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Jonah 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Jonah 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

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

3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

(1:3, 10) Jonah fled "from the presence of the Lord." (There are some places where God can't find you.)
Does God know and see everything?
As it is one of the points of this book to make clear that one cannot flee from the presence of the Lord, chapter 2:7, the meaing simply can't be that there are places where God cannot find you.
The meaning is either that Jonah went in the opposite direction of where God sent him to, so from the presence is: go from where the Lord wanted him to be. Or the meaning might be that Jonah thought he could flee from the presence of the Lord.

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.

Let us cast lots."
The sailors cast lots to see who was causing the storm. And it worked, too (casting lots always does), since the lot fell on Jonah.
John Gill comments:

Observing something very uncommon and extraordinary in the tempest, and all means, both natural and religious, failing to help them; and though they might know that they were each one of them sinners, yet they supposed there must be some one notorious sinner among them, that had committed some very enormous crime, which had drawn the divine resentment upon them to such a degree; and therefore they proposed to cast a lot, which was an appeal to the divine Being, in order to find out the guilty person. ... through the overruling providence and disposing hand of God, which attended this affair, [the lot fell upon Jonah]; for, not to inquire whether the use of the lot was lawful or not, or whether performed in that serious and solemn manner as it should be, if used at all; it pleased God to interfere in this matter, to direct it to fall on Jonah, with whom he had a particular concern, being a prophet of his, and having disobeyed his will;

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?

9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

(1:12-15) Jonah believes that by throwing himself into the sea, the storm will die down. And it worked!
"So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea."
Who cast Jonah into the sea?
The sailors as well as Jonah perceived this was not a common storm. Jonah saw the hand of God in this, and realised this storm had arisen due to his actions, and would calm if he would no longer flee from the Lord.
On who cast Jonah into the sea: the sailors did, but Jonah acknowledges in chapter 2:3 that they were only the hands of God in this regard. It was God who wanted to stop Jonah.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.

17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

(1:15-17) God makes "a great fish" [Jesus said it was a whale (Mt.12:40)] to swallow Jonah. And Jonah stayed in the fish's belly for three days and three nights.
Was Jonah swallowed by a fish or a whale?
The Greek just says big fish, see Matthew 12:40.