Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Jonah 2:2 - 2:2

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Jonah 2:2 - 2:2

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

2 I cried to Jehovah out of my distress, and He heard me;

Out of the womb of hell I cried: Thou heardest my voice!

The first clause recals to mind Psa 18:7 and Psa 120:1; but it also shows itself to be an original reproduction of the expression מִצָּרָה לִי, which expresses the prophet's situation in a more pointed manner than בַּצַּר־לִי in Psa 17:1-15 and בַּצָּרָתָה לִּי in Psa 120:1-7. The distress is still more minutely defined in the second hemistich by the expression מִבֶּטֶן שְׁאוֹל, “out of the womb of the nether world.” As a throat or swallow is ascribed to she'ōl in Isa 5:14, so here it is spoken of as having a בטן, or belly. This is not to be taken as referring to the belly of the shark, as Jerome supposes. The expression is a poetical figure used to denote the danger of death, from which there is apparently no escape; like the encompassing with snares of death in Psa 18:5, and the bringing up of the soul out of sheol in Psa 30:3. In the last clause the words pass over very appropriately into an address to Jehovah, which is brought out into still greater prominence by the omission of the copula Vav.