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Jonah and the Big Fish/Whale

Updated on May 7, 2013
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Heads for the Sea

This is one of the strangest accounts in the bible. It begins with God commanding Jonah to preach repentance to the people of the city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go near this city as it was filled with wickedness, evil and many enemies of the Israel people. Jonah was a stubborn man who took it upon himself to decide to catch a ship to Tarhish which was in the complete opposite direction of Nineveh. With this act it was looked upon as Jonah running away from God.


God Sends Raging Storm

The crew on the ship were all terrified that their ship was going to be crushed into little pieces by the raging storm. Jonah realized this was God showing his anger at him for disobeying his command. Jonah turned to the crew of the ship telling them to throw him overboard as it was him that God wanted. The crew didn't want to do this they tried to row to shore but then the waves got even higher; this was when they threw Jonah overboard. No sooner had they done this when the sea became calm. The sailors had made a sacrifice to God - that being Jonah; all thought Jonah had drowned. They swore their vows to God.

Swallowed by Great Fish

Jonah didn't drown but instead he was swallowed by a great fish or whale that God had provided. Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the great fish until God ordered it to spit him out on dry ground. During these 3 days in the belly of the great fish Jonah repented to God asking his forgiveness and saying "Salvation comes from the Lord". God had shown compassion towards Jonah by saving his life and deciding to give him a second chance to right his wrongs. He was ready to go forth and do the Lord's bidding.

Jonah the Prophet

Jonah now headed to the city of NIneveh where upon his arrival he started to proclaim to the people that the city would be destroyed in 40 days. The people believed Jonah and they started to repent covering themselves with ashes and wearing sackcloths. When God seen their actions of repent he decided to let them live.

Jonah Questions God Again

When Jonah stops to rest outside of the city he can't understand why God showed mercy to these people that were known enemies of Israels. He felt a bit of anger towards God for feeling compassion for these enemies. It is said that God provided a vine to Jonah to shelter him from the sun and heat. The next day a worm of God's ate the vine making it wither. As Jonah became faint in the heat he complained to God again. God rebuked Jonah on being more concerned about a vine rather than showing concern for the 120,000 lost people of Nineveh. This story comes to an end with God showing compassion and concern for even the wicked people of our world.

Summary

I think having more compassion is something we must all try and have a little more of. As in this story Jonah seems to quickly forget how God showed compassion towards him in saving him from drowning. Instead he is displeased that God is showing compassion for those who he considered enemies of his people. But this is not the way of the Lord. The Lord can see the good where others cannot. I guess we should all try and practice being less critical of those who may be different from ourselves such as in choice of Religion. We should treat others how we want to be treated or better yet "treat others as God treats us".




Acknowledgement: NicoleMarina on her suggestion of using "treat others as God treats us".

Reference: christianity.about.com

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    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      I appreciate you opinion on my hub thanks for taking the time to read and comment on it God bless!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my hub take care and God bless!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks so much for your kind words of support much appreciated God Bless!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks DDE for your kind words once again and continuing to be supportive of my hubs take care and God bless!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks so much for your support of my hub and kind words and vote take care and

      God Bless!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks so much for voting my hub up and taking the time to read it and comment take care and God bless!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks for your kind and supportive words of my hub take care and God bless you!

    • Pamela-anne profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela-anne 

      5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thank you all for your support of my hub most appreciated take care and God bless all of you!

    • Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

      Emmanuel Kariuki 

      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      This is an enlightening interpretation of the Jonah story.

      I have never looked at this Jona story as anything but a fable. But you have brought to the fore the moral. We should not question how Jonah breathed without being digested in the fish for three days. Nothing is impossible with God. In any case, it may have been reported by the ancient story teller in the way he understood life at the time. The whale may have carried Jonah on its back for three days, but the reporter chose to say "swallowed". The important lesson is that God has compassion for those who disobey him anf for your enemies too.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 

      5 years ago

      Hello Pamela- anne .

      Conspicuous. One of the most efficious story in the OT for those who have capacity of faith. No explanation . The Book of Jonah , full of supernatural, to accept as is or leave it. No reasoning nor discussion will add or deprive its validity. It is the Creator's interfering , carying message to the people, meaning a grace or consequences .

      The choice made to repent, people came out pleasing the God of the universe, a mercy received . Many good lessons are to be learne by careful accepting the moral application .

      Very daring hub. Voted up and interresting .

    • shofarcall profile image

      shofarcall 

      5 years ago

      Hi Pamela,

      Please let us also remember that God had compassion on Nineveh BECAUSE they repented and confessed. That too, is an extremely vital part of the story of Jonah. Every prophet, including Jesus, has come with the same message: Repent.

      I enjoyed having the section of the scripture regarding Jonah and the vine retold. God gives and we still complain. God has mercy on others and something in us revolts, forgetting how many times God has had mercy on us too. A fresh take on Jonah. Enjoyed. God Bless. voted useful

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An interesting output on Jonah and the Big Fish/Whale, and so much more to learn of thanks for this information.

    • Luvistheword profile image

      Luvistheword 

      5 years ago

      Pamela-Anne your piece is well written with a timeless message. I know I need to reflect on my behaviors right now and as Ms. Nicole added treat others as God treats me.

      Bravo and well done and thank you for a message I especially needed today!

      Luv

    • NicholeMarina profile image

      Nichole 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Pamela,

      Great hub. I think most people look at the narrative of Jonah as a fairy tale, or a children's story but you mentioned the greatest message of it. "As Jonah became faint in the heat he complained to God again. God rebuked Jonah on being more concerned about a vine rather than showing concern for the 120,000 lost people of Nineveh. This story comes to an end with God showing compassion and concern for even the wicked people of our world....The Lord can see the good where others cannot." Although I would change the last line. I think we should all treat each other the way God treats us: with compassion, and love. He died for us. We should be willing to do the same for others if it meant it would help them. Great hub about God's compassion.

      - Nichole

    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 

      5 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      As I've said multiple times to other people - this story doesn't teach any lessons. It's impossible. You cannot be swallowed whole by something and not be digested. What did Jonah breathe in a fish's stomach? What did he eat? How did he get fresh water? Not to mention that there is no fish in existence that can swallow a man whole. Have you seen the inside of a stomach? It's not a cavernous, air-filled hole that can sustain life. It's an acid-filled, tightly constricted organ/muscle - it's built for digestion. Period. Why believe in something that is so obviously a myth that it is entirely incompatible with reality.

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