@Christy . . . .
“and all the rest”… [< an homage to Gilligan’s shipwreck!]
Let’s take a fresh look at the key verses in Jonah. The Fish is mentioned
only 3 times. But then, in quick succession, Jonah equates the Fish to Sheol … and
describes his sufferings in the ocean as though there was no fish at all!
A) We have three choices:
1] the writer had a seriously chaotic sense of narrative by willy-nilly combining
elements of the ocean, sheol and a fish in telling his story.
2] the original story didn’t have a fish at all … where a later writer added a
fish to make the story even more miraculous; or
3] the fish was intended as a fantastic elaboration of the poetic notion of Sheol,
where Jonah is drowned by God, and then resurrected out of the “waters of
In my view, the last option is the one that savages the story of Jonah the least.
And it provides a template for how to see elements fused in a biblical story, rather
than to take each element literally.
THE DRAMA TAKES A DRAMATIC TURN WHEN JONAH
VOLUNTEERS TO BE THROWN OVERBOARD!
Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him,
Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled
from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that
the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and
And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth
into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know
that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land;
but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was
tempestuous against them.
Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech
thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this
man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou,
O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and
the sea ceased from her raging. . . .
[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.] <<< The Great Fish is The Sea.
OR … a later writer inserted The Fish.
And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD,
and he heard me; out of the Belly of Hell cried I, and thou
heardest my voice. << The Fish has become Sheol… or was
Sheol from the beginning.
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas;
and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy
waves passed over me. << The description is of the Sea’s
embrace of his body … not the Fish’s!
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth
closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
^^ Weeds wrap around his head? The Fish is not in the
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with
her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my
life from corruption…
^^ Again … a description with no Fish details!
And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah
upon the dry land.
^^ Did the Fish vomit out Jonah? Or did Sheol? Or did the
OCEAN vomit out Jonah?