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Introduction to Jonah                            



This book, in the Hebrew copies, is called "Sepher Jonah", the Book of Jonah; by the Vulgate Latin version "the Prophecy of Jonah": and in the Syriac version "the Prophecy of the Prophet Jonah". His name signifies a dove, derived from a root which signifies to oppress; because it is a creature liable to oppression, and to become the prey of others. HillerusF1Onomastic. Sacr. p. 429. derives the word from a root which signifies to be "fair" and "beautiful", as this creature is This name is very suitable to a prophet and minister of the Lord, who ought to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; and who mourn over their own sins, and the sins of others. Jonah did not always in, his conduct answer to his name, particularly when he was so angry at the Lord's sparing the Ninevites, and so impatient for the loss of his gourd. His father's name was Amittai, as in Jonah 1:1 and in 2 Kings 14:25; from whence it also appears that he was of Gathhepher, a town in the tribe of Zebulun, Joshua 19:13; and was a part of Galilee, Isaiah 9:1; and so R. Jochanan, in Abendana, affirms, that he was of the tribe of Zebulun, and of Gathhepher, which was in that tribe; which confutes that notion of the Pharisees in the times of Christ, that no prophet came out of Galilee, John 7:52. The JewsF2Hieron. Proem. i Jon. have a tradition that his mother was the widow of Sarepta, whose son Elijah raised from the dead, which was this prophet; and who is said to be the son of Amittai, that is, "truth": because his mother thereby knew and believed that the word of the Lord in the mouth of Elijah was truth, 1 Kings 17:23; but his being a Hebrew contradicts him, Jonah 1:9; for Sarepta was a city of Sidon, and he must have been a Sidonian if born of her, and not a Hebrew: but, be this as it will, it is certain he was a prophet of the Lord; and this book, which bears his name, and very probably was written by him, its divine authority is confirmed by the testimony Christ, of whom Jonah was a type; see Matthew 12:39; and indeed the principal design of this book is to set forth in himself the type of the death and resurrection of Christ, by his being three days in the whale's belly, and then delivered from it; and to declare the grace and mercy of God to repenting sinners, and to signify the calling of the Gentiles after the death and resurrection of Christ; and is a very profitable book to instruct us about the power and goodness of God; the nature of repentance, and the effects of it; the imperfection and infirmities of the best of men in this life; and the call and mission of the ministers of the word, and the necessity of their conformity and attendance to it. Cyprian the martyr was converted from idolatry by hearing this prophecy read and explained by Caecilius. If this prophet was the son of the widow of Sarepta, or the person Elisha sent to anoint Jehu, according to the tradition of the JewsF3Seder Olam Rabba, c. 18. p. 45, , he was born in the times of Ahab, and lived in the reigns of Joram and Jehu; and, according to Bishop LloydF4Chronological Tables. , he prophesied in the latter end, of Jehu's reign; where Mr. WhistonF5Chron. Tables, cent, 7. also places him, about 860 B.C.; or in the beginning of the reign of Jehoahaz, when Israel was greatly oppressed by Hazael king of Syria, 2 Kings 13:22; at which time he might prophesy of the victories and success of Jeroboam the second, and grandson of Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 14:25; and, if so, he is more ancient than Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, Joel, and Micah, whose contemporary he is generally thought to be Pseudo-EpiphaniusF6De Prophet. Vit. c. 16. , as he gives a wrong account of the place of the birth of this prophet, so of the place of his burial; which he makes to be in the land of Saar, and in the cave of Kenan, the father of Caleb and Othniel; but it is more likely that he died and was buried at Geth, where he was born; and where JeromF7Ut supra. says his grave was, shown in his time, about two miles from Zippore, in the way to Tiberias; with which account IsidoreF8De Vita & Morte Sanct. c. 45. agrees; and so Benjamin TudelensisF9Itinerar. p. 52. says, his sepulchre was on a hill near Zippore. Monsieur ThevenotF11Travels, par 1. B. 2. c. 55. p. 213. says, not far from Nazareth the tomb of Jonah is now to be seen, to which the Turks bear a great respect.



John Gill (November 23, 1697-October 14, 1771) was an English Baptist, a biblical scholar, and a staunch Calvinist. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism is a matter of academic debate.

He was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire. In his youth, he attended Kettering Grammar School, mastering the Latin classics and learning Greek by age eleven. The young scholar continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew. His love for Hebrew would follow Gill throughout his life.

At the age of about twelve, Gill heard a sermon from his pastor, William Wallis, on the text, "And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). The message stayed with Gill and eventually led to his conversion. It was not until seven years later that young John made a public profession when he was almost nineteen years of age.

His first pastoral work was as an intern assisting John Davis at Higham Ferrers in 1718 at age twenty one. He was subsequently called to pastor the Strict Baptist church at Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark in 1719. In 1757, his congregation needed larger premises and moved to a Carter Lane, St. Olave's Street, Southwark. His pastorate lasted 51 years. This Baptist Church was once pastored by Benjamin Keach and would later become the New Park Street Chapel and then the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Spurgeon.

During Gill's ministry the church strongly supported the preaching of George Whitefield at nearby Kennington Common.

In 1748, Gill was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. He was a profound scholar and a prolific author. His most important works are:

John Gill is the first major writing Baptist theologian. His work retains its influence into the twenty-first century. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism in English Baptist life is a matter of debate. Peter Toon has argued that Gill was himself a hyper-Calvinist, which would make Gill the father of Baptist hyper-Calvinism. Tom Nettles has argued that Gill was not a hyper-Calvinist himself, which would make him merely a precursor and hero to Baptist hyper-Calvinists.


──John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible


New King James Version Bible, NKJV

The NKJV was commissioned in 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. One-hundred-and-thirty respected Bible scholars, church leaders, and lay Christians worked for seven years with the goal of updating the vocabulary and grammar of the King James Version, while preserving the classic style of the of the 1611 version.

The task of updating the English of the KJV involved many changes in word order, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. One of the most significant features of the NKJV was its removal of the second person pronouns "thou", "thee", "ye," "thy," and "thine." Verb forms were also modernized in the NKJV (for example, "speaks" rather than "speaketh").


Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Young’s Literal Translation was completed in 1898 by Robert Young, who also compiled Young’s Analytical Concordance. It is an extremely literal translation that attempts to preserve the tense and word usage as found in the original Greek and Hebrew writings. The online text is from a reprint of the 1898 edition as published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Obvious errors in spelling or inconsistent spellings of the same word were corrected in the online edition of the text. This text is Public Domain in the United States.