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Jonah Bible Study: Author: Gene White
Preface to the Study of the Book of Jonah
Jonah, one of the 12 Minor Prophets is a most fascinating book, often overlooked
due to its small size and perhaps some bad press about the illogical notion that
a large fish (often portrayed as a whale) could swallow someone whole and three
days later belch them up on a beach still in one piece and alive, no worse for
wear. This reaction is a direct result of humanism or logic, being the guiding
principle in determining what the Bible says, rather than God’s Word. I can
remember distinctly in the 60’s, when I did my first study of Jonah the skeptics
would scoff openly about Jonah, especially about the whale or fish part of it.
They never got past that point and failed to see the miracle of surviving the
mode of transportation and that took place in Nineveh in a later chapter. The
briefness of the book belies its depth. Only Obadiah is as small as Jonah and
having about the same number of verses.
If one studies the whaling era of wooden ships you can find a couple of false
stories of sailors actually having a “Jonah experience” and living to talk about
it. All of these stories are in the “tall tales/tails department.” However, I
would be remiss not to point out that a whale, without God’s help, could swallow
a smaller man with some difficultly. Sperm Whales can swallow giant squid
weighing over 400 pounds, without much difficulty, however, squid are very
slippery and man is not, at least physically.
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