Jonah 1:12
"Pick me up," he answered, "and cast me into the sea, so it may quiet down for you. For I know that I am to blame for this violent storm that has come upon you."
A Voluntary SurrenderJ.E. Henry Jonah 1:11, 12
The Sailors ConductG.T. Coster Jonah 1:11-16
The Offender SacrificedW.G. Blaikie Jonah 1:11-17
Hard RowingT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Jonah 1:12-13
Intelligible ProvidencesPastor Funcke.Jonah 1:12-13
Jonah's LateSamuel Clift Burn.Jonah 1:12-13
Settling the StormW. H. Burton.Jonah 1:12-13
The Penitence of the Prophet of Gath-HepherR. Brodie, A. M.Jonah 1:12-13

Matters so anomalous up to this point are beginning now to resume their normal aspect. The prophet had been behaving in a most inconsequential and erratic way. His flight had been utterly out of character. He ran away from a duty in the doing of which piety would have met philanthropy, and both have had ample scope. His sleep through the storm which his own sin provoked, when death was imminent, and even the heathen sailors called in terror on their gods, was, if possible, more eccentric still Most unaccountable of all, perhaps, was the declaration, "I fear the Lord," so sincerely made when in the very act of setting his command at naught. But now the craze is passing off. Like the prodigal at a corresponding stage of his career, we see the prophet coming to himself. The reign of law is coming back, and mind and conscience and will fall into line and begin to act by rule. These verses exhibit to us the workings of the backslider's mind in his return to God. We see -

I. THAT CALAMITY HAS COMPELLED HIM TO THINK. The sinner is seldom logical. If he were, he would be a sinner no longer. There are no valid premisses to which a sinful act will stand in the relation of a conclusion. If Jonah had reasoned out the matter before he started on his flight, he would not have started at all. He adopted on impulse a course the folly of which a single moment's consideration would have shown. And he avoided this consideration as long as he could. It was only the impossibility of getting further that compelled him to face the question, "Why did I come so far? And was it wisely done?" It is almost invariably the practical results of a line of conduct that lead us to examine as to its intrinsic wisdom. We consult our taste in the first instance. What promises immediate pleasure or profit comes to our judgment so highly recommended by the fact, that few questions are asked. No one supposes that the drunkard takes the moral, economic, or hygienic measure of his disastrous habit before he forms it. He has a lively feeling that it is pleasant, and suits his taste, and he waives the consideration of other points till a more convenient season. It is only when his habit has brought misfortune that he really faces the question whether it is a good one or not. With his month full of the bitter fruit, be naturally begins to form an idea of the character of the tree. If the fruiting had never come, the appraising would have been left undone. There is to every sinner a day when he cannot but think. He is happy if the needs be overtakes him at the outset of his straying ere yet return has become impossible.

II. THOUGHT HAS CONVINCED HIM OF SIN. We can read a sense of guilt in every word of the arrested fugitive. His mind has awaked. In thought he has faced the situation. And his thought has not been barren. It has brought forth conviction. It would have been weak indeed if it had not. The fact of sin is patent to ordinary intelligence. And so to a certain extent is its demerit. To declare its existence and quality is the function of natural conscience; and what is conscience but reason dealing with moral truth? Of course, its diagnosis of sin is inadequate. The awful demerit of sin done against an infinite and holy God cannot be reached by mere force of thinking. It takes an enlightened eye to see it as it is, an opened heart to realize the whole truth regarding it. You must know God, in fact, in order to know sin, which is an offence against him. This, no doubt, Jonah did. There was a mote for the time being in his spiritual eye, but it had been opened once for all to see God. He came, therefore, to the contemplation of his sin with a measure of spiritual insight. And all may come to it similarly furnished. Obey the call of Scripture to "consider." Make a sincere attempt reexamine yourself. Turn your eye inward, desiring honestly to know yourself as sinful in God's sight. You won't be left to your own unaided efforts and to failure. God awaits the beginning of such action to strengthen it. He awaits the attempt at such action to help it. He waits the aim at such action to move to attempt it in the strength of grace. It follows from the connection between wanting and getting in the spiritual sphere - "examine, and you shall know;" for the Spirit convinces the world of sin, and that by guiding into all truth the searchers after its hidden treasures.

III. CONVICTION HAS DRIVEN HIM TO CONFESS. There is a natural egoism in men that is unfavourable to confession. You get it out of them only by a difficult process as men get water out of a still. And the reasons of this are obvious. One is that men are more or less unconscious of their own moral state. They do not realize sin. They deem it an outrage to have guilt charged home. In the impudence of their unconsciousness they would bandy words with God himself (Malachi 3:8). Here is evident failure to discern the sinfulness of sin. And failure is due as much to pride as to incapacity. Men are naturally prejudiced in their own favour. Faults that others see well enough they ignore, or weakly disapprove what others utterly condemn. They abide in darkness because they hate the light (John 3:19). Given a man who cannot see his sin if he would, and who would not if he could, and you have a case in which confession need not be named. Even grant a measure of conviction, and confession does not necessarily follow. When sin is realized in a certain degree, the sinner's tongue is unloosed, and he tells it out with shame to God. But it does not follow that he will do it before his fellow men. That means a great deal more, is harder to do, and more reluctantly done. It is greater humiliation. It involves stronger reprobation. It implies deeper self-abasement. When it is honestly done conviction may be held to be at its intensest; in fact, to be true and adequate. Jonah's repentance had now come to this advanced stage (vers. 10, 12). "When the whip of God and the rod of his justice had overtaken Jonah, so that be now sees heaven and earth to he against him, down comes his proud heart: the sleeper now awaketh; the runaway crieth, Peccavi; contrition and confession come now tumbling upon him" (Abbot). Confession of our faults is an essential part of true repentance. To deny them is to lie, to conceal is to bolster up. When a transgressor is either sullenly silent or volubly apologetic, he has not broken with his sin. He could bear to speak the truth about it if he had definitely cast it off. Hence God makes confession a criterion of sincerity and a condition of pardon (Leviticus 26:40-42; Jeremiah 3:12, 13). Hence, on occasion of sin, Aaron (Numbers 12:11), and Saul (1 Samuel 15:24), and David (2 Samuel 12:13), and Josiah (2 Kings 22:11, 13, 19), and Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:6, 7, 12), and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:12, 13), and Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:26), and Peter (Mark 14:72), and others whose sincerity Scripture certifies, whilst it records the fact of their pardon, made free and heart-stricken confession of their fault before God and men. Sin confessed means sin discovered and reprobated and disowned. The man flings it off in the very act, declares himself at once its victim and foe. There is philosophy, therefore, and the fitness of things in the Divine deliverance, prescription and promise hand in hand, that "whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall have mercy."

IV. HIS NEW ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN INCLUDES WILLINGNESS TO SUFFER FOR IT. The world is sometimes surprised and puzzled by a voluntary confession of murder. The self-accused criminal has been hitherto undetected and secure. People may have had their suspicions, and drawn their inferences, but it was impossible to trace the crime home. Yet at last, when investigation had been given up, and the very memory of the crime died out, the murderer comes of his own accord, confesses his crime, and delivers himself up to justice. And, the wonder and puzzlement of shallow people notwithstanding, the act is perfectly logical. The anomaly is not that he has delivered himself up at last, but that he did not do it at the first. There is an instinctive sense of justice in a man, that recognizes the unfitness of a sinner going scot free. He feels that sin produces a moral derangement which cannot continue, and which it takes punishment to readjust. He feels at war with the nature of things until this has been done. He thinks if he had once endured the penalty the balance of things would be restored, and a foundation for future peace be laid. And he actually finds it so. The very fact of telling out his guilt has already lightened the load, and there is a new restfulness in the thought that now he is going to make some amends. It is to this principle that the doctrine of the cross appeals. In Christ crucified the demand of our nature for punishment proportioned to our sin is met. We see our transgressions avenged on him, in him our penal responsibilities met, and our full amends made. Our faith in Christ is, in one aspect, our instinctive clutching at the peace of the punished minus the preliminary pain. The same principle disarms and softens chastisement. Humility feels it is deserved. Intelligence sees it is necessary. And godly sorrow for sin welcomes it as a key to the dwelling of peace from which transgression had strayed. A willingness like Jonah's to accept the need of sin is no mean criterion of our attitude towards it, and of our whole moral bent.

V. HE THOUGHT THAT THE EVIL CONSEQUENCES OF HIS SIN COULD ONLY BE REMOVED BY HIS ENDURING ITS PUNISHMENT. There was a feeling among the sailors that some action must be taken in reference to Jonah (ver. 11). Their present relation to him had involved them in a storm; what but a new relation to him could bring the calm? And the prophet himself is of the same opinion. He considers himself the mountain which attracts the storm, and that, if he were cast into the sea, its great occasion would be gone. What is this but the practical application of a revealed principle, "He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done"? The axiom applies to the righteous and the wicked alike, if in a different sense. The sin of wicked Saul is visited with punishment as final rejection and ruin. The sin of righteous David is visited with punishment as fiery trial eventuating in a contrite heart. Heathen Philistia and chosen Israel sin in almost equal degree, yet "the remnant of the Philistines" perishes (Amos 1:8), whilst "the remnant of Israel" is by suffering saved (Isaiah 1:8; Romans 9:27; Romans 11:5). And among natural and spiritual men alike the principle holds, cutting this way and that, with double edge: for believing sin, "the rod;" for unbelieving sin, "the sword;" for all sin, wrath in God and anguish in man (Romans 1:18; Romans 2:9). A recognition of this fact would solve some mysteries of suffering, and put an end to many "offences" and complaints. A man sins in his youth against God, and others, and his own body. By the grace of the Spirit he is brought in a little to repentance and the higher life. Is, therefore, his wrong doing undone? By no means. In some physical ailment, in some raked up imputation, in some injured fellow creature, it rises before him when his hair is white. And he is surprised at this. He thought that, after repentance and pardon, his sin was done with forever. But it Is not so. Sin once done cannot be undone. It leaves its mark on the sinner - in mind, or body, or estate, or social relations, but leaves it inevitably somewhere. The wood from which a nail has been drawn can never be as if the nail had not been driven. The nail hole is there, and there remains, do what we will. When, as with Jonah, the sin is against God directly, it has no physical concomitant, and the punishment in its physical aspect can show no connection with it. But it is neither more nor less the doing of God and the result of sin on that account. And, although in regions out of sight, a radical and natural connection still exists between penalty and crime. Its moral necessity and significance and tendency remain the same. Hence the certainty of its coming and the folly of striving to evade its stroke. Not till law natural and moral has had its amends, and all injured interests been recouped, can escape for the law breaker come. Come then it fitly and fairly may, and come then, and only then, it will (Psalm 89:30-33).

1. It is not enough to confess sin in general, we must confess it in particular. There is a kind of impersonal guilt which many will freely acknowledge, by whom personal guilt is altogether ignored. If we say generally, "Your nature is corrupt," they will own it without hesitation and without emotion. If we say, "Your conduct is bad," they will deny the impeachment and resent it. That was not Jonah's way. He unaffectedly confessed guilt as to the matter in hand. And it is not the way of true conviction. You confess and deny in one breath; deny in the particular what you confess in the general; which amounts to saying that a certain number of whites will make a black. But the fact is your acknowledgment is mechanical and formal, and therefore worthless. The denial, on the other hand, is intelligent and in earnest, and the deliberate expression of your mind and feeling. Accordingly, your confession as a whole means just what it says, and that is - nothing.

2. Mercy should move us to confession of sin as strongly as judgment. Who will say that it was altogether the severity of God in punishing at last, and in no degree his goodness in refraining till now, that led the prophet to repentance? Not so speaks the Scripture (Romans 2:4). Mercy touches a bad heart and breaks it, a cold heart and warms it, a closed mouth and opens it. That is its normal, and ought to be its actual, effect on you. Your mercies have been neither few nor small They supply a basis for the inspired appeal, "We beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God" etc. They supply an impulse more than adequate to bring you to the kingdom. If you have resisted them, what will persuade you? The resources of grace have been well nigh expended. God's time of striving has almost ran out. Strive to enter while you see the gate ajar, or the clang of its closing bolts may be the knell of your immortal soul. - J.E.H.

I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
It is certain that in all general adversities God has some purpose to accomplish with all those that suffer. But it is no less true that individual persons may be particularly aimed at. A few years ago the great steamship Austria, crowded with emigrants, was burned far out at sea, and only a few of the passengers were saved. Of these some after wards published reports of the terrible event. One thrilling narrative was from the pen of a young man who had sunk very low in debauchery, frivolity, and scorn of all higher things. And this is what he said of himself: "I do not understand the ways of the Eternal; but I do know this, that it needed a terrible catastrophe to awaken me from my deathlike sleep. Nothing less than such awful event would have driven me from the path of ruin; and in the midst of all the frightful agony of the scene, an inward voice seemed to say to me, 'This is all for your sake, that your soul may be dragged from destruction.'" So also a Prussian musketeer who on the battlefield of Sadowa had both his legs shot off, said to me, "I can never reveal my sins to any human being; but believe me, that only in that way could I be plucked as a brand from the burning. As far as I am concerned, I know why the war had to come."

(Pastor Funcke.)

This is the first clear indication of a return on the part of the prophet to a proper state of feeling. His confession did not necessarily imply this.

I. THE REQUEST OF JONAH. "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea." These words imply —

1. A conviction of the folly of attempting to resist God's will. It may be said that this none will dispute. In words, indeed, many may admit this, but in their practice they contradict it. Every disobedient sinner imagines that he can secure his happiness not only independently of God, but in opposition to what He hath revealed or what He can do.

2. An expression of his readiness to endure the chastisement due to his transgression. It is one thing to acknowledge our guilt and desert of punishment, and another practically to acquiesce in that punishment when it is about to be inflicted. It is a much more difficult thing, and much more indicative of true penitence, patiently to bear affliction than actively to perform duty. Jonah pronounces on himself the appalling sentence, that he should be cast into the sea.

3. An expression of his readiness to submit, not only as respected the matter of the punishment, but the manner of it. Though Jonah passed sentence on himself, he did not propose that he should himself carry it into effect. Self-destruction is in no case justifiable.

4. The expression of his satisfaction that the innocent should escape, though he might suffer.

II. THE CONDUCT OF THE MARINERS. It might have been expected that they would follow Jonah's advice. They did not at once. Notice —

1. The benevolence of their exertions.

2. The inefficacy of their exertions.Learn the obstructions which sin presents to our efforts for the good of others.

(R. Brodie, A. M.)

Trace an analogy between the experience of these ancient mariners and that of those who are "led by the Spirit of God" to accept salvation through the death of Christ. "Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows." It will be interesting to trace the steps by which this consummation was reached.

I. True spiritual religion is DIVINE IN ITS ORIGIN. Some of us began life very much as these sailors commenced their voyage. Every prospect seemed bright. So easily we persuaded ourselves to rest. Jonah learned in the belly of the fish that "salvation is of the Lord." This at a stroke removes —

1. Inherent goodness.

2. Inherited grace.

3. Imparted sanctity.As this spiritual religion is Divine in its origin, so it is —

II. IRRESISTIBLE IN ITS OPERATION. When God said, "Let light be!" light was, and nothing could resist His decree. And so it is in the new creation. What could these sailors do against the "mighty tempest" which threatened to dash their ship in pieces? Men may encase themselves in pride, carnal reason, prejudice, unbelief, but the Word of God is "quick and powerful."

III. ABSOLUTE ITS REQUIREMENTS. "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea." That was God's way of giving calm and rest. See the ways the mariners tried.

1. They began to be religious.

2. They tried to lighten the vessel.

3. They rowed hard to get to land.By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your selves: it is the gift of God. Accept God's method.

IV. BLESSED IN ITS RESULTS. This is precisely the way in which God works in grace.

1. Peace through faith.

2. Piety with peace.

3. Profession with piety.

(W. H. Burton.)

Let us not fail to admire all that was admirable in the conduct of this heathen crew. A nobler ship's company was never gathered together. No human voice cried across the deck of the labouring vessel that the man who pronounced this sentence upon himself must be taken at his word. With a humane self-restraint which did them infinite honour the sailors set to work at an attempt to save themselves without sacrificing their passenger: and it was not until that attempt had completely and manifestly failed that they reluctantly and reverently consigned him to the deep.


1. Notice the toil it involved on behalf of a stranger.

2. The risk to which it exposed them for the sake of one who had occasioned them loss.

3. It was a noble motive which prompted these men to make this attempt to save the prophet's life. They desired to show their sense of Jonah's own demeanour in relation to themselves, and to make a suitable response to it.

4. The failure of their attempt by no means detracts from the nobility of their conduct. It does not follow that they had nothing but their labour for their pains. They were morally the better for the purpose they had cherished of saving the prophet, and for the effort they had made to accomplish their purpose.

II. CONSIGNING JONAH TO THE SEA. They handled the prophet as tenderly as the circumstances permitted. Look at the prayer these men offered before they put Jonah into the sea.

1. The prayer is replete with interest to those who regard it with attention. It was a prayer addressed to the true God by these heathen for the first time. It was a very earnest prayer. It was a prayer for their own preservation. It was a prayer for the prophet.

2. The reply to the prayer. "The sea ceased from her raging." This was a miracle. Miracles were signs. This was "a sign that Jonah was indeed a prophet of the Lord. A sign that Jehovah is the ruler of the sea. And a sign that God hears and answers prayer.

(Samuel Clift Burn.)

Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land
The unavailing efforts of these oarsmen have a counter-part —

1. In the efforts we are making to bring souls to the shore of safety, and set their feet on the Rock of Ages.

2. In the efforts we are making to bring this world back to God, His pardon, and safety. If this world could have been saved by human effort, it would have been saved long ago.

3. In every man that is trying to row his own soul into safety.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

Amittai, Jonah, Tarshish
Joppa, Mount Esau, Nineveh, Tarshish
Account, Calm, Cast, Cease, Fault, Forth, Lift, Pick, Quiet, Replied, Sake, Storm, Tempest, Throw
1. Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish.
4. He is betrayed by a great storm;
11. thrown into the sea;
17. and swallowed by a fish.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Jonah 1:12

     6163   faults
     8319   perception, spiritual

Jonah 1:3-15

     5517   seafaring

Jonah 1:4-17

     5828   danger

Jonah 1:10-12

     8718   disobedience

Jonah 1:11-15

     8328   quietness

Guilty Silence and Its Reward
Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2. Arise, go to Nineveh, that great, city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me. 3. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4. But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Christian Graces.
FAITH. FAITH! Peter saith, faith, in the very trial of it, is much more precious than gold that perisheth. If so, what is the worth or value that is in the grace itself? Faith is so great an artist in arguing and reasoning with the soul, that it will bring over the hardest heart that it hath to deal with. It will bring to my remembrance at once, both my vileness against God, and his goodness towards me; it will show me, that though I deserve not to breathe in the air, yet God will have me an heir
John Bunyan—The Riches of Bunyan

Whether Divination by Drawing Lots is Unlawful?
Objection 1: It would seem that divination by drawing lots is not unlawful, because a gloss of Augustine on Ps. 30:16, "My lots are in Thy hands," says: "It is not wrong to cast lots, for it is a means of ascertaining the divine will when a man is in doubt." Objection 2: There is, seemingly, nothing unlawful in the observances which the Scriptures relate as being practiced by holy men. Now both in the Old and in the New Testament we find holy men practicing the casting of lots. For it is related
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

The Careless Sinner Awakened.
1, 2. It is too supposable a case that this Treatise may come into such hands.--3, 4. Since many, not grossly vicious, fail under that character.--5, 6. A more particular illustration of this case, with an appeal to the reader, whether it be not his own.--7 to 9. Expostulation with such.--10 to 12. More particularly--From acknowledged principles relating to the Nature of Got, his universal presence, agency, and perfection.--13. From a view of personal obligations to him.--14. From the danger Of this
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). In our last chapter we considered at some length the much debated and difficult question of the human will. We have shown that the will of the natural man is neither Sovereign nor free but, instead, a servant and slave. We have argued that a right conception of the sinner's will-its servitude-is essential to a just estimate of his depravity and ruin. The utter corruption and degradation of human nature is something which
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
(Galilee on the Same Day as the Last Section.) ^A Matt. XII. 38-45; ^C Luke XI. 24-36. ^c 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, ^a 38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. [Having been severely rebuked by Jesus, it is likely that the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign that they might appear to the multitude more fair-minded and open to conviction than Jesus had represented them to be. Jesus had just wrought
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation,
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The book of Jonah is, in some ways, the greatest in the Old Testament: there is no other which so bravely claims the whole world for the love of God, or presents its noble lessons with so winning or subtle an art. Jonah, a Hebrew prophet, is divinely commanded to preach to Nineveh, the capital of the great Assyrian empire of his day. To escape the unwelcome task of preaching to a heathen people, he takes ship for the distant west, only to be overtaken by a storm, and thrown into the sea, when, by
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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