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Jonah is discontented

CHAP. IV.

with his mission.

city was saved. The purpose was: If the Ninevites the city. The Ninevites did return, &c., and theredo not return from their evil ways, and the violence fore escaped the threatened judgment. Thus we see that is in their hands, within forty days, I will destroy that the threatening was conditional.

A. M. cir. 3142.

B. C. cir. 862. Ante T.C. 109.

CHAPTER IV. Jonah, dreading to be thought a false prophet, repines at God's mercy in sparing the Ninevites, whose destruc

tion he seems to have expected, from his retiring to a place without the city about the close of the forty days. But how does he glorify that mercy which he intends to@lame! And what an amiable picture does he give of the compassion of God! 1-5., ' This attribute of the Deity is still farther illustrated by his tenderness and condescension to the prophet-himself, who, with all his prophetic gifls, had much of human infirmity, 6-11.

BUT it displeased Jonah ex- thee, my life from me; for dit 4. M. cir. 3142.

ceedingly, and he was very is better for me to die than to Ante U. c. 109. Alladii Sylvii,

Alladii Sylvii, angry. live.

R. Alban., 2 And he prayed unto the 4 Then said the LORD, e Doesi cir. annum 14. Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was thou well to be angry? not this my saying, when I was yet in my 5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on country? Therefore I · fled before unto Tar- the east side of the city, and there made him shish : for I knew that thou art a b gracious a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great might see what would become of the city, kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. 6 And the Lord God prepared af gourd, 5 3 • Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech and made it to come up over Jonah, that it

R. Alban., cir, annum 14.

1 Chap. i. 3.

Exod. xxxiv. 6; Psa. lxxxyi.5; Joel ii. 13. c1 Kings xix. 4. Ver. 8.

e Or, Art thou greatly angry?-- f Or, palmecrist.- Heb.

Kikajon.

NOTES ON CHAP. IV.

minister, bishop, or prophet, is an abominable man. Verse 1. But it displeased Jonah-erceedingly) This He who, in denouncing the word of God against sinhasty, and indeed inconsiderate prophet, was · vexed ners, joins his own passions with the Divine threatenbecause his prediction was not fulfilled. He had more ings, is a cruel and bad man, and should not be an respect to his high sense of his own honour than he overseer in God's house. A surly bishop, a peevish, had to the goodness and mercy of God. He appeared passionate preacher, will bring neither glory to God, to çare little whether six hundred and twenty thousand nor good to man. Dr. Taylor renders the clause, persons were destroyed or not, so he might not pass “ Art thou very much grieved ?" A man may be

very for a deceiver, or one that denounced a falsity. much grieved that a sinner is lost ; but who but he

And he was very angry.] Because the prediction who is of a fiendish nature will be grieved because was not literally fulfilled; for he totally lost sight of God's mercy triumphs over judgment ? the condition.

Verse 5. So Jonah went out of the city) I believe Verse 2. I know that thou art a gracious God] See this refers to what had already passed; and I therefore the note on Exod. xxxiv. 6.

agree with Bp. Newcome, who translates, “ Now Jonah Verse 3. Take, I beseech thee, my life from me] HAD gone out of the city, and had sat,” &c.; for *w93 na xs np kach na eth naphshi, “ Take, I beseech there are many instances where verbs in the preterite thee, even my soul." Do not let me survive this dis- form have this force, the 1 vau here turning the future grace. - Thou hast: spared this city. I thought thou into the preterite. And the passage is here to be unwouldst do so, because thou art merciful and gracious; derstood thus : When he had delivered his message he and it was on this account that I refused to go at first, left the city, and went and made himself a tent, or got as I knew that thou mightest change thy purpose, under some shelter on the east side of the city, and though thou hadst commanded me to make an absolute there he was determined to remain till he should see denunciation of judgment. God has left this example what would become of the city. But when the forty on record to show that an inconsiderate man is not fit days had expired, and he saw no evidence of the Divine to be employed in his work; and he chose this one wrath, he became angry, and expostulated with God as example that it might serve as an endless warning to above. The fifth verse should be read in a parenthesis, his Church to employ no man in the work of the minis- or be considered as begiming the chapter. try that is not scripturally acquainted with God's jus

Verse 6. And the Lord God prepared a gourd) I tice and mercy..!

believe this should be rendered in the preterpluperfect Verse 4. Doest thou well to be angry?] 777 2006 tense, The Lord HAD prepared—this plant, ('P'P 75 haheitib harah lac, “Is anger good for thee ?" No, kikayon. It had in the course of God's providence anger is good for no man; but an angry preacher, I been planted and grown up in that place, though per

B. C.
Ante U.C. 100.
Alladii Sylvii,

R. Alban., cir. annum 14.

Jonah grieves

JONAH. :

concerning the gourd. 4 M. cir. 3142. might be a shadow over his head, well to be angry for the gourd ? A.Mucir 3142 to deliver him from his grief. And he said, m I do well to be Ante U. C. 109.

Alladi Sylvii, So Jonah was exceeding glad angry, even unto death.

R. Alban., of the gourd.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou cir. annum 14. 7 But God prepared a worm when the morn- hast " had pity on the gourd, for the which ing rose the next day, and it smote the gourd thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; that it withered.

which came up in a night, and perished in 8 And it came to pass, when the sun' did a night: arise, that God prepared a veheme.east wind; 11 And should not I spare Nineveh, P that and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and thousand persons 9 that cannot discern besaid, " It is better for me to die than to live. tween their right hand, and their left hand ; 9 And God said to Jonah, 1 Docst thou and also much 'cattle ?

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haps not yet in full leaf; and Jonah made that his tent. change not the heart. Jonah had the gift of prophecy, And its thick branches and large leaves made it an but had not received that grace which destroys the old ample shelter for him; and because it was such, he man and creates the soul anew in Christ Jesus. This rejoiced greatly on the account. But what was the is the love of which St. Paul speaks, which if a man kikayon? The best judges say the ricinus or palma have not, though he had the gift of prophecy, and Christi, from which we get what is vulgarly called could miraculously remove mountains, yet in the sight castor oil, is meant. It is a tree as large as the olive, of God, and for any good himself might reap from it, has leaves which are like those of the vine, and is also it would be as sounding brass and a linkling cymbal. quick of growth. This in all probability was the plant Jonah was a prophet, and yet had all his old bad tem in question, which had been already planted, though it pers about him, in a shameful predominancy. Balaam had not attained its proper growth, and was not then was of the same kind, So we find that God gave the in full leaf. Celsus, in his Hierobot., says it grows to gist of prophecy even to graceless men. But many of the height of an olive tree; the trunk and branches the prophets were sanctified in their nature before their are hollow like a kex, and the leaves sometimes as call to the prophetic office, and were the most excelbroad as the rim of a hat. It must be of a soft or lent of men. spongy substanoe, for it is said to grow suprisingly fast. Verse 10. Which came up in a night] St Jerome, See Taylor under the root pp, 1670.. But it is evi- speaking of this plant, the kikayon, assigns to it an dent there was something supernatural in the growth extraordinary rapidity of growth. It delights in a of this plauft, for it is stated to have come up in a night; sandy soil, and in a few days what was a plant grows though the Chaldee understands the passage thus : “ It into a large shrub. But he does not appear to hare was here last night, and is withered this night.” In meant the ricinus ; this however is the most likely. one night it might have blown and expanded its leaves The expressions coming up in a night and perishing considerably, though the plant had existed before, but in a night are only metaphorical to express speedy not in full bloom till the time that Jonah required it growth and speedy decay; and so, as we have seen, the for a shelter.

, Verse 7. But God prepared a worm} By being 708 " which existed this night, but in the next night eaten through the root, the plant, losing its nourishment, perished;" and this I am satisfied is the true import would soon wither; and this was the case in the pre- vf the Hebrew phrase. sent instance.

Verse 11. And should not I spare Nineveh] In ver. Verse 8. A vehement east wind] Which was of 10 it is said, thou hast had pity on the gourd, non ang itself of a parching, withering nature; and the sun, in atlah ChasTA; and here the Lord uses the same word, addition, made it intolerable.

veani , “ And shall not I have scorching and suffocating in the East, for deserts of pity upon Nineveh ?" How much is the city better burning sand lay to the east or south-east; and the than the shrub? Bui besides this there are in it one easterly winds often brought such a multitude of minute hundred and twenty thousand persons! And shall I particles of sand on their wings, as to add greatly to destroy them, rather than thy shade should be withered the mischief. I believe these, and the sands they or thy word apparently fail ? And besides, these percarry, are the cause of the ophthalmia which prevails sons are young, and have not offended, (for they knew so much both in Egypt and India.

not the difference between their right hand and their Verse 9. I do well to be angry, even unto dealh.) left,) and should not I feel more pity for those innoMany persons suppose that the gifts of prophecy and cents than thou dost for the fine flowering plant which working miracles are the highest that can be conferred is withered in a night, being itself exceedingly shorton man ; but they are widely mistaken, for these gifts I lived? Add to all this, they have now turned from

די בליליא הדין הוה ובליליא אוחרנא ,Chaldee interprets it

,eani lo AcHus? ואני לא אחוס | These winds are botli

Concluding observations

CHAP. IV.

upon the Prophet Jonah. those sins which induced me to denounce judgment | history, their true repository ; but fancy can find them against them. And should I destroy them who are any where it pleases to seek them; but he who seeks now fasting and afflicting their souls ; and, covered not for them will never find them here.

Jonah was with sackcloth, are lying in the dust before me, be a type of the resurrection of Christ; nothing farther wailing their offences and supplicating for mercy ? seems revealed in this prophet relative to the mysteries Learn, then, from this, that it is the incorrigibly wicked of Christianity. on whom my judgments must fall, and against whom In conclusion : while I have done the best I could they are threatened. And know, that to that man will to illustrate the very difficult prophet through whose I look who is of a broken and contrite spirit, and who work the reader has just passed, I do not pretend to trembles at my word. Even the dumb beasts are ob- say I have removed every difficulty. I am satisfied jects of my compassion; I will spare them for the only of one thing, that I have conscientiously endeasake of their penitent owners; and remember with the voured to do it, and believe that I have generally sucrést, That the Lord careth for oren.

ceeded; but am still fearful that several are left beThe great number of caltle to which reference is hind, which, though they may be accounted for from here made were for the support of the inhabitants ; f the briefness of the narrative of a great transaction, in and probably at this time the Ninevites gathered in which so many surprising particulars are included, yet, their cattle from the champaign pasture, expecting for general apprehension, might appear to have requirthat some foe coming to besiege them might seize ed a more distinct and circumstantial statement. I upon them for their forage, while they within might have only to add, that as several of the facts are evisuffer the lack of all things.

dently miraculous, and by the prophet stated as such, No doubt that ancient Nineveh was like ancient others may be probably of the same kind. On this Babylon, of which Quintus Curtius says, the build- ground all difficulty is removed ; for God can do ings were not close to the walls, there being the space what he pleases. As his power is unlimited, it can of an acre left between them; and in several parts meet with no impossibilities. He who gave the comthere were within the walls portions of cultivated land, mission to Jonah to go and preach to the Ninevites, that, if besieged, they might have provisions to sustain and prepared the great fish to swallow the disobedient the inhabitants.

prophet, could maintain his life for three days and And I suppose this to be true of all large ancient three nights in the belly of this marine monster; and cities. They were rather cantons or districts than cause it to eject him at the termination of the appointcities such as now are, only all the different inhabit- ed time, on any sea-coast he might choose ; and af. ants had joined together to wall in the districts for terwards the Divine power could carry the deeply conthe sake of mutual defence.

trite and now faithful prophet over the intervening This last expostulation of God, it is to be hoped, distance between that and Nineveh, be that distance produced its proper effect on the mind of this irritable greater or less. . Whatever, therefore, cannot be acprophet ; and that he was fully convinced that in this, counted for on mere natural principles in this book, as in all other cases, God had done all things well. may be referred to this supernatural ‘agency; and

this, on the ostensible principle of the prophecy itself, From this short prophecy many useful lessons may is at once a mode of interpretation as easy as it is rabe derived. The Ninevites were on the verge of de- tional. God gave the commission; he raised the struction, but on their repentance were respited. storm; he prepared the fish which swallowed the They did not, however, continue under the influence prophet; he caused it to cast him forth on the dry of good resolutions. They relapsed, and about one land; he gave him a fresh commission, carried him to hundred and fifty years afterwards, the Prophet the place of his destination, and miraculously produced Nahum was sent to predict the miraculous discomfiture the sheltering gourd, that came to perfection in a night, of the Assyrian king under Sennacherib, an event and withered in a night. This God therefore perwhich took place about 710 B. C. ; and also the total formed the other facts for which we cannot naturally destruction of Nineveh by Cyaxares and his allies, account, as he did those already specified. This conwhich happened about 606 B. C. Several of the an- cession, for the admission of which both common sense cients, by allegorizing this book, have made Jonah de- and reason plead, at once solves all the real or seemclare the divinity, humanity, death, and resurrection ing difficulties to be found in the Book of the Prophet of Christ. These points may be found in the Gospel Jonah,

709

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK

OF THE

P R O P H E T

M I C A H.

MICAH, the Morasthite, or of Moresa, a village near the city Elcutheropolis, in the south

ern part of Judah, is the sixth in order of the twelve minor prophets. He prophesied under Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, for about fifty years. Some have con founded him with Micaiah, son of Imlah, who lived in the kingdom of the ten tribes, under the reign of Ahab.

The spurious Dorotheus says that Micah was buried in the burying-place of the Anakım, whose habitation had been at Hebron, and round about it. This prophet appeared almost at the same time with Isaiah, and has even borrowed some expressions from him. Compare Isa. ii. 2 with Mic. iv 1, and Isa. xli. 15 with Mic. iv. 13.

The prophecy of Micah contains but seven chapters. He foretells the calamities of Samaria, which was taken by Shalmaneser, and reduced to a heap of stones. Afterwards he prophesies against Judah, and declares the troubles that Sennacherib should bring upon it under the reign of Hezekiah. Then he declaims against the iniquities of Samaria. He foretells the captivity of the ten tribes, and their return into their own country. The third chap ter contains a pathetic invective against the princes of the house of Jacob, and the judges of the house of Israel; which 'seems levelled against the chief of the kingdom of Judah, the judges, the magistrates, the priests, the false prophets, &c. He upbraids them with their ararice, their injustice, and falsehood ; and tells them they will be the occasion that Jerusalem shall be reduced to a heap of rubbish, and the mountain of the temple shall be as a forest. We are informed, Jer. xxvi. 18, 19, that this prophecy was pronounced in the reign of Hezekiah; and that it saved Jeremiah from death.

After these terrible denunciations, Micah speaks of the reign of the Messiah, and of the establishment of the Christian Church. And as the peaceable times which succeeded the return from the Babylonish captivity, and which were a figure of the reign of the Messiah; were disturbed by a tempest of a short continuance, Micah foretold it in such a manner as agrees very well with what Ezekiel says of the war of Gog against the Jews. Micah speaks in particular of the birth of the Messiah ; that he was to be born at Bethlehem ; and that his dominion was to extend to the utmost parts of the earth. He says that God should raise seven shepherds, who should reign by the sword over Assyria, and in the land of Nimrod; which Çalmet explains of Darius, son of Hystaspes, and of the seven confederates that killed the magian, and who possessed the empire of the Persians, after the extinction of the family of Cyrus. The fifth chapter, from ver. 7 to the end, describes the flourishing estate of the Jews in their own country, from the reign of Darius, and after the Maccabees; yet in such a manner, that he mingles several things in it that can apply only to the Church of Jesus Christ.

The two last chapters of Micah contain, first, a long invective against the iniquities of Samaria : then he foretells the fall of Babylon; the re-establishment of the cities of Israel ; the greatness of the country possessed by the Israelítes; their happiness; the graces wherewith God will favour them; and all this in such lofty terms, that they chiefly agree with the

INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF MICAH. Christian Church. St. Jerome says that Micah was buried at Morasthi, ten furlongs from Eleutheropolis ; and Sozomenes says that his tomb was revealed to Zebennus, bishop of Eleutheropolis, under the reign of Thcodosius the Great. He calls the place of his burial Beretsate, which is probably the same as Morasthi, ten furlongs from Eleutheropolis.

Bishop Newcome observes that Micah was of the kingdom of Judah, as he only makes mention of kings who reigned over that country. It is supposed that he prophesied farther on in the reign of Hezekiah than Hosea did ; although chap. v. 5 was written before the captivi ty of the ten tribes, which happened in the sixth year of Hezekiah. It is plain from chap i. 1, 5, 9, 12, 13, that he was sent both to Israel and Judah. Like Amos and Hosea, he re proves and threatens, with great spirit and energy, a corrupt people. See chap. ii. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10; iii. 2, 3, 4, 6, 10-16; vii. 2, 3, 4. 'And, like Hosea, he inveighs against the princes and prophets with the highest indignation. See chap. iii. .5-7, 9-12; vii. 3. The reader will observe that these similar topics are treated of by each prophet with remarkable variety, and copiousness of expression.

Some of his prophecies are distinct and illustrious ones, as chap. ii. 12, 13; in. 12 ; iv, 1-4, 10; v. 2, 3, 4; vi. 13; vii. 8, 9, 10.

We may justly admire the elegance of his diction :

Chap. ii. 12.—"I will surely gather, O Jacob, all of thee :

I will surely assemble the residue of Israel.
I will put them together as sheep of Bozra,
As a flock in the inidst of their fold :

They shall make a tumult from the multitude of men.
13.—He that forceth a passage is come up before them :

They have forced a passage, and have passed through the gate ; and are gone forth by it:
And their King passeth before them, even Jehovah at the head of them.”

Chap. iv 1.—" But it shall come to pass, in the latter days,

That the mountain 'of the temple of Jehovah shall be
Established on the top of the mountains,
And it shall be exalted above the hills;

And the people shall flow into it:
2.-And many nations shall go, and shall say,

Come, and let us go up unto the mountain of Jehovah,
And unto the temple of the God of Jacob :
That he may teach us of his ways, and that we may walk in his paths,
For from Sion shall go forth a law,

And the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.
3.-And he shall judge between many people,

And he shall convince strong nations afar off :
And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
And their spears into pruninghooks :
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they any longer learn war.

His animation, chap, i. 5, lines 3, 4:

“What is the transgression of Jacob?-is it not that of Samaria ?

And what are the high places of Judah ?-are they not those of Jerusalem ?"

Chap. iv..9.-" And now why dost thou cry out loudly?

Is there no king in thee?
Hath thy counsellor perished ?
For pangs have seized thee, as a woman in travail."

There are few beauties of composition of which examples may not be found in this prophet. For sublimity and impressiveness in several places, he is unrivalled. The Lord's controversy, chap. vi. 1-8, is equal to any thing even in the prophet Isaiah. It has a powerful effect on every attentive reader.

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