Jonah 1:1-2:1

Jonah 1:1-2:1
Holy Saturday ABC


1:1 Now the wordA of the LordB came to JonahC son of Amittai,D saying, 

Notes on verse 1:1

A “word” = dabar.From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
B “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
C “Jonah” = yonah. 19x in OT. From the same as yonah (dove or pigeon; used to refer to the exiles coming home, to describe sails of ships; also figuratively for mourning or as a description of beauty); perhaps from yayin (wine; root means to effervesce). This is Jonah, meaning dove.
D “Amittai” = amittay. 2x in OT. From emet (firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is Amittai, meaning true.

“GoE at once to Nineveh,F that greatG city,H and cry outI against it; for their wickednessJ has come up beforeK me.” 

Notes on verse 1:2

E “go” = qum + halak. Qum is to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense. Halak is to go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
F “Nineveh” = Nineveh. 17x in OT. From Akkadian Ninua or Old Babylonian Ninuwa; from nina (literally, a fish). This is Nineveh, meaning house of fish. This could be a literal reference to fish or a reference to the goddess Ishtar. See
G “great” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
H “city” = iyr.From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
I “cry out” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
J “wickedness” = ra’.From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
K “before” = paneh. Literally “before my face.”

But Jonah set outL to flee to TarshishM from the presenceN of the Lord. He went down to JoppaO and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

Notes on verse 1:3

L “set out” = qum. Same as “go” in v1:2.
M “Tarshish” = tarshish. Perhaps from the same as tarshish (a precious stone; perhaps yellow jasper, beryl, topaz) OR from Persian Tarshata (his excellency) OR from tarsata (feared, revered) OR from rashash (to break down, shatter; perhaps meaning breaking, subjection) OR tor (dove) + shayish (alabaster, white, crystal). This is Tarshish. See
N “presence” = paneh. Literally “face.”
O “Joppa” = yapho. 4x in OT. From yaphah (to be beautiful, decorate; root means being bright, which implies being beautiful). This is Joppa, beautiful.

4 But the Lord hurledP a great windQ upon the sea,R and such a mightyS stormT came upon the sea that the ship threatenedU to break up.V 

Notes on verse 1:4

P “hurled” = tul. 14x in OT. This is to hurl or throw, pitch or reel.
Q “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
R “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
S “mighty” = gadol. Same as “great” in v1:2. See note G above.
T “storm” = sa’ar. From sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, storm tossed; this is to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is a storm or whirlwind. It can also be stormy.
U “threatened” = chashab. This is properly to braid or interpenetrate. Literally it is to create or to wear. Figuratively, it can mean plotting – generally in a negative sense. More broadly, this can also mean think, consider, or make account of.
V “break up” = shabar. This is break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear. It is bursting in a literal or figurative sense.

Then the marinersW were afraid,X and eachY criedZ to his god.AA

Notes on verse 1:5a

W “mariners” = mallach. 4x in OT – 3 in Ezekiel 27, 1 in Jonah 1. From the same as melach (powder; used for salt or salt pit); from malach (properly, to pulverize, temper together, dissipate; also to season or salt). This is a mariner or sailor being someone who follows the salt.
X “were afraid” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
Y “each” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
Z “cried” = zaaq. This is to cry or call out. It can be a call to assemble or gather together. By analogy, this could refer to a herald who announces a public gathering. It could also be a shriek from pain or danger.
AA “god” = Elohim.

They threwBB the cargoCC that was in the ship into the sea, to lightenDD it for them.

Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the holdEE of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep.FF 

Notes on verse 1:5b

BB “threw” = tul. Same as “hurled” in v1:4. See note P above.
CC “cargo” = keli. From kalah (to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed). This is something that was prepared – any implement, utensil, article, vessel, weapon, or instrument. Also includes jewels, weapons, bags, carriages, and furniture.
DD “lighten” = qalal. This is to be little, insignificant, swift. It can also mean to bring down in esteem, create contempt, curse
EE “hold” = yerekah. From yarek (thigh, side, body, shank; can be figurative for genitalia). This is flank, side, recesses, border, quarter, extreme parts.
FF “fast asleep” = radam. 7x in OT. This is asleep or sleeper. It refers to a heavy sleep – being stupefied either of sleep or death.

6 The captainGG came and said to him, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up,HH call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thoughtII so that we do not perish.”JJ

Notes on verse 1:6

GG “captain” = rab + chobel. Rab is from rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status. Chobel is 5x in OT. From chebel (this is a band, rope, measuring line, noose; a company; territory or country; a throe of labor; ruin); from chabal (to bind, pledge, or wind tight; figuratively, can refer to perverting or destroying something; can also be used of writhing in pain, particularly in reference to childbirth). This is sailor or shipmaster.
HH “get up” = qum. Same as “go” in v1:2. See note E above.
II “spare a thought” = ashath. 2x in OT. This is smooth, shiny, sleek, or glossy. It means to think as though one polished a thought.
JJ “perish” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.

7 The sailors said to one another,KK “Come, let us cast lots,LL so that we may knowMM on whose account this calamityNN has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 

8 Then they said to him, “Tell usOO why this calamity has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And of what peoplePP are you?” 

Notes on verses 1:7-8

KK “one another” = ish + rea. Ish is same as “each” in v1:5. See note Y above. Rea is from raah (perhaps association with). This is an associate, companion, friend, neighbor, or other. It can also be used for close family or for a lover.
LL “lots” = goral. Root may mean to be rough like a stone. A lot was probably a small pebble used to determine one’s portion or what one should do (the will of a god or one’s destiny).
MM “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
NN “calamity” = ra’. Same as “wickedness” in v1:2. See note J above.
OO {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
PP “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

“I am a Hebrew,”QQ he replied. “I worshipRR the Lord, the God of heaven,SS who made the sea and the dry land.” 

10 Then the menTT were even moreUU afraid, and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them so.

Notes on verses 1:9-10

QQ “Hebrew” = ibri. From Eber (the region beyond; Eber, the name of several Israelites including a descendant of Shem); from abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is Hebrew, perhaps meaning a descendant of Eber.
RR “worship” = yare. Related to “were afraid” in v1:5. From the same as yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fearful or morally reverent.
SS “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.
TT “men” = enosh. Related to “each” in v1:5. See note Y above.
UU “more” = gadol. Same as “great” in v1:2 & “mighty” in v1:4. See note G above.

11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growingVV more and more tempestuous.WW 

12 He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.” 

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hardXX to bring the ship backYY to land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more stormy against them. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, O Lord, we pray,ZZ do not let us perish on account of this man’s life.AAA

Notes on verses 1:11-14a

VV “growing” = halak. Same as “go” in v1:2. See note E above.
WW “tempestuous” = sa’ar. Related to “storm” in v1:4. 7x in OT. See note T above.
XX “rowed hard” = chathar. 8x in OT. This is to dig so it can mean to rob as when one forces entry to burglarize. Figuratively speaking, it can also mean to row i.e. dig with oars.
YY “bring…back” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
ZZ “pray” = annah. Related to {untranslated} in v1:8. 13x in OT. Perhaps from ahabah (love); {aheb (to love, whether affection of friends or sexual; beloved or friend)} + na (see note OO above). This is oh, to beseech, to entreat.
AAA “life” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.

Do not make us guilty of innocentBBB blood;CCC for you, O Lord, have done as it pleasedDDD you.” 

Notes on verse 1:14b

BBB “innocent” = naqiy. From naqah (to be empty, cleanse, acquit; to be clean in a literal or figurative sense). This is blameless, innocent, free from punishment, or clear.
CCC “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
DDD “pleased” = chaphets. Properly, this means inclined towards or bending to. Figuratively, it means to desire, delight in, or be pleased with.

15 So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceasedEEE from its raging.FFF 16 Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offeredGGG a sacrificeHHH to the Lord and madeIII vows.JJJ

Notes on verses 1:15-16

EEE “ceased” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
FFF “raging” = zaaph. 6x in OT. From zaaph (to rage, boil up, be angry). This is storming, enraged, fierce, or wrath.
GGG “offered” = zabach. This is slaughtering an animal, generally for the purpose of sacrifice. It can mean kill or offer.
HHH “sacrifice” = zebach. Related to “offered” in v1:16. From zabach (see note GGG above). This is a slaughter, an animal offered for sacrifice. It can also be the act of sacrifice.
III “made” = nadar. This is to vow or promise.
JJJ “vows” = neder. Related to “made” in v1:16. From nadar (see note III above).  This is a vow as the thing one promises to God.

17 But the Lord providedKKK a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the bellyLLL of the fish three days and three nights.MMM

2:1 Then Jonah prayedNNN to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish

Notes on verses 1:17-2:1

KKK “provided” = manah. To weigh out, reckon, count, number, set, tell. By implication, it is allotting or providing something officially.
LLL “belly” = meeh. This is inward parts, belly, heart, womb, intestines, vastness. It can also be figurative for sympathy.
MMM “nights” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
NNN “prayed” = palal. This is to judge for oneself or in an official capacity. It can also mean to pray or make supplication, to entreat.

Image Credit: Stained glass window of the Église Saint-Aignan de Chartres.

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