Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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JONAS - Chapter 3

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Jonas iii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. Bid thee before, or when thou shalt be there. (Calmet) --- He seems to have retired to Jerusalem. (Menochius)

Ver. 3. Journey. By the computation of some ancient historians, Ninive was about fifty miles round: so that to go through all the chief streets and public places, was three days' journey. (Challoner) --- Diodorus (iii. 1.) says Ninive was 150 stadia or furlongs in length. It must have been therefore 480 round; and as each furlong contains 125 paces of 5 ft. each, the compass would be "60 Italian miles, (about 50 English)" which would employ a person three days to go through the principal streets. (Worthington) --- Ninive "was much larger that Babylon." (Strabo xvi.) --- Hebrew, "a great city of God," &c., denoting its stupendous size.

Ver. 4. Journey. He records what he said the first day, though he seems to have preached many (Theodoret) even during forty days, after which time (Haydock) he expected the city would fall, and therefore retired out of the walls, chap. iv. --- Forty. Septuagint three. St. Justin Martyr, (Dialogue with Trypho) "three, or forty-three." Theodoret thinks that the mistake was made by some ancient transcriber, and has since prevailed in all the copies of the Septuagint. All the rest have forty. St. Augustine (City of God xviii. 44.) believes the Septuagint placed three for a mysterious reason. Origen (hom. xvi. Num.) suggests that the prophet determined the number, and hence God did not execute the threat. (Calmet) --- This and many other menaces are conditional. If men repent, God will change his sentence. (St. Chrysostom; St. Gregory, Mor. xvi. 18.) (Worthington)

Ver. 5. God. They were convinced that he had wrought such wonders in the person of Jonas, with a desire of their welfare, particularly as he allowed them some delay. Accordingly they did penance for about forty days, and their conversion was so sincere, that Christ proposes it to his disciples, Matthew xii. 41. (Calmet) --- Thus "the city was overturned in its perverse manners." (St. Augustine, City of God xxi. 24., and Psalm l.) --- They were at an end, and the city was renovated. (Haydock)

Ver. 6. King Sardanapalus, (Salien, Year of the world 3216) or rather his father, Phul, whom Strabo calls Anacyndaraxes, (Calmet.) and who died in the year of the world 3237, (Usher) four years after he had invaded Palestine, 4 Kings xv. 19.

Ver. 7. Princes. Their consent was requisite, to form an irrevocable edict, Daniel vi. 8. --- Men. Even infants, according to the Fathers, Joel ii. 16. St. Basil adds also, the young of cattle. This was done to excite rational beings to repentance. (Theodoret) --- We do not find that cattle were deprived of food on such occasions among the Jews. But Virgil specifies that this was the case at the death of Csar, (Ecl. v.) as it was in droughts among some nations of America. (Horn ii. 13.) (Calmet) --- When people are greatly moved by repentance, they exceed in austerity; but if this be not indiscreet, God accepts of their good intention. (Worthington)

Ver. 10. Mercy. Hebrew, "repented," as some copies of the Septuagint read, while others have, "was comforted." (Haydock) --- God suspended the stroke. But as the people soon relapsed, Sardanapalus burnt himself to death, and the city was taken, (St. Jerome) thirty-seven years after Jeroboam. (Year of the world 3257, Usher) --- Yet this was only a prelude to its future ruin, foretold by Tobias, (xiv. 5. in Greek) and effected by Nabopolassar and Astyages. (Calmet) (Year of the world 3378, Usher) --- The vestiges did not appear in the days of Lucian, (Charon.; Calmet) soon after Christ. (Haydock)

 


Bible Text & Cross-references:

Jonas is sent again to preach in Ninive. Upon their fasting and repentance, God recalleth the sentence by which they were to be destroyed.

1 And the word of the Lord came to Jonas the second time, saying:

2 Arise, and go to Ninive, the great city: and preach in it the preaching that I bid thee.

3 And Jonas arose, and went to Ninive, according to the word of the Lord: now Ninive was a great city of three days' journey.

4 And Jonas began to enter into the city one day's journey: and he cried, and said: Yet forty days, and Ninive shall be destroyed.

5 *And the men of Ninive believed in God: and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least.

6 And the word came to the king of Ninive: and he rose up out of his throne, and cast away his robe from him, and was clothed with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published in Ninive, from the mouth of the king, and of his princes, saying: Let neither men nor beasts, oxen, nor sheep, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water.

8 And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands.

9 *Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish?

10 And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and God had mercy with regard to the evil which he had said that he would do to them, and he did it not.

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5: Matthew xii. 41.; Luke xi. 32.

9: Jeremias xviii. 11.; Joel ii. 14.