Jonah 2 – Prayer and Deliverance of Jonah & Joppa

Finger Pointing UpJonah knew You, but I don’t think he understood you anymore than anyone does, as he said in 1:9:

“And he said unto them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.”

So why did Jonah try and run from You when You told him to go to Nineveh and preach to them?

Jonah deeply hated the people of Nineveh, but that doesn’t mean he hated all pagans.  Verse 12 of chapter one shows that he didn’t hate all pagans, and actually he chose to give his own life to save theirs.

“And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you” (Jon 1:12).

It may not make since why Jonah would be willing to give his own life to strangers, but was not willing to save the souls of 120,000 other strangers.

1 Relief of Elamites
Relief of Elamites being tortured during the time of Ashurbanipal. From the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, now in the British Museum. The two Elamites shown on this portion of the relief are being skinned alive.

This event would have transpired in 648 BC, the year that Ashurbanipal II temporarily ruled Babylon after he eliminated his brother as a result of the four-year civil war.

Obviously, his hatred towards Nineveh was too great for him to handle, but it wasn’t greater than the love, or maybe the fear, he had for You.

It doesn’t matter how horrible a person may be, as long as they are alive You still love them and is waiting for them to ask Yu for Your forgiveness.

“…I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways…” (Eze 33:11).

They didn’t have ships back then like they have now and I’m sure when the waves got rolling it was very scary, so let’s take a look at…

Jonah 2
Prayer and Deliverance of Jonah

1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,

2 The military rulers
The military rulers, as in many other nations, could be a brutal breed. They ruled their empire and subdued nations with absolute terror.
“I destroyed, I demolished, I burned. I took their warriors prisoner and impaled them on stakes before their cities. …flayed the nobles, as many as had rebelled, and spread their skins out on the piles [of dead corpses]… many of the captives I burned in a fire. Many I took alive; from some I cut off their hands to the write, from other I cut off their noses, ears and fingers; I put out the eyes of many of the soldiers.” (TimeFrame 1500-600 BC by Time-Life Books) Assyrian War Bulletin (1000 B.C.) http://www.public.iastate.edu/~cfford/342worldhistoryearly.html

“I slew two hundred and sixty fighting men; I cut off their heads and made pyramids thereof. I slew one of every two. I built a wall before the great gates of the city; I flayed the chief men of the rebels, and I covered the wall with their skins. Some of them were enclosed alive in the bricks of the wall, some of them were crucified on stakes along the wall; I caused a great multitude of them to be flayed in my presence, and I covered the wall with their skins. I gathered together the heads in the form of crowns, and their pierced bodies in the form of garlands.”

2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

2:2-9 – a psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance from death in the sea.  Jonah recalls his prayer for help as he was sinking into the depths.  His gratitude is heightened by his knowledge that he deserved death but that God had sown him extraordinary mercy. 

The language of this son indicates that Jonah was familiar with the praise literature of the Psalms, i.e., he understood the love and mercy that God has for everyone, not meaning that him, or anyone, has the same passion.

3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about; the weeds were wrapped about my head.

6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

“That I have vowed” – in the book of Psalms, prayers were commonly accompanied by vows, usually involving thank offerings.

Prior to Curt going to prison in Texas he promised God that if He would help him he would do anything for Him and God honored his request.  God takes vows very seriously:

“When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LOD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee” (Deut 23:21-22).3

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay (Ecc 5:4-5).

10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.


Joppa, which means “beautiful,” was located on the Mediterranean coast at Jaffa, just south of modern Tel Aviv. It was the only natural harbor between Acco and Egypt.

4 Joppa
Jaffa is located about 30 miles (48 km) south of Caesarea. The modern population of Jaffa is about 60,000. Today Jaffa has a Jewish majority (mostly from other Mid-Eastern and North African countries) with a sizeable Arab Christian and Muslim population.

The name Joppa appears for the first time in the list of cities that Thutmose III captured (15th century BC). The legend of Andromeda being bound to the rock was first associated with Joppa by Strabo (1st century A.D.).

Timber from Lebanon passed through this seaport on its way to Jerusalem for use in the construction of the temples built by Solomon and Zerubbabel.

The prophet Jonah departed from Joppa in an attempt to flee God’s call to go to Nineveh. The Danites had earlier received this city as part of their tribal allotment but had moved north to Laish because of their inability to gain control of their allotted territory.

One of the few port cities on the coast of the Holy Land, Joppa was a city that attracted kings from the entire region. It is mentioned frequently in ancient sources, which attest to the wide variety of powers that controlled the city:

The Egyptian Harris Papyrus describes how the city was taken by Thutmose III (15th century B.C.), who, in a Trojan-horse maneuver sent the city’s ruler a gift of baskets in which were hidden his soldiers.

The city is also mentioned in two of the Amarna Letters (14th century B.C.), which indicate that Joppa was an Egyptian stronghold during the 18th Dynasty. 

Egyptian dominance evidently continued into the 19th Dynasty; stone doorjambs excavated in Joppa were inscribed with the name and titles of Ramses II (13th century B.C.).

In light of its location on the northern edge of Philistine territory, a Philistine presence is to be expected after the 12th century B.C., and indeed Philistine pottery from the 11th century B.C. has been unearthed there.

The city was evidently under Israelite jurisdiction during the Solomonic period and perhaps again under the dynasty of Omri, although available sources do not explicitly claim Israelite control during either of these periods.

5 Papyrus Harris
Papyrus Harris 500 tells the story of the capture of Joppa (in the Land of Israel) by a general of Thutmose III. The papyrus is said to originate from Thebes, Egypt.

The city was also conquered by the Assyrians. Sennacherib (in his “prism stele”) lists Joppa among the cities he captured during his 701 B.C. campaign.

Joppa remained a prized city during the Persian period. A sarcophagus inscription of Eshmunezer, king of the Phoenician city of Sidon, reveals that Joppa, through a donation of the Persian king, was subject to Phoenician authority.

Eshmunezer claims that the “Lord of Kings” (the Persian ruler) conferred upon him control of Dor and Joppa, “which are in the plain of Sharon,” as a reward for his faithful service.

The Phoenicians were not always loyal to Persia, however, and in the 4th century B.C. they engaged in a rebellion against Persian rule. Artaxerxes III destroyed Sidon in 358 B.C., and Joppa became liberated from Phoenician rule.

6 St. Peters Church
St. Peter’s Church
Peter came to Joppa from Lydda to raise Tabitha (Dorcas) from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). While in Joppa, the apostle stayed at the house of Simon the Tanner.

When Peter was praying on the roof, he had a vision of a large sheet filled with animals being lowered from heaven (Acts 9:43-10:23), signaling to him to go with the messengers from Cornelius. The Church of St. Peter marks the traditional site of Peter’s vision of the great sheet.

Soon afterward, however, Joppa came under the control of a series of Greek rulers. Two coins of Alexander the Great, who entered this region around 332 B.C., have tern uncovered there. The city did enjoy a degree of independence under the Ptolemac Greek rulers of Egypt.

Joppa was conquered by the Jewish Hasmonean ruler Simon Maccabeus around 144 B.C. This was a matter of great importance to the Jewish state, as it offered an outlet to the sea. The Hasmonean Alexander Jannaeus struck a large quantity of coins stamped with an anchor on one side to celebrate Jewish control over the city.

Roman rule began with the conquest of Pompey the Great (64 B.C.). Judea thus lost control of Joppa, but Augustus places it under the authority of Herod in approximately 30 B.C.

As the port city of Judea, Joppa was important to the New Testament church.  It was in Joppa that the apostle Peter raised Tabitha from the dead (Ac 9:36-43), experienced his vision indicating that God would accept the faith of Gentiles and subsequently preached the gospel to Cornel (Acts 10).

…Seafaring in the Ancient World

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