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 its fare, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
All Commentaries on Jonah 1:3 Go To Jonah 1
LXX: "and he went up to Joppa, and he found a boat going to Tarshish; after paying his fare he went on board to sail with them to Tarshish, far from the face of the Lord." Joppa is a port of Judea, and it has been seen in the book of Kingdoms and of the Paralipomenon. It was there that the King Hiram of Tyr transported wood from Liban by raft, then they were taken by chariot by road to Jerusalem. In this place even to this day rocks can be seen on the shore on which the chained Andromeda was saved by Perseus. The learned reader will know the story. And in light of the nature of the countryside, it is said quite rightly that the prophet came from a direction that is mountainous and precipitous, and went down to Joppa in the plain. He found there a ship that was moored and he went upon the sea. He paid his fare or the price of embarking, that is of his journey, according to the Hebrew, or the fare for himself, as the Septuagint has translated it. "and he went down into it" as the Hebrew itself says, (for iered in Hebrew is translated as 'went down'), for in his flight he took great care to find a hiding place. Or "he goes up", as it is written in the Vulgate edition, for going where the boat is going, thinking that he has escaped if he has left Judea. But our Lord is also at the edge of the shore of Judea, which is called 'very beautiful' because since he was in Judea, he did not want to take the bread of sons to give it to dogs. But because he had come for the lost flocks of the house of Israel he paid the price to those who transport him. Thus he who at first wants to heal his people, saves the inhabitants of the sea, and through great winds and storms, (that is his suffering and the reproof of the cross) he is plunged into Hell and saves those whom had not noticed by appearing to sleep on the boat. The wise reader will not want to try to make tropology and history concur. For the Apostle refers Agar and Sara to the two Testaments, and all the same we are not able to interpret everything that is recounted in this story in a tropological way. And when explaining about Adam and Eve to the Ephesians, he says, "this is why man leaves his mother and father to join with a wife, and both will become one flesh. There is a great mystery: I mean Christ and the Church." Are we then first to refer the beginning of Genesis, the creation of the world, the formation of mankind, to Christ and to the Church under the pretext that the Apostle has used regarding this text? Let us admit what is written here: "thus man will leave his father", we can apply this to Christ by saying that he left God his Father in heaven to unite the people of the world in the Church. But how can we interpret what follows, "his mother"? Unless perhaps we are to say that he left heavenly Jerusalem, that mother of saints, and other ideas that are more complicated? And this too is written by the same Apostle: "they were drinking from a spiritual rock which was accompanying them, and this rock was Christ", but let us not try to relate the entire book of Exodus to Christ. For what can we say? That this stone was hit by Moses not just once, but twice, that the waters flowed and that the floods were filled up. Are we to regard the entire story of this passage in this case as allegory? Is it nor rather that each passage ought to receive a spiritual meaning according to the diversity of history? Therefore just as these texts each in this way have their interpretations and do not entail the same allegory in their context, so the prophet will not be able to be taken completely to the Lord without difficulty for the interpreter. And if it is said in the Gospel, "O wicked and adulterous generation, that she asks for a sign? As a sign she will only have the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah spent three days and three night in the belly of a fish, so the son of man will spend three days and three nights in the bosom of the earth". The remainder of this account does not concern Christ to the same extent. Indeed wherever this reading can be said to apply without discrepancy, we also try to make it fit.