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Jonah 1:10-17

Context
1:10 Hearing this, 1  the men became even more afraid 2  and said to him, “What have you done?” (The men said this because they knew that he was trying to escape 3  from the Lord, 4  because he had previously told them. 5 ) 1:11 Because the storm was growing worse and worse, 6  they said to him, “What should we do to you to make 7  the sea calm down 8  for us?” 1:12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea to make the sea quiet down, 9  because I know it’s my fault you are in this severe storm.” 1:13 Instead, they tried to row 10  back to land, 11  but they were not able to do so 12  because the storm kept growing worse and worse. 13  1:14 So they cried out to the Lord, “Oh, please, Lord, don’t let us die on account of this man! Don’t hold us guilty of shedding innocent blood. 14  After all, you, Lord, have done just as you pleased.” 15  1:15 So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped raging. 1:16 The men feared the Lord 16  greatly, 17  and earnestly vowed 18  to offer lavish sacrifices 19  to the Lord. 20 

Jonah Prays
(2:1)

1:17 21 The Lord sent 22  a huge 23  fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

1 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.

2 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).

3 tn Heb “fleeing.”

4 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.

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

6 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).

7 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.

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

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

10 sn The word translated row is used in Ezekiel to describe digging through a wall (Ezek 8:8; 12:5, 7, 12). Its use in Jonah pictures the sailors digging into the water with their oars as hard as they could.

11 sn The word for land here is associated with a Hebrew verb meaning “to be dry” and is the same noun used in v. 9 of dry ground in contrast with the sea, both made by the Lord (see also Gen 1:9-10; Exod 4:9; 14:16, 22, 29; Jonah 2:10).

12 tn Heb “but they were not able.” The phrase “to do so” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

13 tn Heb “the sea was walking and storming.” See the note on the same idiom in v. 11.

14 tn Heb “Do not put against us innocent blood,” that is, “Do not assign innocent blood to our account.” It seems that the sailors were afraid that they would die if they kept Jonah in the ship and also that they might be punished with death if they threw him overboard.

15 tn Pss 115:3 and 135:6 likewise use these verbs (חָפֵץ and עָשָׂה, khafets and ’asah; “to delight” and “to do, make”) in speaking of the Lord as characteristically doing what he wishes to do.

16 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).

17 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.

18 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.

19 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).

20 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.

21 sn Beginning with 1:17, the verse numbers through 2:10 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 1:17 ET = 2:1 HT, 2:1 ET = 2:2 HT, etc., through 2:10 ET = 2:11 HT.

22 tn Or “appointed” (NASB); NLT “had arranged for.” The Piel verb מִנָּה (minnah) means “to send, to appoint” (Ps 61:8; Jonah 2:1; 4:6-8; Dan 1:5, 10-11; HALOT 599 s.v. מנה 2; BDB 584 s.v. מָנָה). Joyce Baldwin notes, “Here, with YHWH as the subject, the verb stresses God’s sovereign rule over events for the accomplishment of his purpose (as in 4:6-8, where the verb recurs in each verse). The ‘great fish’ is in exactly the right place at the right time by God’s command, in order to swallow Jonah and enclose him safely” (Joyce Baldwin, “Jonah,” The Minor Prophets, 2:566).

23 tn Heb “great.”



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