Jonah 1:6

6 So the shipmaster* came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

Jonah 1:6 Meaning and Commentary

Jonah 1:6

So the shipmaster came to him
The master of the vessel, who had the command of it; or the governor of it, as Jarchi; though Josephus F4 distinguishes between the governor and the shipmaster: "the master of the ropers" F5, as it may be rendered; of the sailors, whose business it was to draw the ropes, to loose or gather the sails, at his command: missing him, very probably, he sought after him, and found him in the hold, in the bottom of the ship, on one side of it, fast asleep: and said unto him, what meanest thou, O sleeper?
this is not a time to sleep, when the ship is like to be broke to pieces, all lives lost, and thine own too: thus the prophet, who was sent to rebuke the greatest monarch in the world, is himself rebuked by a shipmaster, and a Heathen man. Such an expostulation as this is proper enough to be used with professors of religion that are gotten in a spiritual sense into a sleepy and drowsy frame of spirit; it being an aggravation of it, especially when the nation they are of, the church of Christ they belong to, and their own persons also, are in danger; see ( Romans 13:11 ) ( Ephesians 5:14 ) ; arise, call upon thy God;
the gods of this shipmaster and his men were insufficient to help them; they had ears, but they heard not; nor could they answer them, or relieve them; he is therefore desirous the prophet would pray to his God, though he was unknown to him; or at least it suggests that it would better come him to awake, and be up, and praying to his God, than to lie sleeping there; and the manner in which the words are expressed, without a copulative, show the hurry of his spirit, the ardour of his mind, and the haste he was in to have that done he advises to: every good man has a God to pray unto, a covenant God and Father, and who is a prayer hearing God; is able to help in time of need, and willing to do it; and it is the duty and interest of such to call upon him in a time of trouble; yea, they should arise and stir up themselves to this service; and it may be observed, that the best of men may sometimes be in such a condition and circumstances as to need to be stirred up to it by others; see ( Luke 22:46 ) ; if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not;
the supreme God; for the gods they had prayed to they looked upon as mediators with the true God they knew not. The shipmaster saw, that, to all human probability, they were all lost men, just ready to perish; that if they were saved, (as who knew but they might, upon Jonah's praying to his God?) it must be owing to the kind thoughts of God towards them; to the serenity of his countenance, and gracious acceptance of prayer, and his being propitious and merciful through that means; all which seems to be the import of the word used: so the saving of sinners in a lost and perishing condition, in which all men are, though all are not sensible of it, is owing to God's thoughts of peace, to his good will, free favour, and rich grace in Christ Jesus, and through him, as the propitiatory sacrifice. The Targum is,

``if so be mercy may be granted from the Lord, and we perish not.''

FOOTNOTES:

F4 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 9. c. 10. sect. 2.)
F5 (lbxh br) "magister funalis", Munster; "magister funiculaiorum", so some in ;Mercer; "magister funis", Calvin.

Jonah 1:6 In-Context

4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?