That they turned from their evil way] To which they were by nature and ill custom so wedded and wedged, that they could never have been loosened but by an extraordinary touch from the hand of Heaven. Likewise God did not deal with the Ninevites as He dealt with His covenant people Israel but as He deals with all people generally. That is why some of God’s commands are conditional. Observe, reader, God takes notice of every instance of the reformation of sinners, even of those instances which fall not under the observation of the world. So God's mode of dealing with them must alter accordingly, if God is not to be inconsistent with His own immutable character of dealing with men according to their works and state of heart, taking vengeance at last on the hardened impenitent, and delighting to show mercy on the penitent. III. The repentance of Nineveh did not cause God to change His mind about truth; it caused Him to change His mind about the consequences of His truth. But just as certainly it is unchangeable, for it acts according to fixed law and invariably responds precisely to the temperature.". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". (Jonah’s Anger at the Lord ’s Compassion. God morally regards us at any one moment just as we are. What kind of story is it? What cannot God accomplish, when by the sovereign act of his love he inclines the sinner's heart, and turns the whole tide of the affections back again. Delay in such a case meant destruction. "God knows that His believing children will persevere unto the end: why, then, does He speak to them as if they might not—as if they might apostatize and drawback unto perdition?" The Biblical Illustrator. The Talmudists note here, that God is not said to have seen their sackcloth and ashes, but their repentance and works, those fruits of their faith, truth in the inward parts, which God eyeth with singular delight, Jeremiah 5:3; as the work of his own Spirit, Ephesians 2:10. First, because God changed his mind (NRSV) about what he was going to do. None ever venture all on God's mercy and are disappointed. A moral revolution took place, but it was a revolution. He therefore changed his purpose, and the city was saved. [Note: Page, p265.]. It is unlikely that Jonah wasthe author. That gives the changeless principle of God’s government, and it explains all the changes in His attitude towards nations and persons. Yahweh, the covenant keeping God) occurs frequently earlier and later in the story. Erroneous notions have been adopted with respect to the immutability of God. III. mark with me the wonderful properties of grace, both in the heart of the Prophet and of the people. BibliographyPoole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jonah 3:10". And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. God, although He calleth it ‹repenting,‘ doth it otherwise than thou. The repentance of the Ninevites, even if it did not last, showed, at any rate, a susceptibility on the part of the heathen for the word of God, and their willingness to turn and forsake their evil and ungodly ways; so that God, according to His compassion, could extend His grace to them in consequence. Not so God; but contrariwise, He both predicts and delays, and terrifies with words, and leaves nothing undone, that He may not bring what He threatens. But if any one objects and says that still this view does not prevent us from thinking that good works reconcile us to God, and that they thus procure our salvation: to this I answer — that the question here is not about the procuring cause of forgiveness. BibliographyExell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Jonah 3:10". (Jeremiah 18:7-10.) The city was not overthrown in one sense, but it was in another. 4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. Required fields are marked *, Notify me of followup comments via e-mail, Designed by Elegant Themes When God beheld their sincere repentance he stayed the judgment (see on Jonah 3:4, and Amos 9:15). 1854-1889. He knows everything He is going to do. So God responded and did not do what he had threatened. So that God sometimes pronounces that a thing shall be, as far as it is contained in the order of inferior causes (as according to the disposition of nature or deserts), which yet doth not take place, because it is otherwise in the superior Divine Cause. God “relented” or repented of bringing catastrophe on the Ninevites. Righteousness is like the pole, to which the magnetic needle always points. (Thomas Harding.). Strictly speaking, no repentance can belong to God; and it ought not to be ascribed to His secret and hidden counsel. In fact, Griffiths said that, this passage from Jeremiah "is a general rule, demonstrated in the particular case of Jonah. Is it changeable or unchangeable? Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. The answer is, that He knew that the city would repent under the shadow of the Divine commination. "Commentary on Jonah 3:10". GOD do not repent like we humans repent. Certum est nos facere quod facimus; sed ille facit ut faciamus (August. Prayer without the sincere purpose of reformation would be hypocrisy. Nowriter in the Bible tells such a bad story about himself. Continued from Ch. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jonah-3.html. The ordinary method of interpretation applied to such texts is, to my mind, eminently unsatisfactory, and in fact involves erroneous and pernicious views of the Divine nature. God can act without the bounds of His conventions. See Jeremiah 18:7-10. Jon 3:1-10. And since all intermediate causes are not adequate to the power of the First Cause, there are many things in the power, knowledge, and will of God, which are not contained in the order of the inferior causes, as the resurrection of Lazarus. 5. in Greek) and effected by Nabopolassar and Astyages. Jonah: An Exegetical Commentary Ch. These then were their works, even the fruits of repentance. Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. This theory, in order to exempt God frown those imperfections which are connected with the exercise of the affections and passions among men, virtually denies to Him the possession of any affections at all. But truth of knowledge is the same in the Teacher and the taught, because the knowledge of the learner is a likeness of the knowledge of the Teacher. Repentance always produces mercy in God. We are told that the passages which speak of God’s repentance are simply forms of speech to indicate a change of outward procedure, but do not imply any change whatever of interior feeling. 1828. (8) The King of Nineveh urged all his people to "cry mightily unto God" (Jonah 3:8). But Jonah seems to ascribe their deliverance to their repentance, and also to their works: for he says that the Ninevites obtained pardon, because God looked on their works. Background1 Determining date and authorship of Jonah remains problematic, as explicit references do not exist within the narrative. Consequently, scholars must consider linguistic and historical factors to approximate such information.2 Traditionally, many ascribe authorship to Jonah son of Amittai (cf. (1) Jonah’s displeasure at the repentance of the people of Nineveh. The thought must therefore have been suggested to the King of Nineveh by the same gracious Spirit who inspired Joel. In the last verse of the third chapter we come upon a difficulty which has exercised the faith and called forth the ingenuity of interpreters. 1840-57. Why listed? Menzies, Christian World Pulpit, vol. Before leaving this verse which has the record of God's sparing Nineveh, it should be remembered that the punishment was merely deferred, not cancelled, and that, in time, after the people had turned again to terror and violence, God indeed executed his wrath upon them. The dealings of God with men have ever been characterised by judgment and mercy. READER! Thus we see that the threatening was conditional. Jonah 3:10 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented g and did not bring on them the destruction h he had threatened. There was a necessity for promptitude, seeing that a time-limit had been fixed. He recovered of one disease, and died of another, as Benhadad did; he gave but the half turn, and therefore turned at length, and nevertheless into hell, Psalms 9:17. 2012. Read more Share Copy Instead of rejoicing and enjoying the mercy of God, Jonah wanted to see the people of Nineveh pay for their sins!It is clear by what Jonah says that he understood what God was doing. 5. Possibly some inscription throwing light on the book of Jonah may yet be discovered. 2 Kings 14:25), placing the book somewhere in the eighth century (BC).3 However, some scholars note literary and histo… Were He not to change His mode of dealing with them, when they have changed their dealings toward Him, He would be really changing from His own immutable righteousness. A lot of people have trouble with this verse for two reasons. The reason why the announcement of destruction was made absolute, and not dependent on Nineveh's continued impenitence, was, that this form was the only one calculated to rouse them; and at the same time it was a truthful representation of God's purpose toward Nineveh under its existing state, and of Nineveh's due. The context of Jonah 3 is that the prophet, Jonah, is sent to Nineveh against his will. Jeremiah 18:7-10). If, on a vague possibility of mercy, the Ninevites were so vehemently earnest in suing for it, how much more reason have we, Christians, to come boldly, yet humbly, to the throne of grace, in the assurance that our prayers are not one of them lost, because Jesus "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification"! (6) Jonah was in his own person, as Jesus saith, "a sign unto the Ninevites." Jonah 3 Commentary, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, by the leading authority in the Church of Christ, presents a verse level look at the Bible. A list of the best commentaries on Jonah ranked by scholars, journal reviews, and site users. This gives to the denunciations of God a conditional character. The conduct of God towards the repentant Ninevites was in accordance with these general principles of His moral government. This change takes place in the Most High, not because He is changeable, but because He is unchangeable. The foundational proposition and premise of the book of Jonah is that God is not a respecter of persons nor places. But in His actual dispensations with man He deals with him according to the state of his heart and life. But the severe discipline which he had undergone was the preparation designed by God to adapt him for a high trust: and the same divine grace which not only restored Peter after his grievous fall, but also entrusted him with the charge to feed Christ's sheep and lambs, qualified Jonah, too, after his restoration, for fulfilling aright the difficult and responsible mission to pagan Nineveh. Whence one, looking to the inferior causes, might say, ‹Lazarus will not rise again:‘ whereas, looking to the First Divine Cause, he could say, ‹Lazarus will rise again.‘ And each of these God willeth, namely, that a thing should take place according to the inferior cause: which shall not take place, according to the superior cause, and conversely. (3) As Jonah previously "arose and fled," so now "he arose and went." But was it not, in a very true sense? What was really a change in them, and in God's corresponding dealings, is, in condescension to human conceptions, represented as a change in God (cf. And God repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them, There are certain passages of holy Scripture which assert in the strongest way that God cannot repent, and that He never does. Fortunately, the story is familiar. Repentance in man is change of mind and purpose, issuing in change of conduct; but repentance in God is only change of operation or administration, according as man’s conduct agrees with, or violates, the requirements of the Divine law. "The Adam Clarke Commentary". God always acts in this way. "First of all, the extant records are comparatively few. The statement in Jonah 3:10, that “God saw their doing, that they turned from their evil ways; and He repented of the evil that He had said that He would do to them, and did it not” (cf. Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. (11) The King of the Ninevites used the very same plea in addressing them as that which the prophet Joel suggested to the people of Judah, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" The change here mentioned is not in the Lord's mind, but in the Lord's providence. The mind of God is the one perfect mirror reflecting without the least distortion or refraction, every object, act, state, being, in the universe, just as it is. For he will not deal with penitent sinners as with impenitent; though his justice would not have spared unrepenting citizens, his mercy is so great he will not destroy repenting sinners. Moreover, the readiness, with which the Ninevites hearkened to the word of God that was proclaimed to them and repented, showed that with all the depth to which they were sunken in idolatry and vice they were at that time not yet ripe for the judgment of extermination. BibliographyBullinger, Ethelbert William. If he had not seen that, their fasting and sackcloth would have been as nothing in his account. Thus, repentance is not, as some allege, a mere sorrow for sin. Jesus declared that “the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah” (Mt. 10. The idea of God repenting is an anthropopathism (an idea about God put in human psychological terms). 4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." "Commentary on Jonah 3:10". "Hath He said it, and shall He not do it?" Wherefore also He threatened hell, that He may not bring to hell. 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