1:3 Instead, Jonah immediately 1 headed off to Tarshish 2 to escape 3 from the commission of the Lord. 4 He traveled 5 to Joppa 6 and found a merchant ship heading 7 to Tarshish. 8 So he paid the fare 9 and went aboard 10 it to go with them 11 to Tarshish 12 far away from the Lord. 13 1:4 But 14 the Lord hurled 15 a powerful 16 wind on the sea. Such a violent 17 tempest arose on the sea that 18 the ship threatened to break up! 19 1:5 The sailors were so afraid that each cried out 20 to his own god 21 and they flung 22 the ship’s cargo 23 overboard 24 to make the ship lighter. 25 Jonah, meanwhile, 26 had gone down 27 into the hold 28 below deck, 29 had lain down, and was sound asleep. 30 1:6 The ship’s captain approached him and said, “What are you doing asleep? 31 Get up! Cry out 32 to your god! Perhaps your god 33 might take notice of us 34 so that we might not die!” 1:7 The sailors said to one another, 35 “Come on, let’s cast lots 36 to find out 37 whose fault it is that this disaster has overtaken us. 38 ” So they cast lots, and Jonah was singled out. 39 1:8 They said to him, “Tell us, whose fault is it that this disaster has overtaken us? 40 What’s your occupation? Where do you come from? What’s your country? And who are your people?” 41 1:9 He said to them, “I am a Hebrew! And I worship 42 the Lord, 43 the God of heaven, 44 who made the sea and the dry land.” 1:10 Hearing this, 45 the men became even more afraid 46 and said to him, “What have you done?” (The men said this because they knew that he was trying to escape 47 from the Lord, 48 because he had previously told them. 49 ) 1:11 Because the storm was growing worse and worse, 50 they said to him, “What should we do to you to make 51 the sea calm down 52 for us?” 1:12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea to make the sea quiet down, 53 because I know it’s my fault you are in this severe storm.” 1:13 Instead, they tried to row 54 back to land, 55 but they were not able to do so 56 because the storm kept growing worse and worse. 57 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. 58 After all, you, Lord, have done just as you pleased.” 59 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 60 greatly, 61 and earnestly vowed 62 to offer lavish sacrifices 63 to the Lord. 64
1 tn Heb “he arose to flee.” The phrase וַיָּקָם לִבְרֹחַ (vayyaqam livroakh, “he arose to flee”) is a wordplay on the
2 tn The place-name תַּרְשִׁישׁ (tarshish, “Tarshish”) refers to a distant port city or region (Isa 23:6; Jer 10:9; Ezek 27:12; 38:13; 2 Chr 9:21; 20:36, 37) located on the coastlands in the Mediterranean west of Palestine (Ps 72:10; Isa 23:6, 10; 66:19; Jonah 1:3; see BDB 1076 s.v. תַּרְשִׁישׁ; HALOT 1798 s.v. תַּרְשִׁישׁ E.a). Scholars have not established its actual location (HALOT 1797 s.v. B). It has been variously identified with Tartessos in southwest Spain (Herodotus, Histories 1.163; 4.152; cf. Gen 10:4), Carthage (LXX of Isa 23:1, 14 and Ezek 27:25), and Sardinia (F. M. Cross, “An Interpretation of the Nora Stone,” BASOR 208 : 13-19). The ancient versions handle it variously. The LXX identifies תַּרְשִׁישׁ with Carthage/Καρχηδών (karchdwn; Isa 23:1, 6, 10, 14; Ezek 27:12; 38:13). The place name תַּרְשִׁישׁ is rendered “Africa” in the Targums in some passages (Tg. 1 Kgs 10:22; 22:49; Tg. Jer 10:9) and elsewhere as “sea” (Isa 2:16; 23:1, 14; 50:9; 66:19; Ezek 27:12, 25; 38:13; Jonah 4:2). The Jewish Midrash Canticles Rabbah 5:14.2 cites Jonah 1:3 as support for the view that Tarshish = “the Great Sea” (the Mediterranean). It is possible that תַּרְשִׁישׁ does not refer to one specific port but is a general term for the distant Mediterranean coastlands (Ps 72:10; Isa 23:6, 10; 66:19). In some cases it seems to mean simply “the open sea”: (1) the Tg. Jonah 1:3 translates תַּרְשִׁישׁ as “[he arose to flee] to the sea”; (2) Jerome’s commentary on Isa 2:16 states that Hebrew scholars in his age defined תַּרְשִׁישׁ as “sea”; and (3) the gem called II תַּרְשִׁישׁ, “topaz” (BDB 1076 s.v.; HALOT 1798 s.v.) in Exod 28:20 and 39:13 is rendered “the color of the sea” in Tg. Onq. (see D. Stuart, Hosea-Jonah [WBC], 451). The designation אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ (’oniyyot tarshish, “Tarshish-ships”) referred to large oceangoing vessels equipped for the high seas (2 Chr 9:21; Ps 48:8; Isa 2:16; 23:1, 14; 60:9; Ezek 27:25) or large merchant ships designed for international trade (1 Kgs 10:22; 22:49; 2 Chr 9:21; 20:36; Isa 23:10; HALOT 1798 s.v. E.b). The term תַּרְשִׁישׁ is derived from the Iberian tart[uli] with the Anatolian suffix –issos/essos, resulting in Tartessos (BRL2 332a); however, the etymological meaning of תַּרְשִׁישׁ is uncertain (see W. F. Albright, “New Light on the Early History of Phoenician Colonization,” BASOR 83 : 21-22 and note 29; HALOT 1797 s.v. I תַּרְשִׁישׁ A). The name תַּרְשִׁישׁ appears in sources outside the Hebrew Bible in Neo-Assyrian KURTar-si-si (R. Borger, Die Inschriften Asarhaddons [AfO], 86, §57 line 10) and Greek Ταρτησσος (tarthssos; HALOT 1797 s.v. C). Most English versions render תַּרְשִׁישׁ as “Tarshish” (KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NEB, NJB, JPS, NJPS), but TEV, CEV render it more generally as “to Spain.” NLT emphasizes the rhetorical point: “in the opposite direction,” though “Tarshish” is mentioned later in the verse.
3 tn Heb “Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish away from the
4 tn Heb “away from the presence of the
sn Three times in chap. 1 (in vv. 3 and 10) Jonah’s voyage is described as an attempt to escape away from the
5 tn Heb “he went down.” The verb יָרַד (yarad, “to go down”) can refer to a journey that is physically downhill. This suggests that Jonah had started out from Jerusalem, which is at a higher elevation. He probably received his commission in the temple (see 2:4, 7 for mention of the temple).
sn The verb יָרַד (yarad, “to go down”) is repeated four times in chs. 1-2 for rhetorical effect (1:3a, 3b, 5; 2:7). Jonah’s “downward” journey from Jerusalem down to Joppa (1:3a) down into the ship (1:3b) down into the cargo hold (1:5) and ultimately down into the bottom of the sea, pictured as down to the very gates of the netherworld (2:7), does not end until he turns back to God who brings him “up” from the brink of death (2:6-7).
6 sn Joppa was a small harbor town on the Palestinian coast known as Yepu in the Amarna Letters (14th century
7 tn Heb “going to” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); NIV “bound for”; NLT “leaving for.”
8 tn See note on the phrase “to Tarshish” at the beginning of the verse.
9 tn Heb “its fare.” The 3rd person feminine singular suffix on the noun probably functions as a genitive of worth or value: “the fare due it.” However, it is translated here simply as “the fare” for the sake of readability. On the other hand “bought a ticket” (CEV, NLT) is somewhat overtranslated, since the expression “paid the fare” is still understandable to most English readers.
11 tn “Them” refers to the other passengers and sailors in the ship.
12 tn See note on the phrase “to Tarshish” at the beginning of the verse.
14 tn The disjunctive construction of vav + nonverb followed by a nonpreterite marks a strong contrast in the narrative action (וַיהוָה הֵטִיל, vayhvah hetil; “But the Lord hurled…”).
16 tn Heb “great.” Typically English versions vary the adjective here and before “tempest” to avoid redundancy: e.g., KJV, ASV, NRSV “great...mighty”; NAB “violent…furious”; NIV “great…violent”; NLT “powerful…violent.”
17 tn Heb “great.”
18 tn The nonconsecutive construction of vav + nonverb followed by nonpreterite is used to emphasize this result clause (וְהָאֳנִיָּה חִשְּׁבָה לְהִשָׁבֵר, vÿha’oniyyah khishvah lÿhishaver; “that the ship threatened to break up”).
19 tn Heb “the ship seriously considered breaking apart.” The use of חָשַׁב (khashav, “think”) in the Piel (“to think about; to seriously consider”) personifies the ship to emphasize the ferocity of the storm. The lexicons render the clause idiomatically: “the ship was about to be broken up” (BDB 363 s.v. חָשַׁב 2; HALOT 360 s.v. חשׁב).
20 tn Heb “they cried out, each one.” The shift from the plural verb וַיִּזְעֲקוּ (vayyiz’aqu, “they cried out to”) to the singular subject אִישׁ (’ish, “each one”) is a rhetorical device used to emphasize that each one of the sailors individually cried out. In contrast, Jonah slept.
21 tn Or “gods” (CEV, NLT). The plural noun אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) might be functioning either as a plural of number (“gods”) or a plural of majesty (“god”) – the form would allow for either. As members of a polytheistic culture, each sailor might appeal to several gods. However, individuals could also look to a particular god for help in trouble. Tg. Jonah 1:5 interpretively renders the line, “Each man prayed to his idols, but they saw that they were useless.”
23 tn The plural word rendered “cargo” (כֵּלִים, kelim) is variously translated “articles, vessels, objects, baggage, instruments” (see 1 Sam 17:22; 1 Kgs 10:21; 1 Chr 15:16; Isa 18:2; Jer 22:7). As a general term, it fits here to describe the sailors throwing overboard whatever they could. The English word “cargo” should be taken generally to include the ship’s payload and whatever else could be dispensed with.
24 tn Heb “into the sea.”
25 tn Heb “to lighten it from them.”
26 tn Heb “but Jonah.” The disjunctive construction of vav + nonverb followed by nonpreterite (וְיוֹנָה יָרַד, vÿyonah yarad; “but Jonah had gone down…”) introduces a parenthetical description of Jonah’s earlier actions before the onset of the storm.
27 tn Following a vav-disjunctive introducing parenthetical material, the suffixed-conjugation verb יָרַד (yarad) functions as a past perfect here: “he had gone down” (see IBHS 490-91 §30.5.2). This describes Jonah’s previous actions before the onset of the storm.
28 tn Or “stern.” There is some question whether the term יַרְכָה (yarkhah) refers to the ship’s hold below deck (R. S. Hess, NIDOTTE 3:282) or to the stern in the back of the ship (HALOT 439 s.v. *יְרֵכָה 2.b). This is the only use of this term in reference to a ship in biblical Hebrew. When used elsewhere, this term has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) “rear,” such as rear of a building (Exod 26:22, 27; 36:27, 32; Ezek 46:19), back room of a house (1 Kgs 6:16; Ps 128:3; Amos 6:10), flank of a person’s body (figurative for rear border; Gen 49:13); and (2) “far part” that is remote, such as the back of a cave (1 Sam 24:4), the bottom of a cistern (Isa 14:15), the lower recesses of Sheol (Ezek 32:23), the remotest part of a mountain range (Judg 19:1, 18; 2 Kgs 19:23; Isa 37:24), the highest summit of a mountain (Ps 48:3), and the north – viewed as the remotest part of the earth (Isa 14:13; Ezek 38:6, 15; 39:2). So the term could refer to the “back” (stern) or “remote part” (lower cargo hold) of the ship. The related Akkadian expression arkat eleppi, “stern of a ship” (HALOT 439 s.v. 2.b) seems to suggest that יַרְכָה means “stern” (HALOT 439 s.v. 2.b). However, the preceding יָרַד אֶל (yarad ’el, “he went down into”) suggests a location below deck. Also the genitive noun סְפִינָה (sÿfinah) refers to a “ship” with a deck (BDB 706 s.v. סְפִינָה; HALOT 764 s.v. סְפִינָה; R. S. Hess, NIDOTTE 3:282).
29 tn Or “of the ship.” The noun סְפִינָה (sÿfinah) refers to a “ship” with a deck (HALOT 764 s.v. סְפִינָה). The term is a hapax legomenon in Hebrew and is probably an Aramaic loanword. The term is used frequently in the related Semitic languages to refer to ships with multiple decks. Here the term probably functions as a synecdoche of whole for the part, referring to the “lower deck” rather than to the ship as a whole (R. S. Hess, NIDOTTE 3:282). An outdated approach related the noun to the verb סָפַן (safan, “to cover”) and suggested that סְפִינָה describes a ship covered with sheathing (BDB 706 s.v. סְפִינָה).
30 tn The a-class theme vowel of וַיֵּרָדַם (vayyeradam) indicates that this is a stative verb, describing the resultant condition of falling asleep: “was sound asleep.”
31 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?”).
32 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
33 tn Heb “the god.” The article on הָאֱלֹהִים (ha’elohim) 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”).
34 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.
35 tn Heb “And they said, a man to his companion.” The plural verb is individualized by “a man.”
36 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.
37 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.”
38 tn Heb “On whose account this calamity is upon us.”
39 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.
40 tn Heb “On whose account is this calamity upon us?”
41 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.
42 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
43 tn Heb “The
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
44 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.
45 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.
46 tn Heb “The men feared a great fear.” The cognate accusative construction using the verb יָרֵא (yare’, “to fear”) and the noun יִרְאָה (yir’ah, “fear”) from the same root (ירא, yr’) emphasizes the sailors’ escalating fright: “they became very afraid” (see IBHS 167 §10.2.1g).
47 tn Heb “fleeing.”
48 sn The first two times that Jonah is said to be running away from the
49 tn Heb “because he had told them.” The verb הִגִּיד (higgid, “he had told”) functions as a past perfect, referring to a previous event.
50 tn Heb “the sea was walking and storming.” The two participles הוֹלֵךְ וְסֹעֵר (holekh vÿso’er, “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).
51 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.
52 tn Heb “become quiet for us”; NRSV “may quiet down for us.”
53 tn Heb “quiet for you”; NAB “that it may quiet down for you.”
54 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.
55 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
56 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.
58 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.
60 tc The editors of BHS suggest that the direct object אֶת־יְהוָה (’et-yÿhvah, “the
61 tn Heb “they feared the
62 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.
63 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
64 tn Heb “The men feared the
65 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.
66 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).
67 tn Heb “great.”