But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish…
How did he persuade himself to enter on a course of disobedience to the Divine will so open and declared?
1. It was a long way.
2. The thing to be done was very difficult.
3. It would be natural that he should despair of any great success.
4. He may have thought that, in the event of attaining a spiritual success, failure must come in another way. His own reputation would suffer. Over-consciousness of personal character, and over-carefulness for the Divine honour, were not of old, are not now so very uncommon.
5. The prophet had some dark forecast of evil to his own country from the probable turn which matters would take, if his mission at Nineveh should be successful. We cannot pass any severe and overwhelming judgment on Jonah. There is too much reason to fear that his kind of disobedience is not at all uncommon. Far oftener than many suppose, great and gifted spirits have shrunk back from great responsibilities. See cases of Moses, Gideon, etc.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid its fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.