Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Jonah 2:3 - 2:3

Online Resource Library

Commentary Index | Return to

Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Jonah 2:3 - 2:3

(Show All Books | Show All Chapters)

This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

3 Thou castedst me into the deep, into the heart of the seas,

And the stream surrounded me;

All Thy billows and Thy waves went over me.

4 Then I said, I am thrust away from Thine eyes,

Yet I will look again to Thy holy temple.

The more minute description of the peril of death is attached by Vav consec., to express not sequence in time, but sequence of thought. Jehovah cast him into the depth of the sea, because the seamen were merely the executors of the punishment inflicted upon him by Jehovah. Metsūlâh, the deep, is defined by “the heart of the seas” as the deepest abyss of the ocean. The plural yammı̄m (seas) is used here with distinct significance, instead of the singular, “into the heart of the sea” (yâm) in Exo 15:8, to express the idea of the boundless ocean (see Dietrich, Abhandlung zur hebr. Grammatik, pp. 16, 17). The next clauses are circumstantial clauses, and mean, so that the current of the sea surrounded me, and all the billows and waves of the sea, which Jehovah had raised into a storm, went over me. Nâhâr, a river or stream, is the streaming or current of the sea, as in Psa 24:2. The words of the second hemistich are a reminiscence of Psa 42:8. What the Korahite singer of that psalm had experienced spiritually, viz., that one wave of trouble after another swept over him, that had the prophet literally experienced. Jonah “does not say, The waves and the billows of the sea went over me; but Thy waves and Thy billows, because he felt in his conscience that the sea with its waves and billows was the servant of God and of His wrath, to punish sin” (Luther). Jon 2:4 contains the apodosis to Jon 2:3: “When Thou castedst me into the deep, then I said (sc., in my heart, i.e., then I thought) that I was banished from the sphere of Thine eyes, i.e., of Thy protection and care.” These words are formed from a reminiscence of Psa 31:23, נִגְרַשְׁתִּי being substituted for the נִגְרַזְתִּי of the psalm. The second hemistich is attached adversatively. אַךְ, which there is no necessity to alter into אֵךְ = אֵיךְ, as Hitzig supposes, introduces the antithesis in an energetic manner, like אָכֵם elsewhere, in the sense of nevertheless, as in Isa 14:15; Psa 49:16; Job 13:15 (cf. Ewald, §354, a). The thought that it is all over with him is met by the confidence of faith that he will still look to the holy temple of the Lord, that is to say, will once more approach the presence of the Lord, to worship before Him in His temple, - an assurance which recals Psa 5:8.

The thought that by the grace of the Lord he has been once more miraculously delivered out of the gates of death, and brought to the light of the world, is carried out still further in the following strophe, in entirely new turns of thought.