Jonah 2:9b-10

Last time, we almost finished our examination of Jonah’s prayer of repentance from within the belly of the great fish. It’s taken us almost an entire month to go through this amazing prayer, and now we only have half of the last verse left to cover. I’m glad I was so busy last week, I didn’t have time to finish up looking into this last verse, because the second half of the verse contains an incredible depth of revelation…
Jonah 2:9b

I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the LORD.

This is the second time we have seen vows mentioned in the book of Jonah. Remember when the mariners cast Jonah into the sea and it immediately became calm…
Jonah 1:16
Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.
The Hebrew word here in Jonah 2:9 is נָדַר nadar. The first use of the word is in Genesis 28. Isaac had commanded his son Jacob (later called Israel) to leave the land of Canaan and return to Padan Haram (in modern Iraq) from where Abraham’s servant had brought Jacob’s mother, Rebecca, to be Isaac’s wife…
Genesis 28:10-22
10Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”
18Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19And he called the name of that place Bethel;[House of God] but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God. 22And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
We see here in this amazing passage, Jacob making a simple vow that “the Lord shall be my God.” At first glance, this might appear a silly and self-important thing for Jacob to say. After all, God is God, whether Jacob makes Him his own God or not. But this is actually Jacobs declaration of God’s lordship over his life. This story is the witness of Jacob’s new birth into the kingdom of God!…
Romans 10:8-10
8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
God reminded Jacob of this vow many years later in a dream…
Genesis 31:13
‘I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.’ ”
Note that Jacob made his vow to God, promising his devotion if God would take care of him and return him safely to the land of his father, Isaac. God did, indeed, bless Jacob, not only taking care of him, but providing him with many possessions, and a large family which became the nation of Israel (formerly Jacob), God’s chosen people. But God allowed Jacob to wait for many years before He fulfilled the conditions of Jacob’s vow. We don’t have time here to go into Jacob’s many failings along the way, but suffice it to say that – as with us – God was faithful even when Jacob was not, through all that time, until He returned Jacob to the land of his father and renamed him Israel.
 
Before we leave this amazing passage about Jacob, and return to our study of Biblical vows, we need to mention a little gem we find here – in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. This promise of the Messiah to come echoes the promise made to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, years before after he had obeyed God’s call to sacrifice Jacob’s father, Isaac…
Genesis 22:15-18
15Then the Angel of the LORD[Jesus] called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
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The most well-known type of vow to the Lord we see in the Word is the Nazirite vow described in…
Numbers 6:1-21
1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, 3he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin.
5‘All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. 6All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body. 7He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. 8All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD.
9‘And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. 10Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; 11and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. 12He shall consecrate to the LORD the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.
13‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 14And he shall present his offering to the LORD: one male lamb in its first year without blemish as a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering, one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings.
16‘Then the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; 17and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering.
19‘And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair, 20and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.’
21“This is the law of the Nazirite who vows to the LORD the offering for his separation, and besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide; according to the vow which he takes, so he must do according to the law of his separation.”
The tradition of the Nazirite vow was continued at least until the time of the early church…
Acts 18:18
So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.
The most famous Nazirite was Samson the judge of Israel…
Judges 13:7 (Samson’s mother recounting her encounter with the Angel of the Lord to Samson’s father)
“And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ”
Isn’t it interesting that Samson was considered a Nazirite – bound by the terms of the Nazirite vow we’ve just looked at in Numbers – even before he was born? His mother was told by the Angel of the Lord not to drink wine or eat anything forbidden to a Nazirite while she was pregnant with Samson. Clearly, the Lord considers unborn children to be fully human, not just fetuses without rights or responsibilities. But I digress…
 
Ordinarily, a person would make the vow of the Nazirite for a specific limited time determined beforehand. Samson is unusual, in that God Himself assigned the role of the Nazirite to Samson, and it was to be for Samson’s entire life. But clearly both Samson and his parents failed to grasp the seriousness of the commitment a person takes on when taking a vow to the Lord, because Samson certainly didn’t honor his vow. As we have seen, a Nazirite was required to abstain from any unclean thing, yet we know that Samson married and consorted with Gentile women (including the infamous Delilah), in clear violation of God’s law for the Hebrews…
Deuteronomy 7:1-4
1“When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, 2and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. 3Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.
Returning to our study verse, notice that Jonah did not simply make a vow to the Lord, he promised that he would fulfill his vow. This is key…
Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
1Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
3For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool’s voice is known by his many words.
4When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
For He has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you have vowed—
5Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.
6Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.
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Jonah 2:9b (continued)
Salvation is of the LORD.
In Hebrew, this statement is יְשׁוּעָ֖תָה לַיהוָֽה (yĕshuw`ah Yĕhovah). How magnificent that the Lord Jesus’ name in Hebrew means “salvation.” This word – יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah) – is found 78 times in the Old Testament. In the vast majority of instances it is translated into English in the KJV as “salvation,” but is also translated as “help,” “deliverance,” “health,” “save,” “saving,” and “welfare.”
 
The first use of this word (the first mention of Jesus’ name) is found in Jacob’s dying “blessing” of his twelve sons. After making his prophecies about the first seven, he suddenly says…
Genesis 49:18
I have waited for your salvation,[יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah)] O LORD!
…then continues with his “blessing” of the remaining five sons.
 
In the Old Testament, יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah) often refers to a miraculous act of God on behalf of His people – Israel. For example, when the people were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s pursuing army, and they cried out to Moses accusing him of leading them out into the wilderness to die, Moses admonished them…
Exodus 14:13-14
13And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation[יְשׁוּעָה(yĕshuw`ah)] of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Later, Moses and the people celebrated the miraculous salvation of the Lord in song…
Exodus 15:1-3
1Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying:
 “I will sing to the LORD,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!
2The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;[יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah)]
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
3The LORD is a man of war;
The LORD is His name.
David also celebrated the Lord’s salvation in song…
2 Samuel 22:1-4 (see also Psalm 18)
1Then David spoke to the LORD the words of this song, on the day when the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2And he said:
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
3The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,[יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah)]
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
4I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.
Of course, the Psalms contain many declarations of the Lord‘s salvation in specific instances, in His general mercy and grace, and in praying for His salvation…
Psalm 3:8
Salvation[יְשׁוּעָה(yĕshuw`ah)] belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah
Psalm 13:5
But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.[יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah)]
Psalm 25
A Psalm of David.
1To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.
4Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
5Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;[יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah)]
On You I wait all the day.
6Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
7Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
8Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12Who is the man that fears the LORD?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
15My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.
16Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am desolate and afflicted.
17The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
18Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.
19Consider my enemies, for they are many;
And they hate me with cruel hatred.
20Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
21Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
22Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all their troubles!
…and of course, we could go on and on.
 
The corresponding word in Greek is σωτηρία (sōtēria). It means deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation. Christians obtain this salvation – the rescue from death – through belief in Jesus’ resurrection and profession of His lordship as we see in…
Romans 10:8-10
8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.[σωτηρία (sōtēria)]
It can also refer to the future hope for all Christians of eternal life in Heaven with the LordJesus.
 
Interestingly, Jesus only uses this word twice – once to the Samaritan woman at the well…
John 4:21-26
21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation[σωτηρία (sōtēria)] is of the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
…and once to Zacheus the hated tax collector in Jericho…
Luke 19:9-10
9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation[σωτηρία (sōtēria)] has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
We’ll wind up our discussion of the Lord‘s salvation with two famous New Testament passages…
Acts 4:8-12 (Peter testifying before the Sanhedrin after he healed a lame beggar)
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: 9If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 10let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’[Psalm 118:22] 12Nor is there salvation[σωτηρία (sōtēria)] in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation[σωτηρία (sōtēria)] for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
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Jonah 2:10
So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Having now finished taking a close look at Jonah’s prayer of repentance from inside the belly of the great fish, we now see the completion of the second phase of God’s redemptive plan for Jonah, his shipmates, and the people of Nineveh. Before Jonah could fulfill his mission to preach repentance to the Ninevites, God needed to bring Jonah himself to a place of obedience, humility, and repentance, which He did by causing the great fish to swallow him for three days and three nights.
 
In the meantime, the fish was returning Jonah from the depths of the sea, into which his shipmates had cast him, to a place from where he could continue his journey to Nineveh. We have no way of knowing exactly where God told the fish to deposit Jonah onto the land. We can presume that it was somewhere along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, possibly even at Joppa where Jonah had first boarded the ship. It could also have been somewhere along the southeastern shore of the Black Sea in northern Turkey. Either way, it would still have been quite a long journey for Jonah to reach Nineveh. God willing, we’ll take up our study of the final phase of God’s plan – the redemption of the people of Nineveh – next time.

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