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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on Jonah

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1.1–16 : Jonah's flight by ship.

2 :

Nineveh: the capital of Assyria, far to the east.

3 :

Tarshish: though often identified with Spain, it was probably a legendary place far to the west of Palestine. Jonah thus travels in the opposite direction from Nineveh.

9 :

Worship: lit. “fear.” Jonah seems not to see the disparity between his adherence to the LORD who made both sea and dry land, and his attempt to escape by sea (vv. 3, 10 ).

16 :

The sailors' fear is religiously more productive than Jonah's (see v. 9 n. ).

1.17–2.10 : In the belly of the fish.

Not a whale but simply a great fish, it, unlike the prophet, does whatever God commands.

2.1–9 :

Jonah's prayer, in form very like some of the psalms, is felt by many scholars to have been added. The images of drowning, however, are appropriate to the story, and the author may have used an already familiar psalm. Sheol (v. 2 ) and the pit (v. 6 ) signify the place of the dead. In terms of the satire, v. 8 is deeply ironic, as is perhaps victory (v. 9 ).

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