Commentaries on Jonah

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Charles Spurgeon:

“This unloveable prophet has found more commentators than any other; partly we suppose because the angles of his character excite greater interest, but mainly because we have some knowledge of his life, and therefore are able to realize his personality.  He has received  quite as much attention as he deserves in proportion to other prophets.”







Order of Contents

Best  10
Commentaries  16
Early & Medieval  10+
Jewish  3

Jonah Generally  3
Chapters  1
For the Young  1



The Best Commentaries on Jonah


Calvin, John – The Lectures or Daily Sermons… upon the Prophet Jonas  (1578)

*** – “This of course is fuller than the Commentary, and, as the work of a reverend master, is beyond our criticism.” – Spurgeon



Abbott, George – An Exposition upon the Prophet Jonah contained in Certain Sermons  (1600)

Abbott (1562-1633) was a reformed Anglican.

*** – “Abbott was a renowned Calvinist divine, and one of the translators of the present version of the Bible.  No set of works on Jonah would be complete without this learned, laborious, and comprehensive exposition.  It is, of course, very antique in style; but, like ‘old wine’, it is none the worse for its age.” – Spurgeon

Fuller, Thomas – Notes upon Jonah  (d. 1661)

Fuller was a reformed Anglican.

***  “Full of wisdom, and fuller of wit; in fact, too full of the soul of the latter, for they are far too short.” – Spurgeon




Exell, Joseph – Practical Readings in the Book of Jonah  Ref  (1874)  162 pp.

*** – “Mr. Excell, in a very unpretending but able way, brings to light the practical lessons of Jonah.  Paxton Hood calls these readings ‘admirable’, and we concur in the verdict.” – Spurgeon



Ferguson, Sinclair – Man Overboard!  The Story of Jonah  (1981; Banner of Truth, 2008)  112 pp.  ToC

Robertson, O. Palmer – Jonah: A Study in Compassion  Buy  (1990)  64 pp.  ToC



Fairbairn, Patrick – Jonah: his Life, Character & Mission, Viewed in Connection with the Prophet’s Own Times & Future Manifestations of God’s Mind & Will in Prophecy  (1849)

Fairbairn was a Free Church of Scotland minister and professor.

*** – “The life and times of the prophet are set in a clear light; and the nature and design of his mission fully explained.  The work is well done, and is by far the ablest English treatise on this prophet.” – Spurgeon

‘First published over 120 years ago and since then regarded as one of the ablest expository treatments available.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Martin, Hugh – The Prophet Jonah: his Character & Mission to Ninevah  (1866)

Martin was of the Free Church of Scotland.

*** – “A first-class exposition of Jonah.  No one who has it will need any other.  It is not a small treatise, as most of the Jonah books are; but it contains 460 pages, all rich with good matter.  It is out of print, and ought to be republished.  What are publishers at to let such a book slip out of the market?” – Spurgeon

‘By one of the outstanding ministers in the Scottish galaxy in the middle half of the nineteenth century.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Peddie, James – A Practical Exposition of the Book of Jonah  Kindle  (1842)

*** – “The pungent remarks peculiar to the Ralph Erskine [one of the Marrow Men and Scottish Seceders] school make the Jonah of Dr. Peddie a favorite wherever it is known.” – Spurgeon

Raleigh, Alexander – The Story of Jonah the Prophet  (1875)

*** – “Dr. Raleigh calls your attention to every touch of the strange picture which hangs before us in the life of Jonah.  Although we do not always endorse the Doctor’s remarks, we can but marvel at the beauty and power of his descriptions and reflections.” – Spurgeon



Commentaries on Jonah


Luther, Martin – Lectures on Jonah  in Works, vol. 19: Minor Prophets II: Jonah & Habakkuk  ed. Hilton C. Oswald  Buy  ToC

Tyndale, William – The Prophet Jonah with an Introduction Before Teaching to Understand Him and the right use also of all the Scripture, etc.  (1531)

Hooper, John – An Overview & Deliberation upon Jonah: Made & Uttered before the King’s Majesty, in Seven Sermons  (1550)

Hooper (ca. 1495-1500–1555) was one of the English reformers and martyrs who got burnt at the stake under Bloody Mary.

* – “It would not repay the student to buy Hooper’s works for this short piece.  The language is antique, and the thought not of the newest.” – Spurgeon

King, John – Lectures on Jonah  (1559)

** – “Quaint and rich, with a little occasional quiet mirth.  It was *the* book of its time.  Some will think it out of date, others will, like Grosart, prize the work of ‘the Bishop with the royal name.'” – Spurgeon

Brenz, Johannes – News from Nineveh to England, brought by the Prophet Jonah, which News is Plainly Published in the Godly & Learned Exposition of Master John Brentius  trans. Thomas Tymme  (London, 1570)

Brenz (1499-1570) was a German, Lutheran and a professor of Latin, Greek and Hebrew at Heidelberg.

Smith, Henry – Jonah, the Messenger of Nineveh’s Repentance, Set forth in his Calling, Rebellion & Punishment  (d. 1591)



Jemmat, William – A Practical Exposition of the Historical Prophesy of Jonah, Delivering Sundry Brief Notes in a Cursory Way concerning the Mind of the Holy Ghost in the Several Passages  (London, 1665)

Jemmat (d. 1678) was a conforming puritan clergyman.


Popular & Practical, 1800’s

Cunningham, J.W. – Six Lectures on the Book of Jonah  (1833)

**  “Good simple Lectures.” – Spurgeon

Edwards, Henry – An Exposition of the Book of Jonah, in 14 Lectures (1837)  330 pp.

**  “Fourteen plain, earnest, practical sermons.” – Spurgeon

Muir, Adam S. – Glimpses of Prophet Life: Lessons from the History of Jonah  (1857)

**  “A lively, popular and earnest book, in a specially florid style.  The author talks a great deal about ‘the Son of Amittai’; why not say Jonah?  We are tempted to pull the finery to pieces; but we stay our hand, for there is really something good in these ‘lessons’.” – Spurgeon

Tweedie, W.K. – Man by Nature & by Grace: or, Lessons from the Book of Jonah  (1850)

Tweedie was of the Free Church of Scotland.

** – “A good practical work, expounding the book of Jonah for Christian edification.” – Spurgeon




Burn, Samuel C. – The Prophet Jonah  (1880; Klock & Klock, 1981)  ToC

Desprez, P.S. – The Book of Jonah, Illustrated by Discoveries at Ninevah  (1857)

** – “To make Layard illustrate Jonah was a good idea, and it has been well carried out.” – Spurgeon

Douglas, George – The Six Intermediate Minor Prophets: Jonah  in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, eds. Dods & Whyte

Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College.  “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T

Jones, Thomas – Jonah’s Portrait; or, Various Views of Human Nature & of the Gracious Dealings of God with Fallen Man  (1819)

** – “‘Jonah’s Portrait’ was very popular fifty years ago, and deservedly so, for Mr. Jones sketches it with considerable power.  We should fancy that Jonah’s portrait, as he sat under his withered gourd, was not a thing of beauty, or a joy for ever.” – Spurgeon

MacPherson, Alex – Lectures on the Book of Jonah  (1849)

MacPherson was of the Free Church of Scotland.

** – “Far superior to the general run of lectures.” – Spurgeon



Kirk, Thomas – Jonah, his Life & Mission  Buy  (1903; Klock & Klock, 1983)  340 pp.  ToC

Aalders, G. Ch. – The Problem of the Book of Jonah  Buy  (Tyndale Press, 1948)  pamphlet  at

‘A conservative approach.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Banks, William L. – Jonah: the Reluctant Prophet  Buy  (Moody Press, 1966)  120 pp.  ToC

‘A helpful exposition which admirably blends historic data with Hebrew word studies and a devotional emphasis.’ – Cyril J. Barber



Drake, William – Notes Critical & Explanatory on the Prophecies of Jonah & Hosea, with a Summary of the History of Judah & Israel during the Period when the Prophecies of Hosea were Delivered  (1853)

** – ” Entirely critical.  Only useful to Hebrew scholars.” – Spurgeon



The Early Church on Jonah


Ferreiro, Alberto – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: The Twelve Prophets  Pre  Buy  (IVP Academic, 2003)  370 pp.  ToC

Tiemeyer, Lena-Sofia – Jonah through the Centuries  in Wiley Blackwell Bible Commentaries  Pre  (Blackwell, 2022)  260 pp.  ToC



Methodius of Olympus – Fragment on Jonah  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Methodius (d. c. 311)

Ephraem the Syrian – The Repentance of Nineveh, a Metrical Homily on the Mission of Jonah  (London: Blackader, 1853)  290 pp.  ToC

Ephraem (c. 306–373)

*  “A literary curiosity–nothing more.” – Spurgeon


Commentary on Jonah: Translation with Introduction & Critical Notes  trans. Timothy Michael Hegedus  M.A. thesis  (Wilfrid Laurier University, 1991)  155 pp.  HTML

Commentary on Jonah  in Ancient Bible Commentaries in English  Ref  (2014)  62 pp.

Theodore of Mopsuestia – ‘Commentary on the Prophet Jonah’  in Commentary on the Twelve Prophets  trans. Robert C. Hill  in Fathers of the Church  (Catholic University of America Press, 2004), pp. 185-205

Theodore (c. 350 – 428)

Cyril of Alexandria – ‘Commentary on the Prophet Jonah’  in Commentary on the Twelve Prophets, vol. 2  trans. Robert C. Hill  in Fathers of the Church  (Catholic University of America Press, 2007), pp. 147-80

Cyril (c. 376 – 444)

Theodoret of Cyrus

On Jonah  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Theodoret (c. 393 – c. 458/466)

Commentary on the Twelve Prophets  Ref  (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2006)  378 pp.



Medieval Church on Jonah

Catena on Jonah  ed. John Litteral  at Patristic Bible Commentary

The Ordinary Goss

On Jonah  ed. John Litteral  at Patristic Bible Commentary

The Glossa Ordinaria on the Prophet Jonah: An English Translation  trans. John Litteral  in Consolamini Commentary Series  Ref  (2015)  28 pp.

Haimo of Auxerre – Commentary on the Book of Jonah  trans. Deborah Everhart  Pre  Buy  (Teams, 1993)  43 pp.  ToC

Haimo (d. c. 865)



Jewish Commentaries on Jonah


Bob, Steven – Go to Ninevah: Medieval Jewish Commentaries to the Book of Jonah, Translated & Explained  Buy



Josephus – On Jonah  at Patristic Bible Commentary

Harris, Robert A. – Rabbi Eliezer of Beaugency, Commentaries on Amos & Jonah (with Selections from Isaiah & Ezekiel)  Pre  (Kalamazoo, MI: Teams, 2018)  115 pp.  ToC

Eliezer (fl. 1100’s)



On Jonah Generally

Allis, O.T.

‘The Fall of Nineveh’  (1924)  13 pp.  in The Princeton Theological Review

‘Nahum, Nineveh, Elkosh’  13 pp.  n.d.

De Graaf, S.G. – ‘Sanctified & Made a Blessing’  5 pp. in Promise & Deliverance, vol. 2: The Failure of Israel’s Theocracy  (1977), pp. 342-47

De Graff is a Dutch Reformed author who focuses on the unfolding of the Covenant through history.  He writes in an easy to read, but insightful style.

Hengstenberg, E.W. – ‘Messianic Predictions in Jonah’  (1868)  6 pp.  in The Christology of the Old Testament, vol. 1, pp. 407-13

Whyte, Alexander – Jonah  in Bible Characters  (d. 1921)

Whyte was a popular leader of the United Free Church of Scotland and writes popularly.



Jonah ch. 1

Simpson, James – Evening exercises … In a Series of Discourses on Subjects Selected from the First Chapter of Jonah  (1816)

*  “Very little in the sermons, but their titles are singularly happy, and in themselves enough to afford subjects of discourse to preachers.” – Spurgeon



Jonah for the Young

Gaussen, Louis – Jonah the Prophet: Lessons on his Life.  Addresses Delivered at a Sunday School at Geneva  n.d.

Gaussen was an 1800’s Swiss Reformed pastor, known for his classic work on the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture.





Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries