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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In the Belly of the Whale


Of course, most translations say it was a "great fish" and not a whale, but the imagery is seared in many people's minds of that of a whale swallowing Jonah and him being regurgitated 3 days later near Niniveh.

While perusing today's edition of Coastzone Newsletter, they highlighted a site that contains "7 of the Weirdest Human Enigmas". One account mentioned is this one that some of you may not be familiar with....

"The Bible records the account of Jonah who was swallowed by a whale or a great fish, but was later freed from the beast. In 1891, a British sailor lived through the same fate. The seamen aboard the whaling ship The Star of the East struggled to kill a great sperm whale and bring it on board. In the battle between man and beast, two sailors disappeared. But when the whale's stomach and liver were hoisted onto the deck of the ship, it was noticed that something was moving inside the stomach. Cutting open the stomach, the crew found James Bartley, one of the missing men, curled up, unconscious, but still alive."


So it would appear that such an occurance is at least theoretically possible. However if one is of the mindset that miracles do not occur, then it becomes a bit tougher, ahem, to swallow. However if God created the universe, then who is to say that He didn't construct a specific type of fish just for the purpose of landing a scared and disobedient Jonah near where God wanted him?




11 comments:

Froggie said...

It would have been better if God would have had the whale poop him out.

JD Curtis said...

Then you are getting into digestive acids, etc. Vomit was a more plausible option.

Tracy said...

I'm sure glad that God's been so patient with me and I've never had to go through something that gross

GentleSkeptic said...

OR … the legend of Jonah was born of an event that, while unlikely and rare, did occur naturally. Kinda like the Flood.

The real question is why a loving God allowed a wager with the devil, or why a loving God thought that slaughtering an entire family was loving, or why a loving God thought that, you know, another set of kids would be a perfectly reasonable replacement for the slaughtered ones.

Froggie said...

I once caught a magic fish. I ate it and it turned to sh*t.

JD Curtis said...

Job would deserve his own thread GS. I read something interesting on it recently and maybe I could make an entry out of it.

ATVLC said...

This myth is mentioned on Bartley's wiki page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bartley

JD Curtis said...

It looks like they had trouble locating Mr. Bartley.

Being that a quick perusal indicates that sperm whales have been found with sqid weighing over 400 lbs. in their stomachs, I disagree with Wiki's assertion that a man could not be swallowed.

Or as this entry mentions...

"In 1933 a sulfur bottom whale was caught off the coast of cape cod it was 100 ft long and had a mouth over 10 foot wide. A man who was unfortunate enough to be swallowed could take refuge in any one of the whales stomach chambers, or the large cranial cavities (extensions of the nasal sinus) which measure 7 feet high, 7ft wide and 14 ft long. More than big enough for a man to hide safely inside." Link

JD Curtis said...

Question. Who can name what modern day city lies near the site of ancient Nineveh?

GentleSkeptic said...

Answer. Someone who knows!

photogr said...

We talk of big fish that swallowed Jonah. Would a more plausable possibility of a submarine be easier to ( no pun imtended)digest?