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Verse 17

Jonah 1:17. Now the Lord prepared a great fish, &c. We have but an imperfect acquaintance with the natural history of fishes. However, it is a well-attested fact, that there are fishes, sharks, for instance, that grow to a size capable of swallowing and containing a man. The Scripture calls this a great fish in the general, and therefore there is no need to confine it to a whale; in which view, much of the wit thrown out by persons disposed to be merry on the Scripture is quite foreign to the purpose. See more in the note on Matthew 12:40, in Calmet’s dissertation on the subject, and in Scheuchzer. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights “The Hebrew language,” says Lowth, “has no one word to express what we call a natural day; so that what the Greeks express by Νυχθημερον , they denote by a day and a night. Therefore the space of time consisting of one whole revolution of twenty-four hours, and a part of two others, is fitly expressed in that language by three days and three nights. Such a space of time our Lord lay in the grave;” (that is, one whole νυχθημερον , or natural day, and part of two others;) “and we may from thence conclude that Jonah, who was an eminent figure of him in this particular, was no longer in the fish’s belly.” This miracle of preserving Jonah was evidently very important. It served to spread the knowledge of the true God, the whole transaction having this tendency: see Jonah 1:16. And it also taught Jonah, and in him the whole prophetical order, God’s power and determination to enforce his commands.

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