The prayer of Jonah (Jon 2:1-2:1)

“Then Jonah

Prayed

To Yahweh,

His God,

From the belly

Of the fish.”

Once Jonah was swallowed by the big fish, he immediately prayed in thanksgiving to Yahweh, his God. This short canticle that Jonah recited from the belly of the fish may have existed before this story was put together.

A great fish swallows Jonah (Jon 1:17-1:17)

“Yahweh

Provided

A large fish

To swallow up

Jonah.

Jonah was

In the belly

Of the fish

Three days

As well as three nights.”

Here we get to the great story of Jonah and the whale that has delighted young children for centuries. First, is this the end of the 1st chapter or the beginning of the 2nd chapter? Is this a male of female fish? There are many interpretations about this fish. Was it a big fish or a whale? Was it a special fish just for this one occasion that Yahweh provided it? Is this just an allegorical story like a dream or vision? Most people have interpreted this large fish as a whale or shark. However, most whales could not swallow a whole human. Perhaps, it was a sea monster or a sea serpent. The obvious comparison between the 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the fish and Jesus in the tomb was not lost on the early Christians.