Whale or Fish?
Sunday, November 03, 2013
Some people get upset if a child says “Jonah and the Whale” because they think we have taught them incorrectly—that it should be a fish. Actually, the Hebrew word dag can be translated as large fish or whale. When the Bible was translated, a whale was the largest known “fish.” Imagine an animal that has a tongue that weighs more than most cars, a heart as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and whose heartbeat can be heard 2 miles away, blood vessels so large that a baby could crawl through them, is longer than a 10-story building, weighs more than 25 elephants, and spends most of its life in parts of the ocean that no man has ever seen. You are imagining the largest animal on Earth–the blue whale. I am NOT saying that Jonah was swallowed by a blue whale. The species of the fish that swallowed Jonah might be extinct. Honestly, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that God had specially prepared a creature and sent it at the exact time to swallow Jonah and give him a “timeout” so that he could reflect on God’s mercy. God not only provided Jonah with an unusual “time out,” but he used Jonah’s running as a means for the sailors to hear about God.