The Meaning of Jonah 1:2 Explained

Jonah 1:2

KJV: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

YLT: 'Rise, go unto Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim against it that their wickedness hath come up before Me.'

Darby: Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

ASV: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

What does Jonah 1:2 Mean?

Study Notes

Nineveh
Nineveh stands in Scripture as the representative of apostate religious Gentiledom, as Babylon represents the confusion into which the Gentile political world-system has fallen Daniel 2:41-43 , (See Scofield " Isaiah 13:1 ") , Under the preaching of Jonah, B.C. 862, the city and king had turned to God (Elohim), Jonah 3:3-10 But in the time of Nahum, more than a century later, the city had wholly apostatized from God. It is this which distinguishes Nineveh from all the other ancient Gentile cities, and which makes her the suited symbol of the present religious Gentile world-system in the last day. Morally, Nineveh is described in Romans 1:21-23 . The chief deity of apostate Nineveh was the bull-god, with the face of a man and the wings of a bird: "an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts."
The message of Nahum, uttered about one hundred years before the destruction of Nineveh, is, therefore, not a call to repentance, but an unrelieved warning of judgment: "He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1:9 ; see, also, Nahum 3:10 . For there is no remedy for apostasy but utter judgment, and a new beginning. Cf.; Isaiah 1:4 ; Isaiah 1:5 ; Isaiah 1:24-28 ; Hebrews 6:4-8 ; Proverbs 29:1 .
It is the way of God; apostasy is punished by catastrophic destruction. Of this the flood and the destruction of Nineveh are witnesses. The coming destruction of apostate Christendom is foreshadowed by these. (Cf) Daniel 2:34 ; Daniel 2:35 ; Luke 17:26 ; Luke 17:27 ; Revelation 19:17-21 .
burden See note 1, (See Scofield " Isaiah 13:1 ")

Verse Meaning

Nineveh was indeed a great city whose history stretched back as far as Nimrod, who built it as well as Babel and several other cities in Mesopotamia ( Genesis 10:8-12). [1] The word "great" occurs frequently in this book ( Jonah 1:2; Jonah 1:4; Jonah 1:12; Jonah 1:16-17; Jonah 3:2; Jonah 4:1; Jonah 4:6; Jonah 4:11). Nineveh occupied about1800 acres and stood on the east bank of the Tigris River across from the modern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Jonah was to "cry against it" (NASB) or "preach against it" (NIV) in the sense of informing its inhabitants that God had taken note of their wickedness. He was not to identify their sins as much as announce that judgment was imminent. God apparently intended that Jonah"s condition as an outsider would have made the Ninevites regard him as a divine messenger. The Lord did not send him to be merely a foreign critic of that culture.

Context Summary

Jonah 1:1-16 - Fleeing From God And Duty
Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25. He was clearly very patriotic, and did not despair of his country in its darkest days. This commission to Nineveh was therefore not to his taste, because he had no desire to see the great heathen city brought to her knees. Another century would have to pass before Isaiah and Micah would proclaim that the heathen world would turn to God, Micah 4:1; Isaiah 2:2.
Rather than go upon this errand of mercy, Jonah hurried down to the one seaport, that he might escape his duty. Sin is always a descent; we always have to pay heavily in tolls and fares when we take our own way instead of God's, and we must never reckon that opportunity implies permission.
Weary with excitement and travel, the prophet is oblivious to the weighing of the anchor. The disasters that block the way of disobedience are harder than our difficulties in performing God's bidding. Note the divine agency in our lives: the word of the Lord came; the Lord hurled forth a great wind; the Lord prepared a great fish. There were, in these heathen sailors, beautiful traits which ought to have abashed the prophet. Their prayer to their idols and their endeavor to save this stranger Jew are as instructive as remarkable. [source]

Chapter Summary: Jonah 1

1  Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish
4  He is betrayed by a great storm;
11  thrown into the sea;
17  and swallowed by a fish

What do the individual words in Jonah 1:2 mean?

Arise go to Nineveh the city great and cry out against it for has come up their wickedness before Me
ק֠וּם לֵ֧ךְ אֶל־ נִֽינְוֵ֛ה הָעִ֥יר הַגְּדוֹלָ֖ה וּקְרָ֣א עָלֶ֑יהָ כִּֽי־ עָלְתָ֥ה רָעָתָ֖ם לְפָנָֽי

ק֠וּם  Arise 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: קוּם 
Sense: to rise, arise, stand, rise up, stand up.
לֵ֧ךְ  go 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: הָלַךְ  
Sense: to go, walk, come.
נִֽינְוֵ֛ה  Nineveh 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: נִינְוֵה  
Sense: capital of the ancient kingdom of Assyria; located on the east bank of the Tigris river, 550 miles (880 km) from its mouth and 250 miles (400 km) north of Babylon.
הָעִ֥יר  the  city 
Parse: Article, Noun, feminine singular
Root: עִיר 
Sense: excitement, anguish.
הַגְּדוֹלָ֖ה  great 
Parse: Article, Adjective, feminine singular
Root: גָּבֹול 
Sense: great.
וּקְרָ֣א  and  cry  out 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: קָרָא  
Sense: to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim.
עָלֶ֑יהָ  against  it 
Parse: Preposition, third person feminine singular
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
עָלְתָ֥ה  has  come  up 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person feminine singular
Root: סָלַק 
Sense: to go up, ascend, climb.
רָעָתָ֖ם  their  wickedness 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: רַע 
Sense: bad, evil.
לְפָנָֽי  before  Me 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, masculine plural construct, first person common singular
Root: לִפְנֵי 
Sense: face.