Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Jonah was a suitable agent, but he was not indispensable. God called him, but He could do without him. To be the bearer of such a message as that which is here recorded could not in itself be pleasant, but it was highly honourable. To refuse to speak in such a case, at Divine bidding, was almost to take part with the wrong-doers, and is recorded in this book, by Jonah's own hand, to his personal discredit. There is but this one reason for the mission stated here; but there were at least several other reasons in reserve — some gently hinted, some unrevealed until ages afterwards. God, as we know, not only kindled in the indignation of justice against what was wrong, but He longed for the repentance of the wrong-doers, and for the manifestation of His mercy among them when thus penitent. He thought, too, of the future; of the use He would make of that people when His people should be led among them captive. As He sent Joseph into Egypt, He will send Jonah into Nineveh, to provide a remedy for a coming evil, a home for a captive people. He thought, too, of the far future of the world, and of the spiritual use to be made of the penitence of that wicked people in the proclamation of His mercy by the Gospel. He has made the Ninevites "a pattern" to all cities and ages — a proof that shall be known as long as history remains, that if a whole city, full of sinners, turn unto the Lord, they shall live. Whether Jonah knew much of these and such like reasons or not, it is certain that he knew quite enough to make the road to Nineveh, far and difficult as it might be, the Lord's highway of duty and life to him; and any way else he could find, the devil's road of crookedness, danger, and death.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.