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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



JONAS 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 2.  Bid thee before, or when thou shalt be there.  C. --- He seems to have retired to Jerusalem.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Journey.  By the computation of some ancient historians, Ninive was about fifty miles round: so that to go through all the chief streets and public places, was three days' journey.  Ch. --- Diodorus (iii. 1.) says Ninive was 150 stadia or furlongs in length.  It must have been therefore 480 round; and as each furlong contains 125 paces of 5 ft. each, the compass would be "60 Italian miles, (about 50 Eng.)" which would employ a person three days to go through the principal streets.  W. --- Ninive "was much larger that Babylon."  Strabo xvi. --- Heb. "a great city of God," &c. denoting its stupendous size.

 

Ver. 4.  Journey.  He records what he said the first day, though he seems to have preached many (Theod.) even during forty days, after which time (H.) he expected the city would fall, and therefore retired out of the walls.  C. iv. --- Forty.  Sept. three.  S. Justin, (dial.) "three, or forty-three."  Theodoret thinks that the mistake was made by some ancient transcriber, and has since prevailed in all the copies of the Sept.  All the rest have forty.  S. Aug. (de civ. Dei. xviii. 44.) believes the Sept. placed three for a mysterious reason.  Origen (hom. xvi.  Num.) suggests that the prophet determined the number, and hence God did not execute the threat.  C. --- This and many other menaces are conditional.  If men repent, God will change his sentence.  S. Chrys.  S. Greg. Mor. xvi. 18.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  God.  They were convinced that he had wrought such wonders in the person of Jonas, with a desire of their welfare, particularly as he allowed them some delay.  Accordingly they did penance for about forty days, and their conversion was so sincere, that Christ proposes it to his disciples.  Mat. xii. 41.  C. --- Thus "the city was overturned in its perverse manners."  S. Aug. de civ. Dei. xxi. 24. and Ps. l. --- They were at an end, and the city was renovated.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  King Sardanapalus, (Salien, A. 3216) or rather his father, Phul, whom Strabo calls Anacyndaraxes, (C.) and who died in the year 3237, (Usher) four years after he had invaded Palestine.  4 K. xv. 19.

 

Ver. 7.  Princes.  Their consent was requisite, to form an irrevocable edict.  Dan. vi. 8. --- Men.   Even infants, according to the Fathers.  Joel ii. 16.  S. Basil adds also, the young of cattle.  This was done to excite rational beings to repentance.  Theod. ---  We do not find that cattle were deprived of food on such occasions among the Jews.  But Virgil specifies that this was the case at the death of C├Žsar, (Ecl. v.) as it was in droughts among some nations of America.  Horn ii. 13.  C. --- When people are greatly moved by repentance, they exceed in austerity; but if this be not indiscreet, God accepts of their good intention.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Mercy.  Heb. "repented," as some copies of the Sept. read, while others have, "was comforted."  H. --- God suspended the stroke.  But as the people soon relapsed, Sardanapalus burnt himself to death, and the city was taken, (S. Jer.) thirty-seven years after Jeroboam.  A. 3257.  Usher. --- Yet this was only a prelude to its future ruin, foretold by Tobias, (xiv. 5. in Gr.) and effected by Nabopolassar and Astyages. C.  A. 3378.  Usher. --- The vestiges did not appear in the days of Lucian, (Charon.  C.) soon after Christ.  H.

 

 








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