Jonah: Week 3
Theories of the Fish and Jonah
Could a man survive in a sea creature? While there are written
accounts, e.g. James Bartley in 1891 published in multiple newspapers
including the hallowed New York Times (1896), skeptics simply dismiss the
modern accounts as "fish stories" - just as they dismiss Jonah's account.
Jonah clearly identifies the great sea creature as a divine
intervention, and Jesus says that Jonah was a sign. At a minimum,
the great fish was an extraordinary Providence, if not an outright
The Christian views concerning what happened to Jonah can be divided into 3
logical categories - nomenclature from Dr. McGee ("fish" is used loosely - it
was not a fish in modern classification):
The 3rd view I am discarding because it contradicts
2:10 and 1:17. The first two views
hinge on whether Jonah finished dying in
2:7, or whether the
sea monster saved his life by swallowing him. While this question
is in some sense superficial - the prayer of Jonah is a model of
asking for another chance - it does serve to invite closer inspection.
- Live Fish - Live Jonah: A live fish swallows a live Jonah, and he survives
3 days inside.
- Live Fish - Dead Jonah: A live fish swallows a dead Jonah, who is
resurrected on the third day.
- Dead Fish - Live Jonah: A live Jonah finds refuge in the floating
carcass of a dead fish.
The Prayer of Jonah
Just as Jesus quoted from the Psalms on the cross, so Jonah quoted
from the Psalms in his prayer.