So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of
He was no longer disobedient to the heavenly vision; being taught by the rod, he acts according to the word; he is now made willing to go on the Lord's errand, and do his business, under the influence of his power and grace; he stands not consulting with the flesh, but immediately arises and sets forward on his journey, as directed and commanded, being rid of that timorous spirit, and those fears, he was before possessed of; his afflictions had been greatly sanctified to him, to restore his straying soul, and cause him to keep and observe the word of the Lord; and his going to Nineveh, and preaching to a Heathen people, after his deliverance out of the fish's belly, was a type of the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles by the apostles, according to the commission of Christ renewed unto them, after his resurrection from the dead, ( Acts 26:23 ) ; and after many failings of theirs; now Nineveh was an exceeding great city:
or "a city great to God" F13; not dear to him, for it was full of wickedness; not great in his esteem, with whom the whole earth is as nothing; but known by him to be what it was; and the name of God is often used of things, to express the superlative nature and greatness of them, as trees of God, mountains of God, the flame of God ( Psalms 36:7 ) ( 80:10 ) ( Song of Solomon 8:6 ) ; it was a greater city than Babylon, of which (See Gill on Jonah 1:2); of three days' journey;
in compass, being sixty miles, as Diodorus Siculus F14 relates; and allowing twenty miles for a day's journey on foot, as this was, and which is as much as a man can ordinarily do to hold it, was just three days journey; and so Herodotus F15 reckons a day's journey at an hundred fifty furlongs, which make about nineteen miles; but, according to the Jewish writers, a middling day's journey is ten "parsas" F16, and every "parsa" makes four miles, so that with them it is forty miles: or else it was three days' journey in the length of it, as Kimchi thinks, from end to end. This is observed to show the greatness of the city, which was the greatest in the whole world, as well as to lead on to the following account.
F13 (Myhlal hlwdg) "magna Deo", Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, Mercerus, Drusius, Cocceius.
F14 Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 92.
F15 Terpsichore, sive l. 5. c. 53.
F16 T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 94. 1.