Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible

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Matthew Henry
Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712)


Jonah

 
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4


  • AN

    EXPOSITION,

    W I T H   P R A C T I C A L   O B S E R V A T I O N S,

    OF THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET

    J O N A H.


          THIS book of Jonah, though it be placed here in the midst of the prophetical books of scripture, is yet rather a history than a prophecy; one line of prediction there is in it, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown; the rest of the book is a narrative of the preface to and the consequences of that prediction. In the midst of the obscure prophecies before and after this book, wherein are many things dark and hard to be understood, which are puzzling to the learned, and are strong meat for strong men, comes in this plain and pleasant story, which is entertaining to the weakest, and milk for babes. Probably Jonah was himself the penman of this book, and he, as Moses and other inspired penmen, records his own faults, which is an evidence that in these writings they designed God's glory and not their own. We read of this same Jonah 2 Kings xiv. 25, where we find that he was of Gath-hepher in Galilee, a city that belonged to the tribe of Zebulun, in a remote corner of the land of Israel; for the Spirit, which like the wind, blows where it listeth, will as easily find out Jonah in Galilee as Isaiah at Jerusalem. We find also that he was a messenger of mercy to Israel in the reign of Jeroboam the second; for the success of his arms, in the restoring of the coast of Israel, is said to be according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by the hand of his servant Jonah the prophet. Those prophecies were not committed to writing, but this against Nineveh was, chiefly for the sake of the story that depends upon it, and that is recorded chiefly for the sake of Christ, of whom Jonah was a type; it contains also very remarkable instances of human infirmity in Jonah, and of God's mercy both in pardoning repenting sinners, witness Nineveh, and in bearing with repining saints, witness Jonah.


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    Matthew Henry
    Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712)

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    The Greatest Life
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    He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place he was born. He did none of these things that one usually associated with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

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     Where I am today, the Pacific Northwest is ablaze with wildfires in every direction. People in Oregon, California, and Washington are evacuating their homes and seeking refuge in cities. Ash is literally raining from the sky, and there are air quality alerts warning people to stay indoors and out of the smoke. 24 people have already died as the fires are wreaking havoc on whole communities. The Bible describes our tongues in the same way—able to wreak havoc and full of death:

    How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. - 

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