2:2 and said,
“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
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.
6 tn Heb “the deep” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “into the ocean depths.”
7 tn Heb “heart” (so many English versions); CEV “to the (+ very TEV) bottom of the sea.”
8 tc The BHS editors suggest deleting either מְצוּלָה (mÿtsulah, “into the deep”) or בִּלְבַב יַמִּים (bilvav yammim, “into the heart of the sea”). They propose that one or the other is a scribal gloss on the remaining term. However, the use of an appositional phrase within a poetic colon is not unprecedented in Hebrew poetry. The MT is therefore best retained.
9 tn Or “the stream”; KJV, ASV, NRSV “the flood.” The Hebrew word נָהָר (nahar) is used in parallel with יַם (yam, “sea”) in Ps 24:2 (both are plural) to describe the oceans of the world and in Ps 66:6 to speak of the sea crossed by Israel in the exodus from Egypt.
10 tn Heb “surrounded” (so NRSV); NAB “enveloped.”
11 tn Heb “your breakers and your waves.” This phrase is a nominal hendiadys; the first noun functions as an attributive adjective modifying the second noun: “your breaking waves.”
12 tn Heb “your… your…” The 2nd person masculine singular suffixes on מִשְׁבָּרֶיךָ וְגַלֶּיךָ (mishbarekha vÿgallekha, “your breakers and your waves”) function as genitives of source. Just as God had hurled a violent wind upon the sea (1:4) and had sovereignly sent the large fish to swallow him (1:17 [2:1 HT]), Jonah viewed God as sovereignly responsible for afflicting him with sea waves that were crashing upon his head, threatening to drown him. Tg. Jonah 2:3 alters the 2nd person masculine singular suffixes to 3rd person masculine singular suffixes to make them refer to the sea and not to God, for the sake of smoothness: “all the gales of the sea and its billows.”
13 tn Heb “crossed”; KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “passed.”