Home Quiz

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 miracle.

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):

  1. Live Fish - Live Jonah: A live fish swallows a live Jonah, and he survives 3 days inside.
  2. Live Fish - Dead Jonah: A live fish swallows a dead Jonah, who is resurrected on the third day.
  3. Dead Fish - Live Jonah: A live Jonah finds refuge in the floating carcass of a dead fish.
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.

The Prayer of Jonah

Just as Jesus quoted from the Psalms on the cross, so Jonah quoted from the Psalms in his prayer.