Psalm 40, Jonah 2, and 2 Corinthians 1

Not the other way around.

Friends, we might feel alone at times or possibly beyond repair in difficult seasons, but is that true? What does God say in the scriptures? We might also feel as though God doesn’t see us some days (Jonah 2), or that the pits we dig are way too deep for Him (Psalm 40). But are those feelings lining-up with His Word? Sister, lets not look upon our circumstances through the lens of self-reliance and human wisdom. Let’s put those down at the cross and pick up His Word instead! Let’s LIVE in it all day long. Let’s have His words ever before us (at work, at home. In your car, etc). God’s got this!

The following historical accounts about Jonah and David, as well as the formal letter written by Paul to the Corinthian Church are from BibleGateway. The New English Translation was chosen as to provide ample footnotes.

Psalm 40

I relied completely[b] on the Lord,
and he turned toward me
and heard my cry for help.
2 He lifted me out of the watery pit,[c]
out of the slimy mud.[d]
He placed my feet on a rock
and gave me secure footing.[e]
3 He gave me reason to sing a new song,[f]
praising our God.[g]
May many see what God has done,
so that they might swear allegiance to him and trust in the Lord.[h]
4 How blessed[i] is the one[j] who trusts in the Lord[k]
and does not seek help from[l] the proud or from liars.[m]
5 O Lord, my God, you have accomplished many things;
you have done amazing things and carried out your purposes for us.[n]
No one can thwart you.[o]
I want to declare your deeds and talk about them,
but they are too numerous to recount.[p]
6 Receiving sacrifices and offerings are not your primary concern.[q]
You make that quite clear to me.[r]
You do not ask for burnt sacrifices and sin offerings.
7 Then I say,
“Look, I come!
What is written in the scroll pertains to me.[s]
8 I want to do what pleases you,[t] my God.
Your law dominates my thoughts.”[u]
9 I have told the great assembly[v] about your justice.[w]
Look, I spare no words.[x]
O Lord, you know this is true.
10 I have not failed to tell about your justice;[y]
I spoke about your reliability and deliverance.
I have not neglected to tell the great assembly about your loyal love and faithfulness.[z]
11 O Lord, you do not withhold[aa] your compassion from me.
May your loyal love and faithfulness continually protect me![ab]
12 For innumerable dangers[ac] surround me.
My sins overtake me
so I am unable to see;
they outnumber the hairs of my head
so my strength fails me.[ad]
13 Please be willing, O Lord, to rescue me!
O Lord, hurry and help me![ae]
14 May those who are trying to snatch away my life
be totally embarrassed and ashamed.[af]
May those who want to harm me
be turned back and ashamed.[ag]
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be humiliated[ah] and disgraced.[ai]
16 May all those who seek you be happy and rejoice in you.
May those who love to experience[aj]your deliverance say continually,[ak]
“May the Lord be praised!”[al]
17 I am oppressed and needy.[am]
May the Lord pay attention to me.[an]
You are my helper and my deliverer.
O my God, do not delay.


  1. Psalm 40:1 sn Psalm 40. The psalmist combines a song of thanksgiving for a recent act of divine deliverance (vv. 1-11) with a confident petition for renewed divine intervention (vv. 12-17).
  2. Psalm 40:1 tn Heb “relying, I relied.” The infinitive absolute precedes the finite verbal form to emphasize the verbal idea. The emphasis is reflected in the translation through the adverb “completely.” Another option is to translate, “I waited patiently” (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  3. Psalm 40:2 tn Heb “cistern of roaring.” The Hebrew noun בּוֹר (bor, “cistern, pit”) is used metaphorically here of Sheol, the place of death, which is sometimes depicted as a raging sea (see Ps 18:4, 15-16). The noun שָׁאוֹן (shaʾon, “roaring”) refers elsewhere to the crashing sound of the sea’s waves (see Ps 65:7).
  4. Psalm 40:2 tn Heb “from the mud of mud.” The Hebrew phrase translated “slimy mud” employs an appositional genitive. Two synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.
  5. Psalm 40:2 tn Heb “he established my footsteps.”
  6. Psalm 40:3 sn A new song was appropriate because the Lord had intervened in the psalmist’s experience in a fresh and exciting way.
  7. Psalm 40:3 tn Heb “and he placed in my mouth a new song, praise to our God.”
  8. Psalm 40:3 tn Heb “may many see and fear and trust in the Lord.” The translation assumes that the initial prefixed verbal form is a jussive (“may many see”), rather than an imperfect (“many will see”). The following prefixed verbal forms with vav (ו) conjunctive are taken as indicating purpose or result (“so that they might swear allegiance…and trust”) after the introductory jussive.
  9. Psalm 40:4 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).
  10. Psalm 40:4 tn Heb “man.” See the note on the word “one” in Ps 1:1.
  11. Psalm 40:4 tn Heb “who has made the Lord his [object of] trust.”
  12. Psalm 40:4 tn Heb “and does not turn toward.”
  13. Psalm 40:4 tn Heb “those falling away toward a lie.”
  14. Psalm 40:5 tn Heb “many things you have done, you, O Lord my God, your amazing deeds and your thoughts toward us.” The precise meaning of the text is not clear, but the psalmist seems to be recalling the Lord’s miraculous deeds on Israel’s behalf (see Pss 9:1; 26:7), as well as his covenantal decrees and promises (see Ps 33:11).
  15. Psalm 40:5 tn Heb “there is none arrayed against you.” The precise meaning of the text is unclear, but the collocation עָרַךְ אֶל(ʿarakh ʾel, “array against”) is used elsewhere of military (Judg 20:30; 1 Chr 19:17) or verbal opposition (Job 32:14).
  16. Psalm 40:5 tn Heb “I will declare and I will speak, they are too numerous to recount.” The present translation assumes that the cohortatives are used in a hypothetical manner in a formally unmarked conditional sentence, “Should I try to declare [them] and speak [of them]…” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV). For other examples of cohortatives in the protasis (“if” clause) of a conditional sentence, see GKC 320 §108.e. (It should be noted, however, that GKC understands this particular verse in a different manner. See GKC 320 §108.f, where it is suggested that the cohortatives are part of an apodosis with the protasis being suppressed.) Another option is to take the cohortatives as a declaration of the psalmist’s resolve to announce the truth expressed in the next line. In this case one might translate: “I will declare and speak [the truth]: They are too numerous to recount.”
  17. Psalm 40:6 tn Heb “sacrifice and offering you do not desire.” The statement is exaggerated for the sake of emphasis (see Ps 51:16 as well). God is pleased with sacrifices, but his first priority is obedience and loyalty (see 1 Sam 15:22). Sacrifices and offerings apart from genuine allegiance are meaningless (see Isa 1:11-20).
  18. Psalm 40:6 tn Heb “ears you hollowed out for me.” The meaning of this odd expression is debated (this is the only collocation of “hollowed out” and “ears” in the OT). It may have been an idiomatic expression referring to making a point clear to a listener. The LXX has “but a body you have prepared for me,” a reading which is followed in Heb 10:5.
  19. Psalm 40:7 tn Heb “in the roll of the scroll it is written concerning me.” Apparently the psalmist refers to the law of God (see v. 8), which contains the commandments God desires him to obey. If this is a distinctly royal psalm, then the psalmist/king may be referring specifically to the regulations of kingship prescribed in Deut 17:14-20. See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 315.
  20. Psalm 40:8 tn Or “your will.”
  21. Psalm 40:8 tn Heb “your law [is] in the midst of my inner parts.” The “inner parts” are viewed here as the seat of the psalmist’s thought life and moral decision making.
  22. Psalm 40:9 sn The great assembly is also mentioned in Pss 22:25 and 35:18.
  23. Psalm 40:9 tn Heb “I proclaim justice in the great assembly.” Though “justice” appears without a pronoun here, the Lord’s just acts are in view (see v. 10). His “justice” (צֶדֶק, tsedeq) is here the deliverance that originates in his justice; he protects and vindicates the one whose cause is just.
  24. Psalm 40:9 tn Heb “Look! My lips I do not restrain.”
  25. Psalm 40:10 tn Heb “your justice I have not hidden in the midst of my heart.”
  26. Psalm 40:10 tn Heb “I have not hidden your loyal love and reliability.”
  27. Psalm 40:11 tn Some (cf. NIV, NRSV) translate the verb as a request (“do not withhold”), but elsewhere in the psalms the second masculine singular prefixed form, when addressed to God and preceded by לֹא(loʾ), is always indicative in mood and never has the force of a prayer (see Pss 16:10; 22:2; 44:9 51:16-17; 60:10; 108:11; cf. NEB, NASB).
  28. Psalm 40:11 tn In this line the psalmist makes the transition from confidence to petition (see v. 13). Since the prefixed verbal form in the preceding line is imperfect/indicative, one could take the verb in this line as imperfect as well and translate, “your loyal love and faithfulness continually protect me” (cf. NEB). However, the כִּי (ki) at the beginning of the next verse, if causal (“because”), is best understood as introducing a motivating argument in support of a petition. For this reason v. 11bis best taken as a prayer with the prefixed form being understood as jussive (cf. NIV, NRSV). For parallels to the proposed construction (jussive followed by כִּי + perfect introducing motivating argument), see Ps 25:21, as well as Pss 10:2-3; 22:8.
  29. Psalm 40:12 tn Or “sinful deeds.” The Hebrew term used here can have a nonmoral nuance (“dangers”) or a moral one (“sinful deeds”) depending on the context. The next line (see “my sins”) seems to favor the moral sense, but the psalmist also speaks of enemies shortly after this (v. 14).
  30. Psalm 40:12 tn Heb “and my heart abandons me.” The “heart” is here viewed as the seat of emotional strength and courage. For a similar idea see Ps 38:10.
  31. Psalm 40:13 tn Heb “hurry to my help.” See Pss 22:19; 38:22.
  32. Psalm 40:14 tn Heb “may they be embarrassed and ashamed together, the ones seeking my life to snatch it away.”
  33. Psalm 40:14 tn The four prefixed verbal forms in this verse (“may those…be…embarrassed and ashamed…may those…be turned back and ashamed”) are understood as jussives. The psalmist is calling judgment down on his See Ps 35:4 for a similar prayer.
  34. Psalm 40:15 tn The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive in this imprecation.
  35. Psalm 40:15 tn Heb “May they be humiliated according to their shame, those who say to me, ‘Aha! Aha!’”
  36. Psalm 40:16 tn Heb “those who love,” which stands metonymically for its cause, the experience of being delivered by the Lord.
  37. Psalm 40:16 tn The three prefixed verbal forms prior to the quotation are understood as jussives. The psalmist balances out his imprecation against his enemies with a prayer of blessing upon the godly.
  38. Psalm 40:16 tn The prefixed verbal form is taken as a jussive, “may the Lord be magnified [in praise].” Another option is to take the verb as an imperfect, “the Lord is great” (cf. NRSV). See Ps 35:27.
  39. Psalm 40:17 sn See Pss 35:10; 37:14.
  40. Psalm 40:17 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a jussive of prayer (as in the present translation; cf. NIV) or as an imperfect, “The Lord will pay attention to me” (cf. NRSV). The parallel in Ps 70:5 has, “O God, hurry to me!” For this reason some prefer to emend יַחֲשָׁב (yakhashav, “may he pay attention”) to חוּשָׁה (khushah, “hurry!”). The syntax of the Hebrew text is awkward; elsewhere when the Qal of חָשַׁב (khashav, “reckon; consider”) is collocated with the preposition ל (lamed) and a pronominal suffix there is an accompanying direct object or additional prepositional phrase/adverbial accusative (see Gen 15:6; 2 Sam 19:19; Job 13:24; 19:11; 33:10; Pss 32:2; 41:7; Amos 6:5).

Jonah 2


onah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish and said,

“I[a] called out to the Lord from my distress,
and he answered me;[b]
from the belly of Sheol[c] I cried out for help,
and you heard my prayer.[d]
You threw me[e] into the deep waters,[f]
into the middle[g] of the sea;[h]
the ocean current[i] engulfed[j] me;
all the mighty waves[k] you sent[l]swept[m] over me.[n]
I thought[o] I had been banished from your sight[p]
and that I would never again[q] see your holy temple.[r]
Water engulfed me up to my neck;[s]
the deep ocean[t] surrounded me;
seaweed[u] was wrapped around my head.
I went down[v] to the very bottoms[w] of the mountains;[x]
the gates[y] of the netherworld[z]barred me in[aa] forever,[ab]
but you brought me[ac] up from the Pit,[ad] O Lord, my God.
When my life[ae] was ebbing away,[af] I called out to[ag] the Lord.
And my prayer came to you, to your holy temple.[ah]
Those who worship[ai] worthless idols[aj] forfeit the mercy that could be theirs.[ak]
But as for me, I promise to offer a sacrifice to you with a public declaration[al] of praise;[am]
I will surely do[an] what I have promised.[ao]
Salvation[ap] belongs to the Lord!”[aq]

10 Then the Lord commanded[ar] the fish and it vomited Jonah out onto dry land.


  1. Jonah 2:2 sn The eight verses of Jonah’s prayer in Hebrew contain twenty-seven first person pronominal references to himself. There are fifteen second- or third person references to the Lord.
  2. Jonah 2:2 tn Tg. Jonah 2:2 renders this interpretively: “and he heard my prayer.”snThe first verse of the prayer summarizes the whole—“I was in trouble; I called to the Lord for help; he rescued me; I will give him thanks”—before elaborating on the nature and extent of the trouble (vv. 3-7a), mentioning the cry for help and the subsequent rescue (6b-7), and promising to give thanks (8-9). These elements, as well as much vocabulary and imagery found in Jonah’s prayer, appear also in other Hebrew psalms. With Jonah 2:1 compare, for example, Pss 18:6; 22:24; 81:7; 116:1-4; 120:1; 130:1-2; Lam 3:55-56. These references and others indicate that Jonah was familiar with prayers used in worship at the temple in Jerusalem; he knew “all the right words.” Cf. also Ps 107 with Jonah as a whole.
  3. Jonah 2:2 sn Sheol was a name for the place of residence of the dead, the underworld (see Job 7:9-10; Isa 38:17-18). Jonah pictures himself in the belly of Sheol, its very center—in other words, he is as good as dead.
  4. Jonah 2:2 tn Heb “voice” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV); cf. NIV “my cry.” The term קוֹל(qol, “voice”) functions as a metonymy for the content of what is uttered: cry for help in prayer.
  5. Jonah 2:3 tn Or “You had thrown me.” Verse 3 begins the detailed description of Jonah’s plight, which resulted from being thrown into the sea.
  6. Jonah 2:3 tn Heb “the deep” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); cf. NLT “into the ocean depths.”
  7. Jonah 2:3 tn Heb “heart” (so many English versions); cf. CEV “to the (TEV adds “very”) bottom of the sea.”
  8. Jonah 2:3 tc The BHS editors suggest deleting either מְצוּלָה (metsulah, “into the deep”) or בִּלְבַב יַמִּים (bilvav yammim, “into the heart of the sea”). They propose that one or the other is a scribal gloss on the remaining term. However, the use of an appositional phrase within a poetic colon is not unprecedented in Hebrew poetry. The MT is therefore best retained.
  9. Jonah 2:3 tn Or “the stream”; cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV “the flood.” The Hebrew word נָהָר(nahar) is used in parallel with יַם (yam, “sea”) in Ps 24:2 (both are plural) to describe the oceans of the world, and in Ps 66:6 to speak of the sea crossed by Israel in the exodus from Egypt.
  10. Jonah 2:3 tn Heb “surrounded” (so NRSV); cf. NAB “enveloped.”
  11. Jonah 2:3 tn Heb “your breakers and your waves.” This phrase is a nominal hendiadys; the first noun functions as an attributive adjective modifying the second noun: “your breaking waves.”
  12. Jonah 2:3 tn Heb “your…your…” The second person masculine singular suffixes on מִשְׁבָּרֶיךָ וְגַלֶּיךָ (mishbarekha vegallekha, “your breakers and your waves”) function as genitives of source. Just as God had hurled a violent wind upon the sea (1:4) and had sovereignly sent the large fish to swallow him (1:17 [2:1 HT]), Jonah viewed God as sovereignly responsible for afflicting him with sea waves that were crashing upon his head, threatening to drown him. Tg. Jonah 2:3 alters the second person masculine singular suffixes to third person masculine singular suffixes to make them refer to the sea and not to God, for the sake of smoothness: “all the gales of the sea and its billows.”
  13. Jonah 2:3 tn Heb “crossed”; cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “passed.”
  14. Jonah 2:3 sn Verses 3 and 5 multiply terms describing Jonah’s watery plight. The images used in v. 3 appear also in 2 Sam 22:5-6; Pss 42:7; 51:11; 69:1-2, 14-15; 88:6-7; 102:10.
  15. Jonah 2:4 tn Heb “And I said.” The verb אָמַר(ʾamar, “to say”) is sometimes used to depict inner speech and thoughts of a character (HALOT 66 s.v. אמר 4; BDB 56 s.v. אָמַר 2; e.g., Gen 17:17; Ruth 4:4; 1 Sam 20:26; Esth 6:6). While many English versions render this “I said” (KJV, NKJV, NAB, ASV, NASB, NIV, NLT), several nuance it as “I thought” (JPS, NJPS, NEB, REB, NJB, TEV, CEV).
  16. Jonah 2:4 tn Or “I have been expelled from your attention”; Heb “from in front of your eyes.” See also Ps 31:22 and Lam 3:54-56.
  17. Jonah 2:4 tc Or “Yet I will look again to your holy temple,” or “Surely I will look again to your holy temple.” The MT and the vast majority of ancient textual witnesses vocalize consonantal אך (ʾkh) as the adverb אַךְ (ʾakh), which functions as an emphatic asseverative like “surely” (BDB 36 s.v. אַךְ 1) or an adversative like “yet, nevertheless” (BDB 36 s.v. אַךְ 2; so Tg. Jonah 2:4: “However, I shall look again upon your holy temple”). These options understand the line as expressing hopeful piety in a positive statement about surviving to worship again in Jerusalem. It may be a way of saying, “I will pray for help, even though I have been banished” (see v. 8; cf. Dan 6:10). The sole dissenter is the Greek recension of Theodotion. It reads the interrogative πῶς(pōs, “how?”), which reflects an alternate vocalization tradition of אֵךְ (ʾekh)—a defectively written form of אֵיךְ (ʾekh, “how?”; BDB 32 s.v. אֵיךְ 1). This would be translated, “How shall I again look at your holy temple?” (cf. NRSV). Jonah laments that he will not be able to worship at the temple in Jerusalem again—this is a metonymical statement (effect for cause) that he feels certain he is about to die. It continues the expression of Jonah’s distress and separation from the Lord, begun in v. 2 and continued without relief in vv. 3-7a. The external evidence favors the MT; however, internal evidence seems to favor the alternate vocalization tradition reflected in Theodotion for four reasons. First, the form of the psalm is a declarative praise in which Jonah begins with a summary praise (v. 2), continues by recounting his past plight (vv. 3-6a) and the Lord’s intervention (vv. 6b-7), and concludes with a lesson (v. 8) and vow to praise (v. 9). So the statement with אֵךְ in v. 4 falls within the plight—not within a declaration of confidence. Second, while the poetic parallelism of v. 4 could be antithetical (“I have been banished from your sight, yet I will again look to your holy temple”), synonymous parallelism fits the context of the lament better (“I have been banished from your sight; will I ever again see your holy temple?”). Third, אֵךְ is the more difficult vocalization because it is a defectively written form of אֵיךְ (“how?”) and therefore easily confused with אַךְ (“surely” or “yet, nevertheless”). Fourth, nothing in the first half of the psalm reflects any inkling of confidence on the part of Jonah that he would be delivered from imminent death. In fact, Jonah states in v. 7 that he did not turn to God in prayer until some time later when he was on the very brink of Both options for the start of the line (“how?” and “yet” or “surely”) fit the ironic portrayal of Jonah in the prayer (see also vv. 8-9). Jonah, who had been trying to escape the Lord’s attention, here appears remarkably fond of worshiping him. Is there perhaps also a hint of motivation for the Lord to rescue this eager worshiper? Confession of disobedience, on the other hand, is absent. Cf. Ps 31:22, where the first half (describing the plight) is very similar to the first half of Jonah 2:3, and the second half starts with “nevertheless” (אָכֵן, ʾakhen) and is a positive contrast, a report that God heard, using four words that appear in Jonah 2:2(cf. Job 32:7-8; Ps 82:6-7; Isa 49:4; Zeph 3:7).
  18. Jonah 2:4 tn Heb “Will I ever see your holy temple again?” The rhetorical question expresses denial: Jonah despaired of ever seeing the temple again.
  19. Jonah 2:5 tn Heb “as far as the throat.” The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) refers sometimes to the throat or neck (Pss 69:1 [2]; 105:18; 124:4, 5; Isa 5:14; HALOT 712 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 2). The water was up to Jonah’s neck (and beyond), so that his life was in great danger (cf. Ps 69:1).
  20. Jonah 2:5 tn Or “the deep; the abyss” (תְּהוֹם, tehom). The simple “ocean” is perhaps too prosaic, since this Hebrew word has primeval connections (Gen 1:2; 7:11; 8:2; Prov 8:27-28) and speaks of the sea at its vastest (Job 38:16-18; Pss 36:6; 104:5-9).
  21. Jonah 2:5 tc The consonantal form סוף (svf) is vocalized by the MT as סוּף (suf, “reed”), but the LXX’s ἐσχάτη (eschatē, “end”) reflects a vocalization of סוֹף (sof, “end”). The reading in Tg. Jonah 2:5 interpreted this as a reference to the Reed Sea (also known as the Red Sea). In fact, the Jewish Midrash known as Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer 10 states that God showed Jonah the way by which the Israelites had passed through the Red Sea. The MT vocalization tradition is The noun סוּף (suf) normally refers to “reeds,” freshwater plants that grow in Egyptian rivers and marshes (Exod 2:3, 5; Isa 10:19), but here it refers to “seaweed” (HALOT 747 s.v. סוּף 1). Though the same freshwater plants do not grow in the Mediterranean, the name may be seen to fit similarly long plants growing in seawater.
  22. Jonah 2:6 tn Jonah began going “down” (יָרַד, yarad) in chap. 1 (vv. 3, 5; see also 1:15; 2:2-3).
  23. Jonah 2:6 tc The MT לְקִצְבֵי הָרִים (leqitsve harim, “to the extremities [i.e., very bottoms] of the mountains”) is a bit unusual, appearing only here in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, the BHS editors suggest a conjectural emendation of the MT’s לְקִצְבֵי(“to the extremities”) to לְקַצְוֵי (leqatswey, “to the ends [of the mountains])” that is based on orthographic confusion between vav (ו) and bet (ב). However, the phrase קצבי הרים does appear in the OT Apocrypha in Sir 16:19; therefore, it is not without precedent. Since Jonah emphasizes that he descended, as it were, to the very gates of the netherworld in the second half of this verse, it would be appropriate for Jonah to say that he went down “to the extremities [i.e., very bottoms] of the mountains” (לְקִצְבֵי הָרִים). Therefore, the MT may be retained with The noun קֶצֶב(qetseb) is used only three times in the Hebrew Bible, and this is the only usage in which it means “extremity; bottom” (BDB 891 s.v. קֶצֶב 2). The exact phrase קצבי הרים(“the extremities [bottoms] of the mountains”) is used in the OT Apocrypha once in Sir 16:19.
  24. Jonah 2:6 tn Some English versions (e.g., NEB, NRSV) connect the “bottoms of the mountains” with the preceding phrase: “weeds were wrapped around my head at the bottoms of the mountains.” They then connect “I went down” with “the earth.” The latter connection is difficult to accept. It would be more normal in Hebrew to express “I went down to the earth” with a directive ending (אַרְצָה, ʾartsah), with a Hebrew preposition before “earth,” or without the definite article. The Masoretic accents, in addition, connect “ends of the mountains” with the verb “I went down” and call for a break between the verb and “earth.”
  25. Jonah 2:6 tn Heb “As for the earth, its bars…” This phrase is a rhetorical nominative construction (also known as casus pendens) in which the noun הָאָרֶץ(haʾarets, “the earth”) stands grammatically isolated and in an emphatic position prior to the third feminine singular suffix that picks up on it in בְּרִחֶיהָ(berikheha, “its bars”; see IBHS 128-30 §8.3). This construction is used to emphasize the subject, in this case, the “bars of the netherworld.” The word translated “bars” appears elsewhere to speak of bars used in constructing the sides of the tabernacle and often of crossbars (made of wood or metal) associated with the gates of fortified cities (cf. Exod 36:31-34; Judg 16:3; 1 Kgs 4:13; Neh 3:3; Pss 107:16; 147:13; Isa 45:1-2).
  26. Jonah 2:6 tn Heb “the earth.” The noun אֶרֶץ(ʾerets) usually refers to the “earth” but here refers to the “netherworld” (e.g., Job 10:21, 22; Ps 139:15; Isa 26:19; 44:23; BDB 76 s.v. אֶרֶץ 2.g). This is parallel to the related Akkadian term irsitu used in the phrase, “the land of no return,” that is, the netherworld. This refers to the place of the dead (along with “belly of Sheol” [v. 2] and “the grave” [v. 6]), which is sometimes described as having “gates” (Job 38:17; Ps 107:18).
  27. Jonah 2:6 tn Heb “behind me.” The preposition בַּעַד (baʿad) with a pronominal suffix and with the meaning “behind” is found also in Judg 3:23. Jonah pictures himself as closed in and so unable to escape death. Having described how far he had come (totally under water and “to the bases of mountains”), Jonah describes the way back as permanently closed against him. Just as it was impossible for a lone individual to walk through the barred gates of a walled city, so Jonah expected it was impossible for him to escape death.
  28. Jonah 2:6 tn Heb “As for the earth, its bars [were] against me forever.” This line is a verbless clause. The verb in the translation has been supplied for the sake of clarity and smoothness. The rhetorical nominative construction (see the note on the word “gates” earlier in this verse) has also been smoothed out in the translation.
  29. Jonah 2:6 tn Heb “my life.” The term חַיַּי(khayyay, “my life”) functions metonymically as a first common singular pronoun (“me”).
  30. Jonah 2:6 sn Jonah pictures himself as being at the very gates of the netherworld (v. 6b) and now within the Pit itself (v. 6c). He is speaking rhetorically, for he had not actually died. His point is that he was as good as dead if God did not intervene immediately. See Pss 7:15; 30:3; 103:4; Ezek 19:3-4, 8.
  31. Jonah 2:7 tn Heb “my soul.” The term נֶפֶשׁ(nefesh, “soul”) is often used as a metonymy for the life and the animating vitality in the body: “my life” (BDB 659 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 3.c).
  32. Jonah 2:7 tn Heb “fainting away from me.” The verb הִתְעַטֵּף (hitʿattef, “to faint away”) is used elsewhere to describe (1) the onset of death when a person’s life begins to slip away (Lam 2:12), (2) the loss of one’s senses due to turmoil (Ps 107:5), and (3) the loss of all hope of surviving calamity (Pss 77:4; 142:4; 143:4; BDB 742 s.v. עַטֵף). All three options are reflected in various English versions: “when my life was ebbing away” (JPS, NJPS), “when my life was slipping away” (CEV), “when I felt my life slipping away” (TEV), “as my senses failed me” (NEB), and “when I had lost all hope” (NLT).
  33. Jonah 2:7 tn Heb “remembered.” The verb זָכַר (zakhar) usually means “to remember, to call to mind,” but it can also mean “to call out” (e.g., Nah 2:6), as in the related Akkadian verb zikaru, “to name, to mention.” The idiom “to remember the Lord” here encompasses calling to mind his character and past actions and appealing to him for help (Deut 8:18-19; Ps 42:6-8; Isa 64:4-5; Zech 10:9). Tg. Jonah 2:7 glosses the verb as, “I remembered the worship of the Lord,” which somewhat misses the point.
  34. Jonah 2:7 sn For similar ideas see 2 Chr 30:27; Pss 77:3; 142:3; 143:4-5.
  35. Jonah 2:8 tn Heb “those who pay regard to.” The verbal root שָׁמַר (shamar, “to keep, to watch”) appears in the Piel stem only here in biblical Hebrew, meaning “to pay regard to” (BDB 1037 s.v. שָׁמַר). This is metonymical for the act of worship (e.g., Qal “to observe” = to worship, Ps 31:7).
  36. Jonah 2:8 tn Heb “worthlessnesses of nothingness” or “vanities of emptiness.” The genitive construct הַבְלֵי־שָׁוְא (havle-shavʾ) forms an attributive adjective expression: “empty worthlessness” or “worthless vanities.” This ironic reference to false gods is doubly insulting (e.g., Ps 31:7). The noun הֶבֶל (hevel, “vapor, breath”) is often used figuratively to describe what is insubstantial, empty, and futile (31 times in Eccl; see also, e.g., Pss 39:4-6, 11; 144:4; Prov 13:11; 21:6; Isa 30:7; 49:4). It often refers to idols—the epitome of emptiness, nothingness, and worthlessness (Deut 32:21; 1 Kgs 16:13, 26; Ps 31:7; Jer 8:19; 10:8, 15; 14:22; 16:19; 51:18). The noun שָׁוְא(“worthlessness, emptiness, nothingness”) describes what is ineffective and lacking reality (BDB 996 s.v. שָׁוְא; e.g., Exod 20:7; Pss 60:11; 127:1; Ezek 22:28). It is also often used to refer to idols (e.g., Ps 31:7; Jer 18:15; Hos 5:11).
  37. Jonah 2:8 tn Heb “abandon their mercy/loyalty.” The meaning of חַסְדָּם יַעֲזֹבוּ(khasdam yaʿazovu, “forsake their mercy/loyalty”) is greatly debated. There are two exegetical issues that are mutually related. First, does the noun חֶסֶד (khesed) here mean (1) “mercy, kindness” that man receives from God or (2) “loyalty, faithfulness” that man must give to God (see BDB 338-39 s.v חֶסֶד; HALOT 336-37 s.v. חֶסֶד)? Second, does the third masculine plural suffix on חַסְדָּם (“their loyalty/mercy”) imply subjective or objective genitive? The subjective sense would refer to the loyal allegiance they ought to display to the true God: “they abandon the loyalty they should show.” An example of a subjective genitive is, “This is your kindness (חַסְדֵּךְ, khasdek) that you must do for me: every place to which we come, say of me, ‘He is my brother’” (Gen 20:13; also cf. Gen 40:14; 1 Sam 20:14-15). Several English versions take this approach: “forsake their faithfulness” (NASB), “abandon their faithful love” (NJB), “abandon their loyalty” (NEB, REB), “forsake their true loyalty” (RSV, NRSV), and “have abandoned their loyalty to you” (TEV). In contrast, the phrase has also been taken as an objective genitive, referring to the mercy they might have received from God: “they forfeit the mercy that could be theirs.” The ancient versions interpret חַסְדָּם in this sense: “they do not know the source of their welfare” (Tg. Jonah 2:8), “forsake the source of their welfare” (Vulgate), and “abandon their own mercy” (LXX). Several English versions follow this approach: “forsake their source of mercy” (NAB); “forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (NIV), “forsake their own welfare” (JPS, NJPS), “forsake their own mercy” (KJV, ASV), “forsake their own Mercy” (NKJV), “turn from the God who offers them mercy” (CEV), and “turn their backs on all God’s mercies” (NLT). This is a difficult lexical/syntactical problem. On the one hand, the next line contrasts their failure with Jonah’s boast of loyalty to the true God—demonstrating that he, unlike pagan idolaters, deserves to be delivered. On the other hand, the only other use of חֶסֶד in the book refers to “mercy” God bestows (4:2)—something that Jonah did not believe the (repentant) pagan idolaters had a right to receive. BDB 339 s.v. I חֶסֶד II takes this approach (“He is חַסְדָּם their goodness, favour Jonah 2:9”) and cites other examples of חֶסֶד with suffixes referring to God: חַסְדִּי (khasdi), “my kindness” = he shows kindness to me (Ps 144:2); and אֱלֹהֵי חַסְדִּי (ʾelohe khasdi), “the God of my kindness” = the God who shows kindness to me (Ps 59:18 HT [59:17 ET]).
  38. Jonah 2:9 tn Heb “voice” or “sound.”
  39. Jonah 2:9 tc The MT reads בְּקוֹל תּוֹדָה (beqol todah, “with a voice of thanksgiving”). Some mss of Tg. Jonah read here, “with the sound of hymns of thanksgiving”; the longer reading probably reflects an editorial gloss, explaining תּוֹדָה (“thanksgiving”) as “hymns of thanksgiving.”tn Heb“voice/sound of thanksgiving.” The genitive תּוֹדָה (todah, “thanksgiving”) specifies the kind of public statement that will accompany the sacrifice. The construct noun קוֹל (qol, “voice, sound”) functions as a metonymy of cause for effect, referring to the content of what the voice/sound produces: hymns of praise or declarative praise testimony.
  40. Jonah 2:9 tn The verbs translated “I will sacrifice” and “I will pay” are Hebrew cohortatives, expressing Jonah’s resolve and firm intention.
  41. Jonah 2:9 tn Heb “what I have vowed I will pay.” Jonah promises to offer a sacrifice and publicly announce why he is thankful. For similar pledges, see Pss 22:25-26; 50:14-15; 56:12; 69:29-33; 71:14-16, 22-24; 86:12-13; 116:12-19.
  42. Jonah 2:9 tn Or “deliverance” (NAB, NRSV).
  43. Jonah 2:9 tn Or “comes from the Lord.” For similar uses of the preposition lamed (לְ, le) to convey a sort of ownership in which the owner does, or may by right do, something, see Lev 25:48; Deut 1:17; 1 Sam 17:47; Jer 32:7-8.
  44. Jonah 2:10 tn Heb “spoke to.” The fish functions as a literary foil to highlight Jonah’s hesitancy to obey God up to this point. In contrast to Jonah, who immediately fled when God commanded him, the fish immediately obeyed

2 Corinthians 1

From Paul,[a] an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.[b] Grace and peace to you[c] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thanksgiving for God’s Comfort

Blessed is[d] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles[e] so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble[f] with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings[g] of Christ[h] overflow[i] toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you.[j] But if we are afflicted,[k] it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort that you experience in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we also suffer. And our hope for you is steadfast because we know that as you share in[l] our sufferings, so also you will share in[m] our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[n] regarding the affliction that happened to us in the province of Asia,[o] that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of living. Indeed we felt as if the sentence of death had been passed against us,[p] so that we would not trust in ourselves[q] but in God who raises the dead. 10 He[r] delivered us from so great a risk of death, and he will deliver us. We have set our hope on him[s] that[t] he will deliver us yet again, 11 as you also join in helping us by prayer, so that many people may give thanks to God[u] on our behalf for the gracious gift given to us through the help of many.

Paul Defends His Changed Plans

12 For our reason for confidence[v] is this: the testimony of our conscience, that with pure motives[w] and sincerity which are from God[x]—not by human wisdom[y] but by the grace of God—we conducted ourselves in the world, and all the more[z] toward you. 13 For we do not write you anything other than what[aa] you can read and also understand. But I hope that you will understand completely[ab] 14 just as also you have partly understood us, that we are your source of pride just as you also are ours[ac] in the day of the Lord Jesus.[ad] 15 And with this confidence I intended to come to you first so that you would get a second opportunity to see us,[ae] 16 and through your help to go on into Macedonia and then from Macedonia to come back[af] to you and be helped on our way into Judea by you. 17 Therefore when I was planning to do this, I did not do so without thinking about what I was doing, did I?[ag] Or do I make my plans[ah]according to mere human standards[ai] so that I would be saying[aj] both “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 But as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.” 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us—by me and Silvanus[ak] and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but it has always been “Yes” in him. 20 For every one of God’s promises are “Yes” in him; therefore also through him the “Amen” is spoken, to the glory we give to God. 21 But it is God who establishes[al] us together with you in Christ and who anointed us,[am] 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.[an]

Why Paul Postponed His Visit

23 Now I appeal to God as my witness,[ao] that to spare[ap] you I did not come again to Corinth.[aq] 24 I do not mean that we rule over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because by faith you stand firm.[ar]


  1. 2 Corinthians 1:1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
  2. 2 Corinthians 1:1 tn Or “are throughout Achaia.”
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:2 tn Grk “Grace to you and peace.”
  4. 2 Corinthians 1:3 tn There is no verb in the Greek text; either the optative (“be”) or the indicative (“is”) can be supplied. The meaning of the term εὐλογητός (eulogētos) and the author’s intention at this point in the epistle must both come into play to determine which is the preferred nuance. εὐλογητός as an adjective can mean either that one is praised or that one is blessed, that is, in a place of favor and benefit. The meaning “blessed” would be more naturally paired with an indicative verb and would suggest that blessedness is an intrinsic part of God’s character. The meaning “praised” would be more naturally paired with an optative verb and would suggest that God ought to be praised. Pauline style in the epistles generally moves from statements to obligations, expressing the reality first and then the believer’s necessary response. When considered as a whole, although a decision is difficult, the general Pauline style of beginning with statements and moving to obligations argues for the indicative. Cf. also Eph 1:3; 1 Pet 1:3.
  5. 2 Corinthians 1:4 tn Or “our trials”; traditionally, “our affliction.” The term θλῖψις (thlipsis) refers to trouble (including persecution) that involves direct suffering (L&N 22.2).
  6. 2 Corinthians 1:4 tn Or “any trials”; traditionally, “any affliction.”
  7. 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn This Greek word translated “sufferings” here (πάθημα, pathēma) is a different one than the one Paul uses for his own afflictions/persecutions (θλῖψις, thlipsis) in v. 4.
  8. 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn I.e., suffering incurred by Paul as a consequence of his relationship to Christ. The genitive could be considered to have a causative nuance here.
  9. 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn Traditionally, “abound” (here and throughout this section).
  10. 2 Corinthians 1:5 tn The words “to you” are not in the Greek text, but are implied by the statements in the following verse.
  11. 2 Corinthians 1:6 tn Or “are troubled.”
  12. 2 Corinthians 1:7 tn Grk “as you are sharers in.”
  13. 2 Corinthians 1:7 tn Grk “will be sharers in.”
  14. 2 Corinthians 1:8 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” or “fellow Christians” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1., where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited).
  15. 2 Corinthians 1:8 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia. The Roman province of Asia made up about one-third of modern Asia Minor and was on the western side of it. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.
  16. 2 Corinthians 1:9 tn Grk “we ourselves had the sentence of death within ourselves.” Here ἀπόκριμα (apokrima) is being used figuratively; no actual official verdict had been given, but in light of all the difficulties that Paul and his colleagues had suffered, it seemed to them as though such an official verdict had been rendered against them (L&N 56.26).
  17. 2 Corinthians 1:9 tn Or “might not put confidence in ourselves.”
  18. 2 Corinthians 1:10 tn Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, the relative clause “who delivered us…” was made a separate sentence in the translation.
  19. 2 Corinthians 1:10 tn Grk “deliver us, on whom we have set our hope.”
  20. 2 Corinthians 1:10 tc Several significant witnesses, especially Alexandrian (P46 B D* 0121 0243 1739 1881 Did), lack ὅτι (hoti, “that”) here, while others, most notably Western (D1 F G 104 630 1505 ar b syh Or Ambst), lack ἔτι (eti, “yet”). Most mss, including significant Alexandrians (א A C D2Ψ 33 M f t vg), have the full expression ὅτι καὶ ἔτι (hoti kai eti). Although the predominantly Alexandrian reading has much to commend it, the fact that either ὅτιor ἔτι has been dropped, while the καί has been retained, suggests that the initial text had ὅτι καὶ ἔτι, and that either particle dropped out intentionally for stylistic reasons. (F and G have the order καί ὅτι, suggesting that in their archetype the ἔτιwas unintentionally dropped due to homoioteleuton.) If, however, ὅτι is not authentic, v. 10b should be translated “We have set our hope on him, and he will deliver us again.” Overall, a decision is difficult, but preference should be given to ὅτι καὶ ἔτι.
  21. 2 Corinthians 1:11 tn Grk “so that thanks may be given by many.” The words “to God” are not in the Greek text, but are implied. The passive construction has been converted to an active one for clarity, in keeping with contemporary English style.
  22. 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Or “for boasting.”
  23. 2 Corinthians 1:12 tc Two viable variants exist at this place in the text: ἁγιότητι(hagiotēti, “holiness”) vs. ἁπλότητι(haplotēti, “pure motives”). A confusion of letters could well have produced the variant (TCGNT 507): In majuscule script the words would have been written agiothti and aplothti. This, however, does not explain which reading created the other. Overall ἁπλότητι, though largely a Western-Byzantine reading (א2 D F G M lat sy), is better suited to the context; it is also a Pauline word while ἁγιότης (hagiotēs) is not. It also best explains the rise of the other variants, πραότητι (praotēti, “gentleness”) and σπλάγχνοις(splanchnois, “compassion”). On the other hand, the external evidence in favor of ἁγιότητι is extremely strong (P46 א* A B C K P Ψ 0121 0243 33 81 1739 1881 al co). This diversity of mss provides excellent evidence for authenticity, but because of the internal evidence listed above, ἁπλότητιis to be preferred, albeit only Or “sincerity.” The two terms translated “pure motives” (ἁπλότης, haplotēs) and “sincerity” (εἰλικρίνεια, eilikrineia) are close synonyms.
  24. 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Grk “pure motives and sincerity of God.”
  25. 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Or “not by worldly wisdom.”
  26. 2 Corinthians 1:12 tn Or “and especially.”
  27. 2 Corinthians 1:13 tn Grk “than the things.”
  28. 2 Corinthians 1:13 tn Grk “to the end,” a Greek idiom for “fully,” “totally,” “completely.”
  29. 2 Corinthians 1:14 tn Grk “that we are your boast even as you are our boast.”
  30. 2 Corinthians 1:14 tc ‡ On the wording “the Lord Jesus” (τοῦ κυρίου ᾿Ιησοῦ, tou kuriou Iēsou) there is some variation in the extant witnesses: ἡμῶν (hēmōn, “our”) is found after κυρίου in several significant witnesses (א B F G P 0121 0243 6 33 81 1739 1881 2464 al lat co); the pronoun is lacking from P46vid A C D Ψ M. Although in Paul “our Lord Jesus Christ” is a common expression, “our Lord Jesus” is relatively infrequent (cf., e.g., Rom 16:20; 2 Cor 1:14; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:11, 13; 2 Thess 1:8, 12). “The Lord Jesus” occurs about as often as “our Lord Jesus” (cf. 1 Cor 11:23; 16:23; 2 Cor 4:14; 11:31; Eph 1:15; 1 Thess 4:2; 2 Thess 1:7; Phlm 5). Thus, on balance, since scribes would tend to expand on the text, it is probably best to consider the shorter reading as authentic. NA28 places the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.
  31. 2 Corinthians 1:15 tn Grk “a second grace,” “a second favor” (used figuratively of a second visit by Paul).
  32. 2 Corinthians 1:16 tn Grk “come again.”
  33. 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn The Greek construction anticipates a negative answer. This is indicated in the translation by the ‘tag’ question “did I?” at the end of the sentence.
  34. 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn Grk “the things that I plan, do I plan (them).”
  35. 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”
  36. 2 Corinthians 1:17 tn Grk “so that with me there should be.”
  37. 2 Corinthians 1:19 sn Silvanus is usually considered to be the same person as Silas (L&N 93.340).
  38. 2 Corinthians 1:21 tn Or “strengthens.”
  39. 2 Corinthians 1:21 tn Grk “But he who establishes us together with you in Christ and anointed us is God.”
  40. 2 Corinthians 1:22 tn Or “first installment,” “pledge,” “deposit.”sn Down payment. The Greek word ἀρραβών (arrabōn) denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction. In the NT the term is used only figuratively of the Holy Spirit as the down payment of the blessings promised by God (it occurs later in 2 Cor 5:5, and also in Eph 1:14). In the “already—not yet” scheme of the NT the possession of the Spirit now by believers (“already”) can be viewed as a guarantee that God will give them the balance of the promised blessings in the future (“not yet”).
  41. 2 Corinthians 1:23 tn Grk “I call upon God as witness against my soul.” Normally this implies an appeal for help (L&N 33.176).
  42. 2 Corinthians 1:23 tn Here φειδόμενος(pheidomenos) has been translated as a telic participle.
  43. 2 Corinthians 1:23 sn Paul had promised to come again to visit (see 2 Cor 1:15, 24) but explains here why he had changed his plans.
  44. 2 Corinthians 1:24 tn Or “because you stand firm in the faith.”

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