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Chapter 1. The Author .......
Chapter II. Historical Character of the Book ...
Chapter III. Object of the Book

Chapter IV. Analysis of Contents



25-58 59--60 60-62


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The Text adopted in this Edition is that of Dr Scrivener's

Cambridge Paragraph Bible. A few variations from the ordinary Text, chiefly in the spelling of certain words, and in the use of italics, will be noticed. For the principles adopted by Dr Scrivener as regards the printing of the Text see his Introduction to the Paragraph Bible, published by the Cambridge University Press.

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THERE is no reason to doubt that Jonah was himself the author of the book which bears his name. There is nothing inconsistent with that view in the contents of the book. No other satisfactory theory of authorship has been suggested. The candour of the writer, supposing him to be relating his own history, finds a parallel in the case of other inspired writers both in the Old and New Testaments. The graphic style of the book harmonises with the vigorous and resolute character of Jonah as pourtrayed in its pages.

Of Jonah himself very little is known beyond what we gather from this book. There is however one other mention of him in the Old Testament, which furnishes us with some particulars concerning him. In 2 Kings xiv. 25, we read of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, that restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-hepher.” It can hardly be doubted that the Jonah thus spoken of is the same person as the Jonah of this book. Both are prophets. Both are 'sons of Amittai. And when it is remembered that neither the name Jonah, nor the name Amittai, occurs anywhere else in the Old Testament, it appears most improbable that there should have been two distinct persons, both prophets, both bearing the same uncommon name, and both sons of a father with the same uncommon namel.

3. Assuming then, as we may reasonably do, their identity, we learn from the passage in Kings,

(a) That Jonah was a prophet of the Northern kingdom (Israel);

(6) That his birthplace was Gath-hepher?, a town of Lower Galilee, not far from Nazareth, in the tribe of Zabulon;

(c) And that he exercised the prophetical office, either before the reign of Jeroboam II. or very early in that reign3.

He would thus be a contemporary of Hosea* and Amos 5, if indeed he was not earlier than they, and therefore one of the most ancient, if not the most ancient of the prophets whose writings we possess.


Jonah means a dove, Amittai, true. The latter name, which is thought by some to be identical with Matthew, has given rise to the tradition that Jonah was the son of the widow of Zarephath, whom Elijah raised to life, and on receiving whom at his hands she said, '" Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth," 1 Kings xvii. 24. An equally uncertain tradition makes him also “ the boy who attended Elijah to the wilderness,” and “the youth who anointed Jehu.”

2 Called Gittah-hepher, Josh. xix. 13. It is in all probability the same as the modern village of el-Meshhad, where by a constant tradition from the time of Jerome to the present day, the tomb of Jonah is pointed out. See Smith's Bib. Dict. Art. Gath-hepher, and Pusey Commentary on Jonah, Introd. p. I.

3 Ewald writes: " It follows clearly from the words in 2 Kings xiv. 25—27 that this Jonah uttered the prediction neither long before nor long after the accession of Jeroboam II., especially as the king, according to all appearance, won his great victories very early. Jonah's prediction therefore must fall in with the childhood of Jeroboam or in the first commencement of his reign.” Hist. of Israel, vol. iv. p. 124, note 1. Carpenter's Translation. According to the ordinary chronology Jeroboam's reign was from B.C. 823 to B.C. 782. 4 Hosea i. 1.

5 Amos i. 1.

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