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Jonah 1:6-12

Context
1:6 The ship’s captain approached him and said, “What are you doing asleep? 1  Get up! Cry out 2  to your god! Perhaps your god 3  might take notice of us 4  so that we might not die!” 1:7 The sailors said to one another, 5  “Come on, let’s cast lots 6  to find out 7  whose fault it is that this disaster has overtaken us. 8 ” So they cast lots, and Jonah was singled out. 9  1:8 They said to him, “Tell us, whose fault is it that this disaster has overtaken us? 10  What’s your occupation? Where do you come from? What’s your country? And who are your people?” 11  1:9 He said to them, “I am a Hebrew! And I worship 12  the Lord, 13  the God of heaven, 14  who made the sea and the dry land.” 1:10 Hearing this, 15  the men became even more afraid 16  and said to him, “What have you done?” (The men said this because they knew that he was trying to escape 17  from the Lord, 18  because he had previously told them. 19 ) 1:11 Because the storm was growing worse and worse, 20  they said to him, “What should we do to you to make 21  the sea calm down 22  for us?” 1:12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea to make the sea quiet down, 23  because I know it’s my fault you are in this severe storm.”

Jonah 4:4

Context
4:4 The Lord said, “Are you really so very 24  angry?” 25 

Jonah 4:9-10

Context
4:9 God said to Jonah, “Are you really so very angry 26  about the little plant?” And he said, “I am as angry 27  as I could possibly be!” 28  4:10 The Lord said, “You were upset 29  about this little 30  plant, something for which you have not worked nor did you do anything to make it grow. It grew up overnight and died the next day. 31 

1 tn Heb “What to you sleeping!” The Niphal participle נִרְדָּם (nirdam) from רָדַם (radam, “to sleep”) functions here not as a vocative use of the noun (so KJV, NKJV, ASV: “O sleeper,” RSV: “you sleeper”) but as a verbal use to depict uninterrupted sleep up to this point. The expression מַה־לְּךָ (mah-lÿkha, “what to you?”) can express surprise (BDB 552 s.v. מָה 1.a; e.g., Job 9:12; 22:12; Eccl 8:4; Isa 45:9,10) or indignation and contempt (BDB 552 s.v. מָה 1.c; e.g., 1 Kgs 19:9, 13). Accordingly, the captain is either surprised that Jonah is able to sleep so soundly through the storm (NIV “How can you sleep?”; JPS, NJPS “How can you be sleeping so soundly?”; NEB, REB “What, sound asleep?”) or indignant that Jonah would sleep in a life-threatening situation when he should be praying (CEV “How can you sleep at a time like this?”; NAB “What are you doing [+ sound NRSV] asleep?”; NJB: “What do you mean by sleeping?”).

2 tn Heb “cry out” or “call upon.” The verb קָרָא (qara’, “to call out, to cry out”) + the preposition אֶל (’el, “to”) often depicts a loud, audible cry of prayer to God for help in the midst of trouble: “to call on, to shout to” (HALOT 1129 s.v. קרא 9.b; BDB 895 s.v. קָרָא 2.a; e.g., Judg 15:18; 1 Sam 12:17, 18; 2 Sam 22:7; Hos 7:7; Pss 3:4 [5 HT]; 4:3 [4 HT]). Jonker notes: “The basic meaning of qr’ is to draw attention to oneself by the audible use of one’s voice in order to establish contact with someone else. The reaction of the called person is normally expressed by the verbs…‘answer’ and…‘hear’” (L. Jonker, NIDOTTE 3:971).

sn The imperatives “arise!” and “cry out!” are repeated from v. 2 for ironic effect. The captain’s words would have rung in Jonah’s ears as a stinging reminder that the Lord had uttered them once before. Jonah was hearing them again because he had disobeyed them before.

3 tn Heb “the god.” The article on הָאֱלֹהִים (haelohim) denotes previous reference to אֱלֹהֶיךָ (’elohekha, “your god”; see IBHS 242-43 §13.5.1d). The captain refers here to the “god” just mentioned, that is, whatever god Jonah might pray to (“your god”).

4 tn Or “give thought to us.” The verb is found only here in the OT. Related nouns are in Job 12:5 and Ps 146:5. The captain hopes for some favorable attention from a god who might act on behalf of his endangered crewmen.

5 tn Heb “And they said, a man to his companion.” The plural verb is individualized by “a man.”

6 sn The English word lots is a generic term. In some cultures the procedure for “casting lots” is to “draw straws” so that the person who receives the short straw is chosen. In other situations a colored stone or a designated playing card might be picked at random. In Jonah’s case, small stones were probably used.

7 sn In the ancient Near East, casting lots was a custom used to try to receive a revelation from the gods about a particular situation. The Phoenician sailors here cried out to their gods and cast lots in the hope that one of their gods might reveal the identity of the person with whom he was angry. CEV has well captured the sentiment of v.7b: “‘Let’s ask our gods to show us who caused all this trouble.’ It turned out to be Jonah.”

8 tn Heb “On whose account this calamity is upon us.”

9 tn Heb “the lot fell on Jonah.” From their questions posed to Jonah, it does not appear that the sailors immediately realize that Jonah was the one responsible for the storm. Instead, they seem to think that he is the one chosen by their gods to reveal to them the one responsible for their plight. It is only after he admits in vv. 9-10 that he was fleeing from the God whom he served that they realize that Jonah was in fact the cause of their trouble.

10 tn Heb “On whose account is this calamity upon us?”

11 tn Heb “And from what people are you?”

sn Whose fault…What’s…Where…What’s… The questions delivered in rapid succession in this verse indicate the sailors’ urgency to learn quickly the reason for the unusual storm.

12 tn Or “fear.” The verb יָרֵא (yare’) has a broad range of meanings, including “to fear, to worship, to revere, to respect” (BDB 431 s.v.). When God is the object, it normally means “to fear” (leading to obedience; BDB 431 s.v. 1) or “to worship” (= to stand in awe of; BDB 431 s.v. 2). Because the fear of God leads to wisdom and obedience, that is probably not the sense here. Instead Jonah professes to be a loyal Yahwist – in contrast to the pagan Phoenician sailors who worshiped false gods, he worshiped the one true God. Unfortunately his worship of the Lord lacked the necessary moral prerequisite.

13 tn Heb “The Lord, the God of heaven, I fear.” The Hebrew word order is unusual. Normally the verb appears first, but here the direct object “the Lord, the God of heaven” precedes the verb. Jonah emphasizes the object of his worship. In contrast to the Phoenician sailors who worship pagan polytheistic gods, Jonah took pride in his theological orthodoxy. Ironically, his “fear” of the Lord in this case was limited to this profession of theological orthodoxy because his actions betrayed his refusal to truly “fear” God by obeying him.

sn The word fear appears in v. 5, here in v. 9, and later in vv. 10 and 16. Except for this use in v. 9, every other use describes the sailors’ response (emotional fear prompting physical actions) to the storm or to the Lord. By contrast, Jonah claims to fear God but his attitude and actions do not reflect this. It is clear that Jonah does not “fear” in the same way that they do.

14 tn Heb “the God of the heavens.” The noun שָׁמַיִם (shamayim, “heavens”) always appears in the dual form. Although the dual form sometimes refers to things that exist in pairs, the dual is often used to refer to geographical locations, e.g., יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (yÿrushalayim, “Jerusalem”), אֶפְרַיִם (’efrayim, “Ephraim”), and מִצְרַיִם (mitsrayim, “Egypt,” but see IBHS 118 §7.3d). The dual form of שָׁמַיִם does not refer to two different kinds of heavens or to two levels of heaven; it simply refers to “heaven” as a location – the dwelling place of God. Jonah’s point is that he worships the High God of heaven – the one enthroned over all creation.

15 tn Heb “Then the men feared…” The vav-consecutive describes the consequence of Jonah’s statement. The phrase “Hearing this” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

16 tn Heb “The men feared a great fear.” The cognate accusative construction using the verb יָרֵא (yare’, “to fear”) and the noun יִרְאָה (yirah, “fear”) from the same root (ירא, yr’) emphasizes the sailors’ escalating fright: “they became very afraid” (see IBHS 167 §10.2.1g).

17 tn Heb “fleeing.”

18 sn The first two times that Jonah is said to be running away from the Lord (1:3), Hebrew word order puts this phrase last. Now in the third occurrence (1:10), it comes emphatically before the verb that describes Jonah’s action. The sailors were even more afraid once they had heard who it was that Jonah had offended.

19 tn Heb “because he had told them.” The verb הִגִּיד (higgid, “he had told”) functions as a past perfect, referring to a previous event.

20 tn Heb “the sea was walking and storming.” The two participles הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר (holekh vÿsoer, “walking and storming”) form an idiom that means “the storm was growing worse and worse.” When the participle הוֹלֵךְ precedes another participle with vav, it often denotes the idea of “growing, increasing” (BDB 233 s.v. הָלַךְ 4.d; e.g., Exod 19:19; 1 Sam 2:26; 2 Sam 3:1; 15:12; 2 Chr 17:12; Esth 9:4; Prov 4:18; Eccl 1:6). For example, “the power of David grew stronger and stronger (הֹלֵךְ וְחָזֵק, holek vÿkhazeq; “was walking and becoming strong”), while the dynasty of Saul grew weaker and weaker (הֹלְכִים וְדַלִּים, holÿkhim vÿdallim; “was walking and becoming weak”)” (2 Sam 3:1; see IBHS 625-26 §37.6d).

21 tn The vav-consecutive prefixed to the imperfect/prefixed conjugation verb וְיִשְׁתֹּק (vÿyishtoq, “to quiet”) denotes purpose/result (see IBHS 638-40 §38.3), translated here by the English infinitive.

22 tn Heb “become quiet for us”; NRSV “may quiet down for us.”

23 tn Heb “quiet for you”; NAB “that it may quiet down for you.”

24 tn Heb “Rightly does it burn to you?” Note this question occurs again in v. 9, there concerning the withered plant. “Does it so thoroughly burn to you?” or “Does it rightly burn to you?” or “Does it burn so thoroughly to you?” The Hiphil of יָטַב (yatav, “to do good”) here may have one of two meanings: (1) It may mean “to do [something] rightly” in terms of ethical right and wrong (BDB 406 s.v. יָטַב 5.b; HALOT 408 s.v. יטב 3.c; e.g., Gen 4:7; Lev 5:4; Pss 36:4; 119:68; Isa 1:17; Jer 4:22; 13:23). This approach is adopted by many English versions: “Do you have any right to be angry?” (NIV); “Are you right to be angry?” (REB, NJB); “Is it right for you to be angry?” (NRSV, NLT); “Do you have good reason to be angry?” (NASB); “Do you do well to be angry?” (cf. KJV, NKJV, ASV, RSV); “What right do you have to be angry?” (cf. TEV, CEV). (2) It may be used as an adverb meaning “well, utterly, thoroughly” (BDB 405 s.v. 3; HALOT 408 s.v. 5; e.g., Deut 9:21; 13:15; 17:4; 19:18; 27:8; 1 Sam 16:17; 2 Kgs 11:18; Prov 15:2; Isa 23:16; Jer 1:12; Ezek 33:32; Mic 7:3). This view is adopted by other English versions: “Are you that deeply grieved?” (JPS, NJPS); “Are you so angry?” (NEB). This is also the approach of the Tg. Jonah 4:4: “Are you that greatly angered?” Whether or not Jonah had the right to be angry about the death of the plant is a trivial issue. Instead the dialogue focuses on the depth of Jonah’s anger: he would rather be dead than alive (vv. 3, 8) and he concludes by saying that he was as angry as he could possibly be (v. 9; see note on עַד־מָוֶת [’ad-mavet, “to death”] in v. 9). the Lord then uses an a fortiori argument (from lesser to greater): Jonah was very upset that the plant had died (v. 10), likewise God was very concerned about averting the destruction of Nineveh (v. 11).

sn The use of the term יָטַב (yatab, “rightly, good”) creates a wordplay with its antonym רָעָה (raah, “evil, wrong”) which is used in 4:1 of Jonah’s bad attitude.

25 tn Heb “Does it burn to you?” The verb חָרָה (kharah, “to burn”) functions figuratively here (hypocatastasis) to refer to strong anger (BDB 354 s.v. חָרָה). The verb is repeated from v. 1 and will be used again in v. 9.

26 tn Heb “Does it burn so thoroughly to you?” or “Does it burn rightly to you?” See note on this expression in v. 4.

27 tn Heb “It thoroughly burns to me” or “It rightly burns to me.”

28 tn Heb “unto death.” The phrase עַד־מָוֶת (’ad-mavet, “unto death”) is an idiomatic expression meaning “to the extreme” or simply “extremely [angry]” (HALOT 563 s.v. מָוֶת 1.c). The noun מָוֶת (“death”) is often used as an absolute superlative with a negative sense, similar to the English expression “bored to death” (IBHS 267-69 §14.5). For example, “his soul was vexed to death” (לָמוּת, lamut) means that he could no longer endure it (Judg 16:16), and “love is as strong as death” (כַמָּוֶת, kammavet) means love is irresistible or exceedingly strong (Song 8:6). Here the expression “I am angry unto death” (עַד־מָוֶת) means that Jonah could not be more angry. Unfortunately, this idiomatic expression has gone undetected by virtually every other major English version to date (KJV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NJB, JPS, NJPS). The only English version that comes close to representing the idiom correctly is BBE: “I have a right to be truly angry.”

29 tn Heb “were troubled.” The verb חוּס (khus) has a basic three-fold range of meanings: (1) “to be troubled about,” (2) “to look with compassion upon,” and (3) “to show pity, to spare [someone from death/judgment]” (HALOT 298 s.v. חוס; BDB 299 s.v. חוּס). Clearly, here God is referring to Jonah’s remorse and anger when the plant died (vv. 7-9), so here it means “to be troubled about” (HALOT 298 s.v. 1.c) rather than “to pity” (BDB 299 s.v. c). Elsewhere חוּס describes emotional grief caused by the loss of property (Gen 45:20) and the death of family members (Deut 13:9 [ET 13:8]). The verb חוּס is derived from a common Semitic root which has a basic meaning “to pour out; to flow” which is used in reference to emotion and tears in particular. This is seen in the Hebrew expression תָחוּס עֵין (takhushen, “the eyes flow”) picturing tears of concern and grief (c.f., Gen 45:20; Deut 13:9 [ET 13:8]). The verb חוּס will be used again in v. 11 but in a different sense (see note on v. 11).

30 tn The noun קִיקָיוֹן (qiqayon, “plant”) has the suffixed ending וֹן- which denotes a diminutive (see IBHS 92 §5.7b); so it can be nuanced “little plant.” The contrast between Jonah’s concern for his “little” plant (v. 10) and God’s concern about this “enormous” city (v. 11) could not be greater! Jonah’s misplaced priorities look exceedingly foolish and self-centered in comparison to God’s global concern about the fate of 120,000 pagans.

31 tn Heb “which was a son of a night and perished [as] a son of a night.”



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