“I 1 called out to the Lord from my distress,
and he answered me; 2
from the belly of Sheol 3 I cried out for help,
and you heard my prayer. 4
1 sn The eight verses of Jonah’s prayer in Hebrew contain twenty-seven first-person pronominal references to himself. There are fifteen second- or third-person references to the
2 tn Tg. Jonah 2:2 renders this interpretively: “and he heard my prayer.”
sn The first verse of the prayer summarizes the whole – “I was in trouble; I called to the
3 sn Sheol was a name for the place of residence of the dead, the underworld (see Job 7:9-10; Isa 38:17-18). Jonah pictures himself in the belly of Sheol, its very center – in other words he is as good as dead.
4 tn Heb “voice” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “my cry.” The term קוֹל (qol, “voice”) functions as a metonymy for the content of what is uttered: cry for help in prayer.