response and its thoroughness.

6 tn Heb “voice” or “sound.”

7 tc The MT reads בְּקוֹל תּוֹדָה (bÿqol todah, “with a voice of thanksgiving”). Some mss of Tg. Jonah read “with the sound of hymns of thanksgiving” here in 2:9 – the longer reading probably reflects an editorial gloss, explaining תּוֹדָה (“thanksgiving”) as “hymns of thanksgiving.”

tn Heb “voice/sound of thanksgiving.” The genitive תּוֹדָה (todah, “thanksgiving”) specifies the kind of public statement that will accompany the sacrifice. The construct noun קוֹל (qol, “voice, sound”) functions as a metonymy of cause for effect, referring to the content of what the voice/sound produces: hymns of praise or declarative praise testimony.

8 tn The verbs translated “I will sacrifice” and “I will pay” are Hebrew cohortatives, expressing Jonah’s resolve and firm intention.

9 tn Heb “what I have vowed I will pay.” Jonah promises to offer a sacrifice and publicly announce why he is thankful. For similar pledges, see Pss 22:25-26; 50:14-15; 56:12; 69:29-33; 71:14-16, 22-24; 86:12-13; 116:12-19.

10 tn Or “deliverance” (NAB, NRSV).

11 tn Or “comes from the Lord.” For similar uses of the preposition lamed (לְ, lÿ) to convey a sort of ownership in which the owner does or may by right do something, see Lev 25:48; Deut 1:17; 1 Sam 17:47; Jer 32:7-8.



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