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Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 28: Jonah, Micah, Nahum, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

A Translation of Calvin’s Version of

The Book of Jonah.

Chapter 1

1 And the word of Jehovah came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, to that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has ascended before my face.”

3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah, and went down to Joppa, and found a ship, which was going to Tarshish; and he paid the fare, and went down into it,, that he might go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah.

4 And Jehovah sent a strong wind on the sea, and a great tempset arose in the sea, and the ship was thought to be breaking:

5 And the mariners feared, and cried every one to his god, and cast out the wares, which were in the ship, into the sea, that it might be lightened of them; but Jonah had gone down to the sides of the ship; and he lay down and slept.

6 And the pilot came to him, and he said to him, — “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call on thy God, if so be that God will show himself propitious to us, that we may not perish.”

7 And they said each to his friend, — “Come and let us cast lots, that we may know for what cause is this evil come upon us.” And they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8 And they said to him, — “Tell us now why has this evil happened to us, what is thy work, and whence comest thou, what is thy country, and from what people art thou?”

9 And he said to them, — “I am an Hebrew, and I fear Jehovah, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 And the men feared with great fear, and said to him, — “Why hast thou done this?” (52) For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Jehovah, because he had told them.

11 And they said to him, “What shall we do to thee, that the sea may be still to us?” for the sea was going and was tempestuous.

12 And he said to them, — “Take me and cast me into the sea, and the sea will be still to you; for I know that on my account is this great tempest come upon you.”

13 But the men toiled to bring back the ship, (59) and they could not; for the sea was going and was tempestuous against them.

14 And they cried to Jehovah, and said, — “We beseech, Jehovah, we pray, that we perish not for the life of this man, and lay not on us innocent blood; for thou, Jehovah, hast done as it has seemed good to thee.” (62)

15 Then they took Jonah, and cast him into the sea; and the sea stopped from its raging.

16 And with great fear, the men feared Jehovah, and sacrificed a sacrifice to Jehovah, and vowed vows.

17 And Jehovah provided a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the bowels of the fish three days and three nights.


1 And Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God from the belly of the fish,

2 And said, — I cried in my distress to Jehovah, and he heard me; (75) From the belly of the grave I cried, thou didst hear my voice.

3 But cast me hadst thou into the deep, Into the midst of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; All thy billows and waves over me passed:

4 Then I said, — “I am driven from the sight of thine eyes; But I would again see the temple of thy holiness.”

5 Beset me did the waters even to the soul, The deep on every side surrounded me, The sedge was wrapped around my head:

6 To the roots of the mountains I descended, The earth with its bars was around me forever: But to ascend hast thou made my life from the grave, O Jehovah my God.

7 When fail did my soul within me, Jehovah did I remember, And enter did my prayer into the temple of thy holiness.

8 They who observe lying vanities, Their own mercy forsake: (87)

9 But I, with the voice of praise, will sacrifice to thee; What I have vowed will I pay: To Jehovah belongs salvation.

10 And Jehovah commanded the fish, and it cast forth Jonah on the dry land.


1 And the word of Jehovah came to Jonah the second time, saying, —

2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, to that great city, and proclaim to it the proclamation which I command thee.” (92)

3 And Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the command of Jehovah.

4 Now Nineveh was a very great city, a journey of three days. And Jonah began to enter a journey of one day, and cried and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”

5 And the men of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them:

6 For word had come to the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and cast aside his splendid robe from him, and put on sackcloth and sat on ashes;

7 And it was proclaimed and published through Nineveh, by the counsel of the king and his nobles, saying, — “Man and beast! Ox and sheep! Let them taste nothing, let them not be fed, and let them not drink water;

8 And let man and beast put on sackcloth, and cry to God mightily; (107) and return let every one from his evil way, and from the plunder that is in their hands.

9 Who knows, whether God will change and repent, and turn away from the fury of his wrath, that we perish not?”

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil which he had declared that he would do to them, and did it not.


1 And Jonah was grievously displeased, and he was very angry; (116) and he prayed to Jehovah, and said, —

2 “I pray thee, Jehovah, was not this my word, when I was yet in my own land? I therefore hastened to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that thou are a God full of grace, and merciful, slow to wrath, great in kindness, and who repentest of evil.

3 And thou, Jehovah, take, I pray, my life from me; for better it is for me to die than to live.”

4 And Jehovah said to him, — “Doest thou well in being angry?” (129)

5 And Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east over against the city, and made there for himself a tent, and sat under it in the shade, until he saw what might be in the city.

6 And Jehovah God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up for Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, and free him from his distress; and Jonah rejoiced for the gourd with great joy.

7 God also prepared a worm, when the morning rose the next day, which smote the gourd, and it withered:

8 And it was, when the sun arose, that God prepared an impetuous wind, and the sun smote the head of Jonah, and he fainted, and wished for himself that he might die, and said, “Better is my death than my life.”

9 And God said to Jonah, — “Doest thou well in being angry for the gourd?” and he said, — “I do well in being angry even unto death.”

10 And Jehovah said, — “Thou wouldest have spared the gourd, for which thou hast not labored, and which thou has not raised up; the daughter of a night it was,  254 and as the daughter of a night it has passed away;

11 And should I not spare Nineveh, this great city, in which there are twelve times ten thousand men, every one of whom knows not his right hand from his left, and also many animals?”



It is literally, “the son of a night,” but as cucurbita, gourd, is feminine, Calvin adopted filia instead of filiusEd.

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