Jonah 1:17

“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.”

Most people are familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale. However, by calling it a story, some people want to cast doubt upon the key event of the account. Jonah, having run away and boarded a ship bound for Tarshish – probably the same as modern Spain – eventually ends up in the sea, and God sends a whale to swallow him and take him to Ninevah.

People throw up all kinds of problems here. How could a large sea creature have swallowed Jonah? Would it not have chewed him first? Would there have been enough room in the creature’s stomach? How did Jonah escape being eaten away by the animal’s digestive juices? And surely there aren’t any large whales of suitable size to be found in the Mediterranean Sea!

But I have to throw one big problem back at the naysayers. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus confirms that Jonah was indeed inside the whale for three days and three nights, and then Jesus uses the event to apply to His own death and resurrection to come.

The Hebrew word tannin can be translated as large sea creature, as can the Greek word ketos in the Septuagint and New Testament. Therefore, it could apply to a whale, shark or any other large sea creature. The type of creature is not as important as accepting that this event is accurate history because it is in the Bible and its authenticity is underlined by Jesus Himself.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your word is always true. Thank You that all of it is relevant to our lives today. Amen.

Ref: Landis, D. (2006), Jonah and the Great Fish, < >, accessed 11/27/2018. Image: Adobe Stock Images, licensed to author.

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