Jonah 1:5
The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the ship's cargo into the sea to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.
Fear At the Prospect of DeathOtto Funcke.Jonah 1:5
Fear Driving Men to GodJonah 1:5
Seamen in StormsHomilistJonah 1:5
The Superstitious InfidelJames Simpson.Jonah 1:5
The Unavailing SacrificeJames Simpson.Jonah 1:5
Jonah ReprovedG.T. Coster Jonah 1:4-6
The Divine InterpositionA. Rowland Jonah 1:4-6
The Fugitive ArrestedW.G. Blaikie Jonah 1:4-6
An Effective Hue and CryJ.E. Henry Jonah 1:4-10

We see here a man who ought to run for God endeavouring to run away from him, and also how he speeds. The flight was illogical, a fatuous attempt to get outside the sphere of omnipresence, as much of our sin is a practical endeavour to get, or imagine ourselves, beyond the cognizance of omniscience. And it was made in the blindness of egoism and carnal self will - the qualities which are generally to be found at the bottom of ministerial unfaithfulness to the message of God. A lorry off the lines attracts attention, when a whole train on them might pass unnoticed. A large proportion of the heterodoxy extant originates in or is exaggerated by a desire to catch the public eye. The evil it does to the souls of men will go on so long as there are nominal servants who have a private interest dearer to them than the Master's work. And the personal disappointment and suffering and failure of the prophet are the experiences bound to be repeated in all cases of spiritual renegadism like it.

I. THEY RUN HARD WHOM GOD'S JUDGMENTS CANNOT OVERTAKE. Jonah scarcely hoped to get away from God. But he did expect to get away from his work. It lay northeast, and he went southwest. He was determined not to be near the place where duty lay, lest by any chance he should be compelled to do it. In this he succeeded for the time, and he succeeded still more fully in getting morally and spiritually away from the Most High. Not depths of sea or wilds of desert could have taken him so far from God as the moral elements implied in that flight. But he found that desertion, however possible, can never be satisfactory. God's authority is not to be run away from. He makes storms his artillery, and thunders after the runaway. He makes heathen sailors his officers, and captures him in his flight. He makes a fish's belly his dungeon keep, and puts him in durance there, Do not for a moment dream of evading God. If you run away from his spade, you run against his sword. You can run away from sobriety, but not from the white liver and empty purse and premature grave that drunkenness brings. You can run away from purity, but not from the debilitated frame, and the cloyed appetite, and the hell of a strengthening lust with failing power to feed it. You can run away from charity, but not from the heart hardness and bitterness and gnawing unrest of all loveless souls. Disobedience accomplished means judgment on the way, and judgment on the way means judgment ahead of the transgressor, and waiting for him as the angel for wretched Balsam (Romans 2:3).

II. THE JUDGMENTS SENT AFTER THE GUILTY OFTEN FALL ON THE INNOCENT AS WELL. "Sin," says Chrysostom, "brings the soul into much senselessness." It brought Jonah to think that he could play off nature against its God, and escape him by the help of his own winds and tides. It brought him to pit one of the great ships of Tarshish - the East Indiamen of that time - against God's east wind (Psalm 48:7). But mighty merchantman or tiny skiff, it is all one to the hurricane's blast. The prophet, so far from getting out of trouble himself, got others into it (vers. 4, 5). The sailors suffered fatigue and alarm; the ship owners suffered loss of freight; other vessels near suffered dilapidations; indeed, many interests were harassed before Jonah himself was reached. That is the rule with all sin. In almost every offence against the second table of the Law our neighbour suffers first. Then, after the offender begins to suffer, his suffering in turn involves the family and social circles in which be is. The spendthrift's poverty, the debauchee's disease, the felon's disgrace, go down infallibly to children, and it may be children's children. Sinning against God you are indirectly sinning against man, and sinning against one man, you are practically sinning against all his friends and all your own. Such a following of evils does the transgressor drag after him in an ever-lengthening train.

III. THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN THE OCCASION OF GREAT PUBLIC EVIL ARE OFTEN THE LEAST CONCERNED ABOUT IT. Jonah was the coolest man on board while the big storm was raging. It was due to him, sent after him, meant to arrest his thought and step, and yet, when hardy sailors were frightened, and ignorant heathen were driven to pray, the erewhile God-fearing landsman was making himself comfortable below, and curled up fast asleep. So the men who provoked the Flood were cool and calm about it, even when Noah and his family were flying to the ark. To the Sodomites also righteous Lot, preparing to fly the coming doom, seemed but as one that mocked. The hardness produced by recent rebellion had not yet worn off. The murderer does not regret his crime nor fear the gallows while his blood is up. The excitement sustains him for a time in reckless disregard of both. But when he has had time to cool down and think, when he gets the cold iron on his wrists, and sees the outer world through iron bars, when dreams recall his victim's death struggle or forecast the scaffold and the dangling rope, then his crime begins to look like itself, and his doom to put on its proper terrors. Jonah was still in the earlier stage. Fie did not see his sin yet, and he was too hot and rebellious to fear the punishment. After sin and before repentance there is an interval of unnatural insensibility, and in this interval Jonah's sleep was taken. It is a horrid sight to see judge and jury and the court affected to tears, and the criminal as hard as iron. Yet that is the analogue of a state into which we have only to defy God in order to fall.

IV. A PRAYERLESS BACKSLIDER IS AN ASTONISHMENT EVEN TO A HEATHEN. (Ver. 6.) The skipper, a responsible man, and pious according to his lights, thinks Jonah, sleeping there in the crash of the storm, must be either sick or mad. Prayer, whether to false gods or the true, is a universal and instinctive religious act. And so when the great wind guns began to boom and the billowy mitrailleuses to roar in chorus, when the helpless vessel tossed like a log and creaked and strained as about to break, then began every man to cry unto his god. Even the heathen could see that it was the thing to do, and the time to do it; and when the only worshipper of the true God aboard lies silent and indifferent, the captain and crew are alike astonished. Yet it is just what a little knowledge of the human character in its relation to spiritual things would lead us to expect. The iron that has been heated soft, and cooled again in water, is harder than ever. The process has simply tempered it. So the man who has been softened in the fires of grace, and plunged again into the waters of sin, is a harder man than he was at first (Hebrews 6:4). There are Canas and Chorazins among us, and it will be more tolerable for the Tyres and Sidons in the judgment than for them.

V. IT IS IN THE CRISES OF LIFE THAT FALSE CONFIDENCES FAIL AND THE TRUE GOD COMES TO THE FRONT. The captain sees appeal to his own gods to be vain, and he surmises that prayer to the God of Israel might be more successful. "Call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us." He knew of the true God as distinguished from the gods many whom he served, but only in extremity does he think of approaching him in prayer. The other gods were fair weather deities, good enough so long as you wanted nothing from them. But only the God who holds the winds in his fists will serve now. And thus, in a new sense, the extremity of man is the opportunity of God. Beliefs, moralities, observances, are made so many substitutes for the Christ of God. And they do to live with after a fashion. But you never knew a man to die comfortably with them. The last hour is apocalyptic. It unveils things. The bubble of conceit in personal merit bursts. The filthy rags fall off. The soul is flung naked, loathsome, undone, before the majesty of God. Take God in Christ for your trust this hour, and you will never know the withering curse on him that "maketh flesh his arm." - J.E.H.

The mariners were afraid, and cried every one unto his god.
We see how in dangers men are constrained to call on God. Though, indeed, there is a certain impression by nature on the hearts of men as to God, so that everyone, willing and unwilling, is conscious that there is some Supreme Being; we yet, by our wickedness, smother this light which ought to shine within us. We indeed gladly cast away all cares and anxieties; for we wish to live at ease, and tranquillity is the chief good of man. Hence it comes that all desire to live without fear and without care, and thence we all naturally seek quietness. Yet this quietness generates contempt. Hence, then, it is that hardly any religion appears in the world when God leaves us in an undisturbed condition. Fear constrains us, however unwilling, to come to God. False, indeed, is what is said, that fear is the cause of religion, and that it was the first reason why men thought that there were gods; this notion is indeed wholly inconsistent with common sense and experience. But religion which has become nearly extinct, or at least covered over in the hearts of men, is stirred up by dangers. Of this Jonah gives a remarkable instance when he says that the sailors "cried, each of them to his God." We know how barbarous is this race of men; they are disposed to shake off every sense of religion, they indeed drive away every fear, and deride God Himself as long as they may. Hence, that they cried to God, it was no doubt what necessity forced them to do. And here we may learn how useful it is for us to be disquieted by fear; for while we are safe, torpidity, as it is well known, creeps over us. Since, then, hardly any one of him self comes to God, we have need of goads; and God sharply pricks us when He brings any danger so as to constrain us to tremble. But in this way He stimulates us; for we see that all would go astray, and even perish in their thoughtless ness, were He not to draw them back, even against their own will.

( John Calvin.)

Pliny, who was a contemporary of the Apostle John, made some close observations of the animal world. Among other things he tells us of the mole — "Moriendo incipit oculos aperire," that is to say, "the mole first opens his eyes in death." And such is really the case, for the mole's eyelids, on account of his occupation, are closed all his life long, and only when lie is dying does he force wide open his small black eyes and look round upon the world, and up to the sky. Now, although the mole is not a favourite among men either for its usefulness or its beauty, we may be permitted to say that most human beings, created in the image of God, do just the same as the mole. Of them, too, it is true that, for the most part, they only truly open their eyes, that is, their inward eyes, in death. Then only, when about to leave the world and time, are their eyes couched; not till then do they learn to distinguish between what is something and what is nothing, what is vanity and what is true glory; and then, for the first time, they look up to the inexhaustible sources of eternal life, and discover, to their horror, that like deluded fools they have all along been pursuing what was only illusion, deception, or imposture. Yea, only in that hour do they who took so much pride in their own wisdom become wise in the sense which Moses meant when he prayed: "So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." So late do they begin to seek the antidote to death. Thus we find the fellow-voyagers of the runaway prophet are full of dread and dismay at the gates of death.

(Otto Funcke.)

The man who, in ordinary circumstances, refuses a just and enlightened submission to the authority of God is, in the hour of calamity, of all others the most likely to degrade his nature and his name by the low and debasing services of a gross superstition.


1. Not, assuredly, in the superior understanding of its subjects. Were it even so, that the most acute individuals were found in the ranks of infidelity, still infidelity gains nothing unless it can either be shown that it is itself the cause of this acumen, or that it results properly and immediately from its exertions. Infidelity is the vice not of mature but of juvenile minds, or of those whose minds never open beyond the attainments of indiscretion.

2. Infidelity, in very many instances, derives its origin from the distorted views of religion, which superstition or bigotry present.

3. The grand origin of all infidelity is the pride and pollution of the heart. Passion now usurps the authority over conscience, and the understanding submits to the will. What we strongly incline to we are easily persuaded to believe; whereas, a doctrine that opposes our desires, it is hardly possible to bear. The principles of infidelity may be held in the fullest harmony with indulged sensuality.

II. TRACE INFIDELITY IN ITS RESULTS. Follow the history of the infidel to his ultimate manifestation. That sooner or later he will be revealed is what we are warranted to assume. In one or other of the following ways is his folly revealed.

1. By voluntary confession on his acceptance of the Saviour.

2. By the despair which must follow the rejection of this salvation.

3. By the degrading superstitions to which the infidel is constrained to apply.


1. Of its wisdom. Intellect is the boast of infidels.

2. Of its practical influence. The interests of society are concerned here.

3. What is infidelity with respect to its ultimate comfort?That is no religion for man which does not afford consolation.

(James Simpson.)

I. THE MIGHTY AGENCY OF GOD. The wind is a strange power in nature. The fact that storms are under Divine direction should —

1. Rouse us to consider them as God's voice.

2. Lead us to submit to the catastrophes they produce.

II. THE NATURAL INSTINCTS OF MAN. These men developed —

1. The dread of death.

2. Faith in prayer. Their prayer involved —

(1)Faith in the existence of divinity.

(2)Faith in the intreatableness of divinity.

III. THE STRANGE VICARIOUSNESS OF SUFFERING. The storm came on as a consequence of the sin of Jonah. The innocent suffer for the guilty the world over. The principle of vicarious suffering is a principle developed in the experience of all. We suffer for others, and others have suffered for us. A man may deny the justice of vicarious suffering, but he cannot deny the fact. The sufferings of mariners are strikingly vicarious. Let shipwrecks remind us —

1. To put our confidence in God.

2. Of our moral condition.

3. Of our duty to pray for our brethren on the sea.


They cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea
Whatever sacrifices the sinner in the hour of trial may be disposed to make, nothing can avail him so long as unpardoned sin remains concealed in the heart.


1. The awakened sinner may abandon, in the hopes of relief, his worldly companions. These were his treasure.

2. Conviction may even constrain the sacrifice of the most endeared and of the most inveterate habits of sin,

3. He sacrifices his prejudices.

4. He sacrifices his personal ease.

5. He will even sacrifice his worldly substance.

II. SACRIFICES SO PRESENTED CAN NEVER BE ACCEPTED OF GOD. They have no intrinsic value; — they are involuntary — unseasonable — selfish — unauthorised — unbelieving — and unholy. Such sacrifices may be made while sin remains safely concealed in the soul. Two things are requisite in order to our intercourse with God. Not only must iniquity be pardoned, but it must also be destroyed as to the influence which it exerts on the heart. By that method of salvation which the Scripture reveals, holiness is effectually secured.

(James Simpson.)

Amittai, Jonah, Tarshish
Joppa, Mount Esau, Nineveh, Tarshish
Afraid, Asleep, Below, Cargo, Cast, Cried, Cry, Crying, Deck, Deep, Dropped, Fallen, Fast, Fear, Fell, Forth, Full, Goods, Hold, Inmost, Inner, Innermost, Jonah, Lain, Lay, Laying, Less, Lieth, Lighten, Lightened, Lower, Mariners, Sailors, Ship, Sides, Sleep, Stretched, Threw, Vessel, Wares, Weight
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 1:5

     5229   bed
     5831   depression

Jonah 1:1-6

     8616   prayerlessness

Jonah 1:1-10

     5178   running

Jonah 1:3-5

     5587   trade

Jonah 1:3-15

     5517   seafaring

Jonah 1:4-5

     8754   fear

Jonah 1:4-17

     5828   danger

Jonah 1:5-6

     5533   sleep, physical

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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