The little book of Jonah is a very unique book of prophecy. It contains prophecy, miracles, repentance, revival, and even the account of Jewish-Gentile relations. Remember, Jonah was Jewish, the one God sent to a Gentile people there in Nineveh.
The last verse of Jonah 1reveals to us that Jonah, having been cast overboard by the fishermen, would end up in the belly of a "great fish" for three days and three nights. That is where we catch Jonah, our rebellious Jewish prophet, in the belly of a great fish.
The narrative reveals that Jonah would suffer for his disobedience to the Lord. It makes it very clear that Jonah would actually die in the belly of this great fish. You might be thinking, "I've never heard that before". Okay then, let's look at the evidence for the death of Jonah while in rebellion.
In verse 2, Jonah says "out of the belly of hell" cried I. The Hebrew word for "hell" is "sheol". Sheol is, in the Old Testament, the place to which the dead go.Verse 4says, "yet I will look again towards the Holy Temple." "The waters compassed me about even to the soul",verse 5. It seems toindicate deathhad taken Jonah.
Noticeverse 6, "yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption". Jonah had been brought up from the "corruption of death". I believe that Jonah died in the belly of that great fish and God resurrected the rebellious prophet to do the ministry the Lord had given him to do - go to Nineveh and preach,chapter 3:2. God did not preserve Jonah in the belly of the great fish, because Jonah died.
The greater miracle than the preservation of Jonah in the great fish's belly, is the "resurrection from the dead". This scenario would fit what Jesus said in Matthew 12:40.
Jesus compared Jonah's three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. He would be three days and three nights in heart of the earth. The end result of Jesus in death in the earth is that He would resurrect from the dead. The parallel suggests that Jonah also was resurrected from the dead.
By the way, this passage helps us to understand the time of the crucifixion of Jesus as well. He had to be in the earth three days and three nights, not two days and two nights, which would indicate a Friday crucifixion. That discussion is for another time and another devotional.
If you ever wondered if Jonah was in the belly of a great fish, whale or not, for three days and three nights, Jesus confirms it with His statement in Matthew. The Bible is not made up of fairy tales but real literal events in history.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for an infallible, inerrant word from You, to me.
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When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?