Jonah and the whale - It happened!

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by kendemyer, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    Dear Readers:

    First of all, I want to say that I realize the Bible does not necessarily say a whale swallowed Jonah and it could have been another type of sea creature (translation issues).

    Here is some commentary from another website:

    A whale is not a fish
    Now a whale is not a fish; it is a mammal. So in the Old Testament we are told Jonah was swallowed by a “great fish,” and in the New Testament we are told it was a “whale.” Is this a contradiction?

    No. And this is why.

    The Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek — not in English. And both “whale” and “great fish” are English translations of the original words. If we look in a Greek New Testament dictionary, such as the popular James Strong's Dictionary of the Words in the Greek New Testament, we find the explanation.

    The Greek word translated “whale” is ketos (pronounced kay-tos), and it means “a huge fish (as gaping for prey).” Other scholars say it can mean a huge aquatic creature, which could be a fish, a whale, or some other giant sea animal. In any case, the Bible says God prepared the creature to swallow Jonah, so it could have been a creature created for this particular purpose and no other.

    When the King James Version of the Bible was released in 1611, our modern taxonomic distinctions between fishes and mammals had not yet been decided on, so the translators were justified in choosing a whale as the giant “fish.” It was the greatest sea creature known to them." (taken from: http://www.users.bigpond.com/rdoolan/jonah.html )

    Here is a abreviated article written regarding the Jonah account:


    "JONAH: A WHALE OF A TALE?
    Anonymous

    (Investigator 35, 1994 March)



    SUMMARY

    A central message of Jonah is that God judges people by their actions/deeds/repentance and not by where they were born. This method of judgment is the model for humans (e.g. Jonah) to follow.

    When people line up with their nation or ethnic group irrespective of wrong or right, and practice for example "ethnic cleansing", they prove themselves skeptics of Scripture.

    The account of Jonah in the fish’s "belly" is intended by the Bible writers to be 1iteral.

    The switch to Monotheism in Nineveh (Assyrian capital) has a historical basis.




    INTRODUCTION

    According to the Bible Jonah was swallowed by a fish, survived, and then went to the capital city of one of the bloodiest empires of ancient times, announced imminent destruction, and the population turned to worshipping one God. The city was spared from destruction, which greatly annoyed Jonah. The story ends with God saying to Jonah:


    "And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left…?"

    Some skeptics call it "a fishy story" and others "a whale of a tale." What about it, could the events of the book of Jonah be historical?

    A century ago many critics sought the origin of Jonah and the fish in Greek and Assyrian mythology. The Greeks, for example, told of a girl named Andromeda who was rescued from a sea monster by a fellow named Perseus. Another girl, a Trojan princess named Hesione was rescued from a different sea monster by Hercules. (Cheyne & Black 1914) Nowadays such comparisons of Jonah with non-Jewish mythology have been discarded. Nevertheless, most scholars still do not accept the Jonah story as historical fact.


    Australasian Post, December 3, 1988:

    Modern Jonah?
    The biblica1 story of Jonah and the whale was repeated in Australian waters in 1820 when a crewman from the American whaler Essex was lost overboard from a harpoon boat.

    Two hours later, as the whale was being stripped of its blubber, the crew noticed movement and slit open the mammal’s stomach.

    The man said he remembered passing down a narrow passage and then he fainted inside a "large, noisome space."




    The 24 page booklet The First Jaws by Chick Publication tells of a British sailor swallowed by a "gigantic Rhinodon shark" in the English Channel "in the early 1800s" and being cut out 48 hours later.


    ALLEGORY - NO; MORAL POINTS - YES

    A common approach is to view the story of Jonah as an allegory or "midrash"—a fiction which teaches a moral lesson. Jonah, in this approach, might have represented the narrow minded Jews whose concept of God was as a Jewish God. One lesson from God’s mercy, in the story, to the Assyrians is the universal Fatherhood of God. From such universal Fatherhood it would follow that God regards and treats all peoples not just Jews, impartially - even the Assyrians of Nineveh. This moral lesson is therefore similar to that of the "Good Samaritan" in the New Testament, which teaches among other things that to distinguish people along moral lines — by their good or evil conduct — is more important than the distinction of nationality.

    Jews at the time of Jesus viewed Jonah as history. For example Jesus once said:


    For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise in the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah. (Matthew 12:40-41

    That the Jonah account was intended as history rather than allegory is the more obvious conclusion. Jonah is classed among the "Prophets" and all the other prophets of the Bible are presented in the Bible as literal persons. Furthermore, Jonah is named, his father is named, the town where they lived is named (2 Kings 14:25) and the period in which they lived is given. In other words the times places and characters are not vague and unspecified as they are in, say, the parables spoken by Jesus. The degree of detail associated with Jonah would anywhere in the Bible indicate that the writer is presenting alleged history and not parable or allegory.

    The main intent behind the book might still be to give a moral lesson—but it’s a moral lesson based on events which are offered as real. Let’s consider then whether most of the report can, sensibly, be taken as literal history.




    BIG THROATED CREATURES

    Nineteenth century critics often argued that whales have too small a gullet to admit a human.

    Whales are divided into two main groups—baleen whale and toothed whales. Baleen whales have numerous horny plates suspended from the upper jaw which are used for straining out tiny sea creatures. The biggest baleen whale is the Blue Whale which weighs as much as 25 elephants. Blue Whales, however, have a small gullet and rarely swallow anything larger than a penguin.

    The largest of the toothed whales is the Sperm Whale. This grows to 25 metres. The diet of Sperm Whales includes large objects such as giant squids. Bullen (1923) wrote:

    "and a shark fifteen feet in length has been found in the stomach of a cachelot [= Sperm Whale]." (p. 125)

    Pinney (1964) quoted the Director of a Museum of Natural history:


    "Many people asked me if the Bible story of Jonah is true. Could a man be swallowed by a whale? So I pushed my body partly down the throat of a dead sixty foot sperm whale. I could just squeeze through. A fat man couldn’t have made it."

    Bullen wrote:

    "when dying, the cachelot always ejected the contents of his stomach…" (p.69)

    On one occasion Bullen saw ejected material which included:

    "a massive fragment of cuttle fish - tentacle or arm - as thick as a stout man’s body…" (p. 69)

    Bullen continued:


    "contrary to the usual notion of a whale’s being unable to swallow a herring, here was a kind of whale that could swallow—well , a block four or five feet square apparently; who lived upon creatures as large as himself, if one might judge of their bulk by the sample to hand; but being unable, from only possessing teeth in one jaw, to masticate his food, was compelled to tear it in sizeable pieces, bolt it whole, and leave his digestive apparatus to do the rest." (p. 70)

    Bullen described how he himself came close to being swallowed when a whale smashed the whaleboat throwing the whalers into the sea. (pp. 101-102)


    Extract from page 69 of The Cruise of the Cachelot (1923/1944 Frank T Bullen John Murray London):
    He [the mate] told me that, when dying, the cachelot always ejected the contents of his stomach, which were invariably composed of such masses as we saw before us; that he believed the stuff to be portions of big cuttle-fish, bitten off by the whale for the purpose of swallowing, but he wasn’t sure. Anyhow, I could haul this piece alongside now, if I liked, and see. Wondering at the indifference shown by this officer of forty years’ whaling experience to such a wonderful fact, I thanked him, and, sticking the boat-hook into the lump, drew it alongside. It was at once evident that it was a massive fragment of cuttle-fish—tentacle or arm—as thick as a stout man’s body…"

    From p. 105 of The Cruise of the Cachelot:

    Indeed, not many tears ago a popular M.P., writing to one of the religious papers, allowed himself to say that "science will not hear of a whale with a gullet capable of admitting anything larger than a man’s fist."—a piece of crass ignorance, which is also perpetrated in the appendix to a very widely-distributed edition of the Authorized Version of the Bible. This opinion, strangely enough, is almost universally held…

    From: E B Pusey (1886) The Minor Prophets

    A natural historian of repute relates, "In 1758 in stormy weather a sailor fell overboard from a frigate in the Mediterranean. A shark was close by, which, as he was swimming and crying for help took him in his wide throat, so that he forthwith disappeared. Other sailors had leapt into the sloop, to help their comrade, while yet swimming; the captain had a gun which stood on the deck discharged at the fish, which struck it so, that it cast out the sailor which it had in its throat, who was taken up, alive and little injured, by the sloop which had now come up. The fish was harpooned, taken up on the frigate, and dried. The captain made a present of the fish to the sailor who, by God’s Providence, had been so wonderfully preserved. The sailor went round Europe exhibiting it. He came to Franconia, and it was publicly exhibited here in Erlangen, as also at Nurnberg and other places. The dried fish was delineated. It was 20 feet long and, with expanded fins, nine feet wide and weighed 3924 pounds. From all this, it is probable that this was the fish of Jonah."



    Another creature large enough to swallow a man is the voracious White Shark Carcharius vulgaris which grows to ten metres. This shark often swallows its meal without chewing and it occurs in the Mediterranean Sea—where Jonah allegedly was swallowed. The Sperm Whale occurs there too and anciently there was a Phoenician whaling industry based at the port of Joppa where Jonah embarked on the ship.

    Nineteenth century scholar E B Pusey (1886) cited examples of people found, dead in the stomachs of White Sharks. In one instance a stomach contained a reindeer without horns. In another was a horse.

    In 1939 a White Shark was caught which contained two smaller sharks - two metres long each - in its stomach. (Whitley 1940; Backus & Lineaweaver 1970)

    [Omitted here is a xeroxed page from A Dictionary Of The Bible, Volume 1 1902, Edited by J Hastings et al, Published by T & T Clark, p. 750.]


    As already stated, dying Sperm Whales often vomit out the contents of their stomach. Regarding the “fish” which swallowed Jonah the story reads:
    “it vomited out Jonah upon dry land.” (2:10)

    A reasonable speculation—if the story is true—would be that the “fish” which swallowed Jonah was a Sperm Whale which later became stranded in shallow water.




    STRESSFUL ACCOMMODATION

    The blood temperature of a whale is about the same as a human’s blood—37 degrees centigrade. Inside the stomach it might be several degrees warmer. In addition there is the problem of digestive juices—would they have killed Jonah and digested him? A scientific answer seems unavailable. Would digestive juices with their digestive enzymes, for example, cease to flow if the whale were near death? Possibly the acidity of the stomach juices would also be unpleasant unless their secretion were also inhibited.

    Acidity is measured on the pH scale which varies from 0 to 14. For example:

    Concentrated nitric acid 0 Orange 3.5
    Gastric secretion 1 Tomato 4
    Lemon juice 2 Saliva 6
    Stomach juice 2 Pure Water 7
    Coca cola 3 Intestinal secretion 7.5
    Vinegar 3 Sea Water 8

    It shouldn’t be too hard to do an experiment of placing a hand or finger in lemon juice, cola, or vinegar for varying intervals and seeing if any damage occurs.

    Would there be breathable air in the stomach?

    Macloskie (1942) argued that the whale has to expel superfluous water from its mouth after receiving food. In the process a creature trapped in the mouth might reach the laryngeal pouch below the larynx. The pouch is big enough to hold a human who would, in addition, use the whale’s own air supply and have no worries about digestive juices. The Bible phrase "belly of the fish" should not count against this hypothesis since ancient peoples did not distinguish as many internal organs as we do today. In other words the entire front (=ventral surface) of a fish or whale might be referred to as the "belly".

    Nowadays whales are classified as mammals. However, the phrase "great fish" would have been accurate enough and more understandable for a, mainly, rural audience which didn’t differentiate many sea creatures.

    For a brief period a person could survive in a whale’s stomach. In Jonah’s case the account says "three days and three nights". Some commentators argue that this means 72 hours. Others argue that the Jews counted part of a day or night as one day. If Jonah, for example, was swallowed an hour before sunrise then the previous night and the previous day-time would be included in the calculation. Jonah’s total time in the "fish" would then be as little as approximately 30 hours.

    Jonah was extremely stressed by his experience. He was near death. (2:6-7) Inside the "fish" Jonah prayed. (See chapter 2) The words of the prayer were in the past tense. From this some commentators conclude that a future writer composed the prayer and the whole story is mythical. Another explanation for the use of the past tense is that Jonah was quoting the Psalms—which Jews and Christians often do during prayer. Jonah selected Psalms which had phrases appropriate to his experience. These were 120:1; 130:3; 42:7; 31:22; 69:1-2; 30: 3; 142: 2-3; 18:6; 31:6; 50:14.

    Of course Jonah would have written these things down later and not while in the "belly of the fish".




    MOUNTAINS

    An interesting sidepoint is that Jonah says:

    "Weeds were wrapped about my head
    at the roots of the mountains." (2:5)

    Geologist Harold L. Levin wrote:


    "Eighteenth-century scientists had little knowledge of the topography of the ocean floors. They lived at a time when depth measurements were made by letting down a lead weight on the end of a rope. Not only was this method time consuming, but in the open ocean it was virtually impossible to prevent error from lateral drifting of the weight, or the ship, or both. As a result of these problems, only a limited number of soundings were made except in bays and offshore areas where such information was vital for safe navigation. Oceanographers interpreted the few measurements available as indicating that the ocean floors were monotonous flat plains. With the advent of continuous topographic profiles from echo-sounding devices, it was shown that the ocean floors are as irregular as the surface of the continents. Beneath the waves lay canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, and mountain systems more magnificent than the Rockies." (Levin 1981 p. 320

    I don’t imagine that Jonah saw the "roots of the mountains" in the Mediterranean Sea by peeking out of the mouth of the fish. Perhaps he guessed; perhaps he was "inspired". At any rate he got it right.



    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
    "Here it should be noted that the Hebrew idiom, ‘three days and three nights,’ only requires a Portion of the first and third days."
    (Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts 1993 p. 257)

    Sperm whales, with their two stomachs, large throat, and biting jaw equipped with large teeth, have well documented appetites. Sharks ten to twelve feet long appear to be swallowed as easily as Jonah was! Three undigested, ten-foot sharks were found at one time in a large bull Sperm whale’s stomach at Naden Harbour. Squid measuring over thirty feet long, and several hundred pounds in weight, were also found, nearly intact, in a forty-five foot Sperm whale’s stomach.
    (Whalers No More 1987 W A Hagelund p.177)

    "The title of largest confirmed man-eater on earth must surely go to this thirty-foot long member of the dolphin family, the black and white grampus or killer whale, Orcinus orca. It could, if it ever had the opportunity, eat a couple of dozen men in one Session. Eschricht records one which was found with thirteen porpoises and fourteen seals in its stomach—it had choked on the fifteenth seal. A killer whale was once shot off the United States west coast and found to have eighteen fur seals in its stomach, each one heavier and bulkier than a man.
    (Man Is The Prey 1971 James Clarke p. 91)

    According to an oriental method of reckoning, parts of days are included in a total of days as if they were full days. Thus in idiomatic Hebrew, as in Jonah 1:17, and in the Jewish manner of speech, as in Matthew 12:40, ‘three days and three nights’ means merely one full day and parts of two others. On this matter read 1 Samuel 30:11-13; compare Esther 4:16 with 5:1; and see Tobit 3:12-13 in the Lutheran text."
    (Jonah and the Whale c. l965 P Schulze p. 4)

    A major discussion on Jonah occurred in the Princeton Theological Review October 1927 and October 1928. Ambrose John Wilson of Oxford, England, cited a whaling station manager that the skeleton of a shark sixteen feet long had been found in a whale.

    Wilson wrote that the temperature inside a whale is 104-106° Fahrenheit (about 41o Centigrade) and that the gastric juice would be unpleasant but not deadly. He alleged that a man named Marshall Jenkins was swallowed by a whale in 1771.




    ASSYRIAN MONOTHEISM

    Critics sometimes argue that the alleged repentance of the people of Nineveh capital of the Assyrian Empire would have been a bigger miracle than Jonah surviving being swallowed by a "fish".

    Assyria was one of the most barbaric of ancient empires. People of captured cities were routinely burned alive, skinned alive, or had ears, noses, hands or feet chopped off.

    Jonah was already a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel. (2 Kings 14:23) Jeroboam reigned 787 to 747 BC. This places Jonah after Shalmanezer III of Assyria who during his blood-stained reign, 859 - 824 BC, led 32 war campaigns. It also puts Jonah before the equally bloody Tiglath Pileser III who ruled 745-727 BC. Jonah therefore lived when a number of comparatively weak kings ruled Assyria.

    Furthermore, for about 50 years during the first half of the 8th century BC, Nineveh was repeatedly torn by civil unrest, palace intrigues, religious strife and even civil war. The book of Jonah confirms that Jonah arrived at Nineveh during a period of internal strife and violence. (See chapter 3:6-9)

    Among the gods of Nineveh were Ninua the goddess of waters, Oannes a god with the head and body of a fish attached to the top of a human head, Dagon god of the sea, and Anu the highest or chief god.

    We therefore have a setting in which the population of Nineveh might have listened to Jonah and turned to — at least superficially — the God Jonah proclaimed.

    Consider: News of Jonah’s survival in the "fish" precedes his arrival. Different religious factions attribute Jonah’s survival to Anu, Ninua, Oannes or Dagon. Jonah arrives—possibly with a ghastly bleached, appearance (like Bartley). The King hears of great crowds listening to Jonah preaching and sees this as a means of ending civil strife and religious division and reunifying the city and the empire. The King and high officials therefore set the example, respond to Jonah, and publicly express remorse for the violence in the city. (See Jonah 3:6-9)

    So far no Assyrian record about Jonah has been found.

    However, there did at least once occur a swing toward Monotheism. King Adad Nirari III ruled 810-782 BC. During the first five years of his reign his mother, Queen Semiramis, was co-regent and did the governing because her son was too young. Adad Nirari’s effective rule therefore began about 806 BC. It was about this time that the swing toward Monotheism took place. If Jonah was involved in this then the response to his preaching was probably superficial since history records little or nothing more about it.

    The circumference of the walls of Nineveh around 800 BC was about 3 kilometres. This increased to 12 kilometres about 700 BC. The statement that Nineveh was ‘three days’ journey in breadth" (Jonah 3:3) has therefore been criticised as another reason for thinking the whole story mythical. Possibly, however, the "three days’ journey in breadth" includes the villages and farmlands beyond the walls and also the outer fortifications involving three rivers and a mountain chain. We could also speculate that the phrases "three day’s journey" and "a day’s journey" had a meaning in Nineveh which we are unaware of."

    (The References for this article are given below)

    IMPORTANT NOTE TO READERS

    [insertion from kendemyer the poster of this string: If anyone wants to read some more faith building material please go the following website addresses: http://www.christian-forum.net/index.php?showforum=15 and http://forums.gatherinhisname.com/forum18.html ]

    The following article was taken from the following web address and readers can read the whole debate on this subject at the web address below:

    http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    REFERENCES

    Aalders G Ch. 1948 The Problern of the Book or Jonah Tyndale Press London
    Backus R H & Lineaweaver T H 1970 The Natural History of Sharks pp. 111, 113
    Blond G 1954 The Great Whale Game Weidenfeld & Nicolson London
    Bonomi J 1857 Nineveh And Its Palace E G Bohn London
    Bullen F T 1923/1944 The Cruise or the Cachelot J Murray London
    Cheyne T T & Black J S 1914 Encyclopedia Biblica New Edition in One Volume Adam & Charles Black Britain p. 1963
    Clarke J 1971 Man is the Prey Panther Science Britain p. 91
    Hagelund W A 1987 Whalers No More Harbour Publishing Canada p. 177
    Hart-Davies D E 1931 Jonah: Prophet and Patriot Thynne & Co. London
    Hastings J et al (Editors) 1902 A Dictlonary of the Bible Volume 1 T & T Clark Britain
    Levin B L 1981 Contemporary Physical Geography CBS College Publishing p. 320
    Macloskie C 1942 How to test the Story of Jonah Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 72 p. 336 ff
    Nelson T 1982 Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts Thomas Nelson Publishers USA p.257
    Pinney R 1964 The Animals in the Bible Chilton Books USA pp.128, 153
    Pussy, E 1886 The Minor Prophets Waiter Smith Britain pp. 257-258
    Schultze H P c.1965 Jonah and the Whale
    Wilson A J 1927 October The Sign of the Prophet Jonah Princeton Theological Review Volume 25 p. 636
    Wilson A J 1928 October The Authenticity of Jonah Princeton Theological Review Volume 26"

    [ February 02, 2004, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: kendemyer ]
     
  2. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    Dear Readers:

    A REQUEST

    I realize that some urban myths have occurred in the past regarding the "impossibility" of the Jonah account. Please read the essay which address these urban myths before replying. I think the author of this piece did an excellent job and that is why I shared it with you. I did do some (although not a lot) of fact checking via the internet on the essay and that is why I offered a abbreviated form of the essay. For details, please see the link which offered the whole Jonah debate which is given above.
     
  3. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    Dear Readers:

    Here is some more commentary regarding the translation issues:

    Fish Sticks or Whale Burgers

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jonah vs. Matthew on What was Eating Jonah
    Eric Vestrup

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
    Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
    "A whale is not a fish and no fish is a whale." So says one skeptic on this one, but the objection grounds on the same issues that the old "bat isn't a bird" allegation does: It is taking the categories of modern biology, an innovation of the last few centuries, and is forcing them upon texts written long, long before people thought in those fashions. This is not the way to approach an ancient text. Furthermore, it assumes that the biological classification system of today forced on the text is somehow objectively "right" and any departures from it are objectively "wrong". But this is not true. Our systems of classification are convenient, useful, and they make sense for our modern scientific pursuits. But they are not ontologically "correct". Again, cultural imperialism is manifested in this objection without regard for this basic and not-too-subtle philosophical fact. We can go along with the statement that "a fish is not a whale and a whale is not a fish" if we are speaking with respect to modern classifications. But the Biblical texts in question know nothing of such classifications. This same imperialistic approach to the texts of Scripture is also what lies behind the claims that the listing of the created life-forms in Genesis violates modern science.

    The argument is weakened considerably by the above considerations, yet the best has been saved for last: this is also a fallacy of basing an allegation on a translation instead of on the original languages. Not only that, but an English translation of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that is from AD 1611. This is excessively poor as a method for presentation. The Greek word (for which the Authorized Version translates as "whale" in Matt 12:40) is ketos , which the standard BAGD lexicon defines as "sea-monster", of which Mounce's lexicon defines as "sea-monster, great fish, or whale", and of which the Louw and Nida UBS lexicon defines as "big fish, huge fish." If one wants to advance the claim that the Authorized Version's translation of ketos , is misleading to us in 1998, I can agree. What one cannot do is have any reasonable case against the Koine, which is what matters.

    (taken from: http://www.tektonics.org/jonfish.html)
     
  4. Pete

    Pete
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    "Many people asked me if the Bible story of Jonah is true. Could a man be swallowed by a whale? So I pushed my body partly down the throat of a dead sixty foot sperm whale. I could just squeeze through. A fat man couldn’t have made it."

    TOO MUCH INFORMATION :eek: [​IMG] [​IMG] That is definitely a case of "...blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." :D

    But seriously, amen and thanks kendemyer [​IMG]

    It has me beat what those who claim Jonah as allegory make of Matthew 12:39-41.

    Genesis 3:1 tells us who asks "Did God really say..."
     
  5. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    The hardest part of the story is not the whale part. Plenty of whales could have done the job, if not the sperm whale.

    The hardest part to believe is that the whole city repented.
     
  6. David Mark

    David Mark
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    And what about the idea that when God makes a decision to use a man, he will chase him down and even cause a "fish" to swallow him if needed. Better to just do it right away and avoid being eaten by something.

    :D

    Dave
     
  7. Pete

    Pete
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    Now there's an interesting idea...Maybe I should stop doing what I'm told and wait to see what sort of critter comes along to eat me [​IMG] Bet you it wouldn't be able to do it in one go :D
     
  8. David Mark

    David Mark
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    Now there's an interesting idea...Maybe I should stop doing what I'm told and wait to see what sort of critter comes along to eat me [​IMG] Bet you it wouldn't be able to do it in one go :D </font>[/QUOTE]You know that I did not mean that literaly. Right?

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  9. Pete

    Pete
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    DOH! And here I was waiting to sell the rights to the creature that came for me to George Lucas ;)
     
  10. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    Dear Baptists and other readers:

    1. Based on my new research I think the sperm whale is the best candidate.

    2. I did a whale of amount of new research based on reader input at another forum.

    Here is what I found:

    JONAH COULD HAVE BEEN SWALLOWED WHOLE

    A Jewish website says the following:

    "According to Keith Robinson, a senior marine science instructor at Seaworld "sperm whales don't have to chew their food, they can move it into
    their stomachs by peristaltic or muscle action -- so Jonah could have been
    swallowed whole."

    see: http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/calif...13-02jonah.html


    IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL WEBSITES THAT DISCUSS THE SCIENCE ISSUES AND OTHER ISSUES IN REGARDS TO THE BOOK OF JONAH:


    Excellent General Essays on the Jonah account and science:

    http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/jonah.html

    http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/calif...13-02jonah.html

    Sperm whale sitings in the Mediterranean:

    http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/whalenet96/0156.html

    http://spherix.bangor.ac.uk/ies/Drouot/Content.pdf .

    http://www.cetaces.org/Sperm%20whale%20genetic.html

    http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v243/p281-293.html

    Date and authorship of Jonah:

    http://www.bible.org/docs/ot/books/jon/jnh-intr.htm

    Another science article in regards to the Jonah account:

    http://www.probe.org/docs/jonah.html

    ( Given the aove data regarding sperm whales in the Mediterranean it is apparent to me that the http://www.probe.org/docs/jonah.html made a mistake in regards to the sperm whales not really being present in the current Mediterranean sea)

    VERY IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL RESEARCH:

    1. The wideness of a sperm whale mouth opening:

    Here is what a website from a Jewish site regarding the sperm whale mouth opening:

    "Robinson, a senior marine science instructor, and Parham, a science writer,
    methodically studied the few clues that the Bible offers for solving the
    mystery.

    Robinson said that large sperm whales have esophaguses that measure as large
    as 50 centimeters, or roughly a foot and a half wide. They can be found in
    the Mediterranean.....

    Robinson said that large sperm whales have esophaguses that measure as large
    as 50 centimeters, or roughly a foot and a half wide. They can be found in
    the Mediterranean."

    In addition, the Smithsonian reports a fish swallowed another fish that was 1,500 pounds.

    A website states:

    "The Smithsonian Institution has on record an incident in which one fish swallowed another fish that weighed fifteen hundred pounds. The precise identity of the fish is not important. Apparently, God has a number of fish in His repertoire capable of the feat. The important fact is that God is in control of His creature, and His creature unwittingly obeys and serves His purposes."

    taken from: http://www.calvarychapel.com/hope/library/...32-JON-001.html

    2. Perhaps a man may be able to survive in the laryngeal pouch (see further notes on this it may be incorrect)

    The website cited directly above also states:

    R.K Harrison writes:

    " . . . It was shown as long ago as 1915 that even a true whale could save a man from drowning if he managed to negotiate the air-supply tract of the mammal and reach the great laryngeal pouch. From time to time there have appeared in various publications accounts of incidents that purport to be similar to that in which Jonah was apparently involved. Thus Eichhorn recorded that a "seehund" began to swallow a sailor, but immediately released him almost unharmed from its jaw. On another occasion a whale hunter was reportedly swallowed in 1891, but was recovered the following day in unconscious condition from the inside of the mammal. "

    taken from: http://www.calvarychapel.com/hope/library/...32-JON-001.html

    LANGUAGE ISSUES FURTHER CLARIFIED IN REGARDS TO THE JONAH ACCOUNT:

    More commentary regarding the 3 days and 3 nights not being a literal 72 hour period:

    http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/_PDF...es/BD3W0802.pdf

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/abdiscr/abdiscr49.html

    Regarding the type of animal. Comprehensive commentary on Greek/Hebrew:

    http://www.tektonics.org/jonfish.html


    HERE ARE SOME KEY QUESTIONS AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:

    1. We know that whales who are dying have the symptom of spitting up food and the Book of Jonah said that Jonah was spit up. But we also know that God directed the whale to spit up Jonah so this may be moot in terms of the whale possibly being near dying. On the other hand, we know that God prepared the whale that swallowed Jonah.

    Therefore, two questions are raised:

    - Do whales have just as much gastric juice production if they are dying?

    - How frequent are whale digestive problems in terms of not producing enough gastric juices or no gastric juices or poor gastric juices in terms of acidity? Was this a whale who was dying and was the whale dying to a lack of production of digestive juices? Could this have saved Jonah?

    2. Could Noah have stayed before the area that gets very acidic which I assume is the stomach. According to Keith Robinson, a senior marine science instructor at Seaworld "sperm whales don't have to chew their food, they can move it into
    their stomachs by peristaltic or muscle action -- so Jonah could have been
    swallowed whole. "(see http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/calif...13-02jonah.html
    ). Could Jonah have counteracted the peristaltic/muscle action by crawling toward the gullet to keep himself in the same position in the digestive system and thereby avoided the stomach. Whale eat a lot of food each day but perhaps God intervened. Plus this could have been a sick or dying whale as discussed earlier so perhaps it was not eating the amount a healthy whale eats which is about a ton of food a day (see: http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/spermwhl.htm ).


    3. Could a man survive by staying JUST BEFORE the gullet (I am not sure what an ancient Jew would have considered to be the "belly" of a whale.

    4. Is it possible that Jonah could have stayed in the laryngeal pouch and thereby avoided the gastric juices (this may not be possible and this is discussed later).

    5. Was Jonah not swallowed by a whale at all but by some of the other candidates scholars have proposed (see links) or perhaps a extinct animal (many animals have become extinct) or an unknown sea creature. Some commentators say because the Bible says in Jonah 1: 17 the following: "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (KJV)" that God created a new type of fish. I do not think this is the solution, however, but I cannot rule it out of course.

    Here is some information which raises the question of various supernatural interventions by God which would enable Jonah to survive:

    Jonah 1: 17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.

    Jonah 2:1-3

    Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

    And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, [and] thou heardest my voice.

    And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, [and] thou heardest my voice.

    For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about_: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

    Jonah 2: 10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land].

    A KEY QUESTION IN REGARDS TO THE BIBLE VERSES IN REGARDS TO THE MIRACULOUS:

    What was Jonah being afflicted with (see above verse in Jonah 2:1-3, specifically: "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD")? The general dire circumstance of being swallowed by a whale? Lack of air? Gastric Juices? We simply do not know. In the context of a God creating the unvierse out of nothing and doing many miracles and many people experiencing miracles today including myself I am led to believe that God could have overcome issues that would have made the whales or other sea creatures internal area inhospitable if necessary. It could have been as easy as having the whale open its mouth more often to provide more air (sperm whales come up for air about every 20-50 minutes (see: http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/spermwhl.htm ). On the other hand, God could have supernaturally created more iar if it was needed. God saved the men from a fiery furnace for example. Some commentators even postulate that God resurrected Jonah in the whale since the Jonah account is associated with the resurrection of Christ (Jesus compared the duration of his death and resurrection to the time Jonah spent in the whale). I do not favor the resurrection account but again I certainly cannot rule it out since God clearly did intervene more than once in the Jonah/whale account.


    SOME CONFLICTING INFORMATION IN MY RESEARCH WHICH I AM FURTHER INVESTIGATING

    1. Conflicting information regarding the laryngeal pouch :

    I may be getting conflicting information regarding the information in the essay written for the Investigator Magazine and another website I quoted. Here is the information I quoted:

    R.K Harrison writes:

    " . . . It was shown as long ago as 1915 that even a true whale could save a man from drowning if he managed to negotiate the air-supply tract of the mammal and reach the great laryngeal pouch. From time to time there have appeared in various publications accounts of incidents that purport to be similar to that in which Jonah was apparently involved. Thus Eichhorn recorded that a "seehund" began to swallow a sailor, but immediately released him almost unharmed from its jaw. On another occasion a whale hunter was reportedly swallowed in 1891, but was recovered the following day in unconscious condition from the inside of the mammal. "

    taken from:

    taken from: http://www.calvarychapel.com/hope/library/...32-JON-001.html

    Here is what I quoted from Investigator Magazine:

    "Would there be breathable air in the stomach?

    Macloskie (1942) argued that the whale has to expel superfluous water from its mouth after receiving food. In the process a creature trapped in the mouth might reach the laryngeal pouch below the larynx. The pouch is big enough to hold a human who would, in addition, use the whale’s own air supply and have no worries about digestive juices. The Bible phrase "belly of the fish" should not count against this hypothesis since ancient peoples did not distinguish as many internal organs as we do today. In other words the entire front (=ventral surface) of a fish or whale might be referred to as the "belly". "

    Part of the problem may be the different sources are not talking about sperm whales specifically.

    Some sources say whales respiratory systems are completely independent of their digestive systems.

    Here are the links which say the respiratory and digestive systems are completely separate in whales (they do not say sperm whales though and this could be the problem that is causing an apparent contradiction):

    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/.../Blowhole.shtml

    http://education.vetmed.vt.edu/Curriculum/...ES/WHALNOSE.HTM

    http://www.aarluk.com/en/bio/files/breathing.htm

    I do not know what sources regarding the laryngeal pouch are correct. I am researching the matter more to get clarification.

    2. Conflicting information regarding sperm whale gullet size that is not seriously conflicting:

    On the one hand, here is the information we obtained from the article in Investigator Magazine:

    Pinney (1964) quoted the Director of a Museum of Natural history:

    "Many people asked me if the Bible story of Jonah is true. Could a man be swallowed by a whale? So I pushed my body partly down the throat of a dead sixty foot sperm whale. I could just squeeze through. A fat man couldn’t have made it."

    The Jewish website states:

    "Robinson, a senior marine science instructor, and Parham, a science writer,
    methodically studied the few clues that the Bible offers for solving the
    mystery.

    Robinson said that large sperm whales have esophaguses that measure as large
    as 50 centimeters, or roughly a foot and a half wide. They can be found in
    the Mediterranean.....

    Robinson said that large sperm whales have esophaguses that measure as large
    as 50 centimeters, or roughly a foot and a half wide. They can be found in
    the Mediterranean."

    taken from:http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/calif...13-02jonah.html

    On the other hand, the website http://www.probe.org/docs/jonah.html
    has a whaling station manager saying a whale can swallow "lumps of food eight feet in diameter" (the whaling manager also says that one whale had "skeleton of a shark sixteen feet in length")

    My commentary: I do not view this as a serious conflict of sources because I believe the first two are more reliable and they parrellel each other. I do not have enough data regarding the lumps that were eight feet in diameter in terms of the thickness of the lumps.


    DEBATE TRANSCRIPTS AND MAN SURVIVING IN A WHALE HOAX

    Important notes regarding the transcripts:

    I wanted to add that I personally participated in the Investigator Magazine debates that ensued as a result of the main article being published. In the debate transcripts I was the gentleman who did some fact checking on that article (my name is Ken DeMyer in the debate transcripts) and found one man in a whale surviving in a whale hoax (the James Bartley account) and this is reflected in the debate transcripts which I will provide shortly (remember the writer mentions many possible sea creatures). It is obviously unfortunate that people play are deceptive and do hoaxes. It is a fact of life in many fields, however, that hoaxes occur. This does not mean, however, and this is important, that we should throw out all knowledge in a particular area of study because of hoaxes. To do so, we would throw out the whole field of archaeology for example. In short, we have to be judicious.

    With this in mind, the following article was taken from the following web address and readers can read the whole article and whole debate on this subject at the web address below:

    http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm
     
  11. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    Dear Readers:

    I did a lot of additional research - especially in the areas of history and archeology.

    Here is my revised essay:

    IS THE JONAH AND THE WHALE ACCOUNT SCIENTIFICALLY AND HISTORICALLY PLAUSIBLE (the Hebrew actually says great fish)?

    Some people have dismissed the Book of Jonah as mere allegory. Many people have done this, however, because they were not aware of various science information and historical information that lends credence to the Jonah account. For example, this webpage offers expert testimony and other evidence that supports a sperm whales gullet is big enough to fit a man.

    In summary, this webpage is devoted to clearing up some of the issues that some Christians and skeptics have regarding the Book of Jonah.


    FIRST OF ALL, IT SHOULD BE SAID THAT THERE IS CLEARLY THE MIRACULOUS OCCURING ACCORDING TO THE BOOK OF JONAH

    God raising up a storm --- 1:4
    God calming the storm --- 1:15
    God's commissioning of a great fish to swallow Jonah --- 1:17
    Jonah surviving three days & three nights inside the fish --- 1:17
    God commanding the fish to vomit Jonah out on dry land --- 2:10
    A city the size of Nineveh experiencing such a wide-spread repentance --- 3:5-9
    The Lord raising up a plant, a worm, and a scorching east wind --- 4:6-8

    taken from: http://www.zianet.com/maxey/Proph8.htm

    I want to point this out because we can not rule out supernatural interventions as far as Jonah being able to survive and Jonah clearly does pray for the intervention of God as can be seen here:

    Jonah 2:1-3

    Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

    And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, [and] thou heardest my voice.

    And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, [and] thou heardest my voice.

    For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me."

    see the King James Version at: www.blueletterbible.org

    A KEY QUESTION IN REGARDS TO THE BIBLE VERSES IN REGARDS TO THE MIRACULOUS:

    We do not know if the sea creature that swallowed Jonah was a whale and this will be clearly demonstrated later.

    There seems to be differences of opinion regarding a man being able to survive in a sperm whale in terms of oxygen requirements and the acidity level in various portions of the digestive system. There also seems to be differences of opinions regarding the respiratory tract and this will be discussed later.

    With these two issues in mind, I will address the possibilty of supernatural intervention by God in terms of Noah surviving.

    What was Jonah being afflicted with (see above verse in Jonah 2:1-3, specifically: "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD")? The general dire circumstance of being swallowed by a whale? Lack of air? Gastric Juices? We simply do not know. In the context of a God creating the unvierse out of nothing and doing many miracles and many people experiencing miracles today including myself I am led to believe that God could have overcome issues that would have made the whales or other sea creatures internal area inhospitable if necessary. It could have been as easy as having the whale open its mouth more often to provide more air. On the other hand, God could have supernaturally created more iar if it was needed. God saved the men from a fiery furnace for example. Some commentators even postulate that God resurrected Jonah in the whale since the Jonah account is associated with the resurrection of Christ (Jesus compared the duration of his death and resurrection to the time Jonah spent in the whale). I do not favor the resurrection account but again I certainly cannot rule it out since God clearly did intervene more than once in the Jonah/whale account.


    THE SCIENCE ISSUES


    WAS THE CREATURE THAT SWALLOWED JONAH NECESSARILY A WHALE?

    Christian/Jewish scholars rightly point out that the creature in the book of Jonah is not necesarily a whale but should be translated "great fish". For commentary on the Hebrew and Greek please see the following websites:

    http://www.tektonics.org/jonfish.html

    http://www.users.bigpond.com/rdoolan/jonah.html


    THE BEST SUSPECTS FOR THE SEA CREATURE THAT SWALLOWED JONAH

    The Book of Jonah says that God prompted the great fish to vomit Jonah on dry land. Therefore, the sea creature that swallowed Jonah must have a large mouth (and esophagus in cases where the esophagus would be used) in order to accomplish this feat. I believe the best suspects for sea creatures are the sperm whale and the great white shark based on my investiagation (I discuss why the other suspects scholars cite are not as good: grouper fish, other whales and sharks, unknown or extinct species).


    THE EVIDENCE FOR THE SPERM WHALE BEING THE GREAT FISH THAT SWALLOWED JONAH


    1) THE SPERM WHALE HAS A LARGE ENOUGH MOUTH AND ESOPHAGUS

    According to a very well done Jewish website that uses excellent sources the following is true in regards to the sperm whale:

    "Robinson, a senior marine science instructor [at Seaworld], and Parham, a science writer,
    methodically studied the few clues that the Bible offers for solving the
    mystery.

    Robinson said that large sperm whales have esophaguses that measure as large
    as 50 centimeters, or roughly a foot and a half wide. They can be found in
    the Mediterranean.....

    However, men often measure more than a foot and a half across their
    shoulders, so in order for his swallower to have been a sperm whale, Jonah
    would have to have been of fairly slight build. "

    taken from:
    http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html

    Another website concurs and says the following:

    Pinney (1964) quoted the Director of a Museum of Natural history:

    "Many people asked me if the Bible story of Jonah is true. Could a man be swallowed by a whale? So I pushed my body partly down the throat of a dead sixty foot sperm whale. I could just squeeze through. A fat man couldn’t have made it."

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    2) SPERM WHALES ARE KNOWN TO VOMIT UP VERY LARGE PIECES OF FOOD WHEN DYING AND THE BOOK OF JONAH HAS JONAH BEING VOMITED UP ON DRY LAND

    A website offers the following:

    The largest of the toothed whales is the Sperm Whale. This grows to 25 metres. The diet of Sperm Whales includes large objects such as giant squids. Bullen (1923) wrote:

    "and a shark fifteen feet in length has been found in the stomach of a cachelot [= Sperm Whale]." (p. 125)

    Bullen wrote:

    "when dying, the cachelot always ejected the contents of his stomach…" (p.69)

    On one occasion Bullen saw ejected material which included:

    "a massive fragment of cuttle fish - tentacle or arm - as thick as a stout man’s body…" (p. 69)

    Bullen continued:

    "contrary to the usual notion of a whale’s being unable to swallow a herring, here was a kind of whale that could swallow—well , a block four or five feet square apparently; who lived upon creatures as large as himself, if one might judge of their bulk by the sample to hand; but being unable, from only possessing teeth in one jaw, to masticate his food, was compelled to tear it in sizeable pieces, bolt it whole, and leave his digestive apparatus to do the rest." (p. 70)

    Bullen described how he himself came close to being swallowed when a whale smashed the whaleboat throwing the whalers into the sea. (pp. 101-102)


    Extract from page 69 of The Cruise of the Cachelot (1923/1944 Frank T Bullen John Murray London):
    He [the mate] told me that, when dying, the cachelot always ejected the contents of his stomach, which were invariably composed of such masses as we saw before us; that he believed the stuff to be portions of big cuttle-fish, bitten off by the whale for the purpose of swallowing, but he wasn’t sure. Anyhow, I could haul this piece alongside now, if I liked, and see. Wondering at the indifference shown by this officer of forty years’ whaling experience to such a wonderful fact, I thanked him, and, sticking the boat-hook into the lump, drew it alongside. It was at once evident that it was a massive fragment of cuttle-fish—tentacle or arm—as thick as a stout man’s body…"

    From p. 105 of The Cruise of the Cachelot:

    Indeed, not many tears ago a popular M.P., writing to one of the religious papers, allowed himself to say that "science will not hear of a whale with a gullet capable of admitting anything larger than a man’s fist."—a piece of crass ignorance, which is also perpetrated in the appendix to a very widely-distributed edition of the Authorized Version of the Bible. This opinion, strangely enough, is almost universally held…

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    3) JONAH COULD HAVE EASILY BEEN SWALLOWED WHOLE BY A SPERM WHALE WHOLE AND INTACT

    The Jewish site mentioned earlier has Mr. Robinson, a senior marine science instructor at Seaworld offering the following:

    "He said sperm whales don't have to chew their food, they can move it into
    their stomachs by peristaltic or muscle action -- so Jonah could have been
    swallowed whole."

    taken from: http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html

    Another websites seems to concur:

    Sperm whales, with their two stomachs, large throat, and biting jaw equipped with large teeth, have well documented appetites. Sharks ten to twelve feet long appear to be swallowed as easily as Jonah was! Three undigested, ten-foot sharks were found at one time in a large bull Sperm whale’s stomach at Naden Harbour. Squid measuring over thirty feet long, and several hundred pounds in weight, were also found, nearly intact, in a forty-five foot Sperm.....

    A major discussion on Jonah occurred in the Princeton Theological Review October 1927 and October 1928. Ambrose John Wilson of Oxford, England, cited a whaling station manager that the skeleton of a shark sixteen feet long had been found in a whale."

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    4) SPERM WHALES INHABIT THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA:

    http://whale.wheelock.edu/archives/whalenet96/0156.html

    http://www.cetaces.org/Sperm%20whale%20genetic.html


    REGARDING ACCOUNTS OF MEN BEING SWALLOWED BY A SPERM WHALES AND SURVIVING

    I will discuss the specific historical information that I believe makes the Jonah account credible in depth later. For now, I will discuss the accounts of men surviving inside a whale that occur outside of a Biblical context briefly.


    1. Marshall Jenkins in 1771:

    A website says the following:

    Another individual, Marshall Jenkins, was swallowed by a Sperm Whale in the South Seas. The Boston Post Boy, October 14, 1771, reported that an Edgartown (U.S.A.) whaling vessel struck a whale, and that after the whale had bitten one of the boats in two, it took Jenkins in its mouth and went under the water with him. After returning to the surface, the whale vomited him on to the wreckage of the broken boat, "much bruised but not seriously injured...."

    [my commentary: The Marshall Jenkins account occurred over 200 years ago. I do not see any witnesses cited. I do not see a lot of details given. I think further investigation is warranted if this account is going to be offered as good evidence but it is somewhat plausible given that Marshall Jenkins was not cited as being in the whale for an extended period (I am getting conflicting information regarding the possibilty of a man being in a whale for an extended time without the benefit of supernatural intervention and this will be discussed later].


    The Marshall Jenkins information was taken from the following website http://www.grmi.org/renewal/Richard_Riss/e...ces/8jonah.html and the website gives the following footnote: Ambrose John Wilson, "The Sign of the Prophet Jonah and Its Modern Confirmations," The Princeton Theological Review 25 (1927): 636-37.

    2. Pelig Nye: http://unmuseum.mus.pa.us/spermw.htm

    My commnenatary: I only found one internet site that had the Peleg Nye account. There does seem to have been a man called Peleg Nye and he died at the same time the website stated said he died, however (see http://www.cybergata.com/ancestors/71.htm ). Again, no witnesses were offered but there does seem to be more details offered. It also seems that if Mr. Nye was in a whale it was not for a extended period. Again, with no real witnesses cited I do not believe this can be offered as good evidence.


    3) Another account of a man being swallowed by a whale and survivng

    Australasian Post, December 3, 1988:

    Modern Jonah?
    The biblica1 story of Jonah and the whale was repeated in Australian waters in 1820 when a crewman from the American whaler Essex was lost overboard from a harpoon boat.

    Two hours later, as the whale was being stripped of its blubber, the crew noticed movement and slit open the mammal’s stomach.

    The man said he remembered passing down a narrow passage and then he fainted inside a "large, noisome space."

    [my commentary: So far I found no internet sites confirmed the Essex account cited by the author at the Investigator Magazine site says he/she read in the Australasian Post, December 3, 1988. Several internet sites, including the BBC, cited the Essex being attacked by a sperm whale but gave no reference to a man being swallowed by a whale and being recovered 48 hours later. I see no witnesses cited and a lack of details. I do not believe this can be offered as good evidence].

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm

    4) James Bartley - The James Bartley account of a man being swallowed by a sperm whale and living in all likelihood is a hoax.

    See the following websites:

    www.bbc.co.uk/education/beyond/factsheets/makhist_prog6d.shtml
    www.ship-of-fools.com/Myths/04Myth.html
    www.straightdope.com/columns/010914.html

    It is obviously unfortunate that people play are deceptive and do hoaxes. It is a fact of life in many fields, however, that hoaxes occur. This does not mean, however, and this is important, that we should throw out all knowledge in a particular area of study because of hoaxes. To do so, we would throw out the whole field of archaeology for example. In short, we have to be judicious. I do think however that currently there is no real solid evidence for the men in whale accounts that are outside the Bible. Perhaps, further investigation will turn up more details and/or witnesses. I am going to do some more research but not extensive research into this matter.

    5. I am getting conflicting science opinions on whether or not a man could survive in a sperm whale in terms of oxygen availibility and the acidity of the digestive system. I will adress these issues later.

    I do not believe, however and this is an important point that this would pose a problem for Jonah because the Book of Jonah has supernatural intervention in many cases in regards to the Jonah/fish account and in regards to the rest of the accounts in the Bookof Jonah. [see my previous commentary]


    EVIDENCE FOR THE GREAT WHITE SHARK BEING THE SEA CREATURE THAT SWALLOWED JONAH

    A website article declares the following:

    "Another creature large enough to swallow a man is the voracious White Shark Carcharius vulgaris which grows to ten metres. This shark often swallows its meal without chewing and it occurs in the Mediterranean Sea—where Jonah allegedly was swallowed. The Sperm Whale occurs there too and anciently there was a Phoenician whaling industry based at the port of Joppa where Jonah embarked on the ship.

    Nineteenth century scholar E B Pusey (1886) cited examples of people found, dead in the stomachs of White Sharks. In one instance a stomach contained a reindeer without horns. In another was a horse.

    In 1939 a White Shark was caught which contained two smaller sharks - two metres long each - in its stomach. (Whitley 1940; Backus & Lineaweaver 1970)"

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm

    Another website says that according to the science writer Parham that following is true:

    "Parham added that "in the cold water, with the metabolism of a shark, a
    man's body could last three days without deterioration..."

    taken from: http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html

    Lastly, another website declares the folllowing:

    "From: E B Pusey (1886) The Minor Prophets

    A natural historian of repute relates, "In 1758 in stormy weather a sailor fell overboard from a frigate in the Mediterranean. A shark was close by, which, as he was swimming and crying for help took him in his wide throat, so that he forthwith disappeared. Other sailors had leapt into the sloop, to help their comrade, while yet swimming; the captain had a gun which stood on the deck discharged at the fish, which struck it so, that it cast out the sailor which it had in its throat, who was taken up, alive and little injured, by the sloop which had now come up. The fish was harpooned, taken up on the frigate, and dried. The captain made a present of the fish to the sailor who, by God’s Providence, had been so wonderfully preserved. The sailor went round Europe exhibiting it. He came to Franconia, and it was publicly exhibited here in Erlangen, as also at Nurnberg and other places. The dried fish was delineated. It was 20 feet long and, with expanded fins, nine feet wide and weighed 3924 pounds. From all this, it is probable that this was the fish of Jonah." "

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    A tiger shark was found near India with a man's skeleton and clothes in it:

    Here is the website:

    http://www.probe.org/docs/jonah.html


    Also, consider this information taken from a website:

    "Robinson told of seeing a photograph "of a great white shark opening its
    mouth, and it had within its gullet a whole blue shark. You could see the
    head of a six-foot blue shark, so it could easily swallow a man."

    taken from: http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html

    I do not see how a person could maintain that God chose the great white shark to swallow Jonah and not recognize the fact that it would require God to provide oxygen to Jonah or to resurrect Jonah after he died.

    Some people suspect the Rhinodon shark could be a suspect as far as a fish that swallowed Jonah but the websites that had the most knowledgable people did not cite this shark and it may not inhabit the Mediterranean Sea. Plus the Bible says it was a "great fish" and the great white shark seems to fit this "great" criteria better.


    OTHER SUSPECTS FOR FISH THAT SWALLOW JONAH

    Many animals including sea creatures have gone extinct and may have been able to swallow Jonah.

    Here is an excellent site that discusses this possibilty:

    http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/jonah.html

    Also consider this information from a website:

    "The KJV Bible Commentary states:

    The Smithsonian Institution has on record an incident in which one fish swallowed another fish that weighed fifteen hundred pounds. The precise identity of the fish is not important. Apparently, God has a number of fish in His repertoire capable of the feat. The important fact is that God is in control of His creature, and His creature unwittingly obeys and serves His purposes."

    http://www.calvarychapel.com/hope/library/stauffer-claude/studies-books/minor_prophets/32-JON-001.html


    WHY BALEEN WHALES ARE A POOR SUSPECT

    Whales are divided into two main groups—baleen whale and toothed whales. Baleen whales have numerous horny plates suspended from the upper jaw which are used for straining out tiny sea creatures. The biggest baleen whale is the Blue Whale which weighs as much as 25 elephants. Blue Whales, however, have a small gullet and rarely swallow anything larger than a penguin.


    WHY GROUPER FISH ARE A POOR SUSPECT

    A website declares the following in regards to the grouper fish:

    "Sure, giant groupers have sucked down divers' legs, but there is no evidence
    they've ever ingested a whole person."

    taken from: http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html


    AN INTERESTING NOTE IN REGARDS TO SCIENCE AND THE BOOK OF JONAH

    A website declares the following:

    "MOUNTAINS

    An interesting sidepoint is that Jonah says:

    "Weeds were wrapped about my head
    at the roots of the mountains." (2:5)

    Geologist Harold L. Levin wrote:


    "Eighteenth-century scientists had little knowledge of the topography of the ocean floors. They lived at a time when depth measurements were made by letting down a lead weight on the end of a rope. Not only was this method time consuming, but in the open ocean it was virtually impossible to prevent error from lateral drifting of the weight, or the ship, or both. As a result of these problems, only a limited number of soundings were made except in bays and offshore areas where such information was vital for safe navigation. Oceanographers interpreted the few measurements available as indicating that the ocean floors were monotonous flat plains. With the advent of continuous topographic profiles from echo-sounding devices, it was shown that the ocean floors are as irregular as the surface of the continents. Beneath the waves lay canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, and mountain systems more magnificent than the Rockies." (Levin 1981 p. 320

    I don’t imagine that Jonah saw the "roots of the mountains" in the Mediterranean Sea by peeking out of the mouth of the fish. Perhaps he guessed; perhaps he was "inspired". At any rate he got it right. "

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE BOOK OF JONAH BEING TRUE

    According to a website whose information I confirmed through several reference and website sources the following is true:


    "From II Kings 14:25 we know that Jonah lived during the time of Jeroboam II (793-753 BC). He was sent to Nineveh --- the capital city of Assyria --- to deliver a warning from God that unless they repented they would be destroyed. There are several historical clues which seem to point to a date for this prophecy somewhere in the late 750's BC --- perhaps around 758 BC:


    During the reign of Adad-nirari III (811-783 BC) there was a swing toward monotheism. However, at his death the nation entered a period of national weakness and even greater moral decay. "During this time, Assyria was engaged in a life and death struggle with the mountain tribes of Urartu, and its associates of Mannai and Madai in the north, who had been able to push their frontier to within less than a hundred miles of Nineveh" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 7).

    In 756 BC a plague struck the nation, followed by a second plague in 759 BC. In 763 BC there was an eclipse of the sun. These were "events of the type regarded by ancients as evidence of divine judgment, and could have prepared the people to receive Jonah's message" (The Ryrie Study Bible). "No doubt this depressed state of Assyria contributed much to the readiness of the people to hear Jonah as he began to preach to them" (Homer Hailey).

    There is some historical evidence that during the reign of Ashurdan III (771-754 BC) a religious awakening occurred. This may have been the result of Jonah's preaching. In 745 BC Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BC) came to the throne and Assyria again became a major power. Under his leadership the Assyrians became "the rod of God's anger (Isaiah 10:5) against His rebellious people Israel. Israel finally fell to the Assyrians with the capture of Samaria in 722 BC (through the efforts of Tiglath-pileser's successors --- Shalmaneser V and Sargon II).
    Through the preaching of Jonah, and the repentance of the people of Nineveh, the city was spared at this time. However, history tells us their repentance was fairly short-lived. Soon they had fallen back into their sinful way of life. The prophet Nahum was then sent to these same people. However, they failed to repent (as they had with Jonah), and thus were destroyed in 612 BC. "

    taken from: http://www.zianet.com/maxey/Proph8.htm


    OTHER COMMENTARY REGARDING THE BOOK OF JONAH BEING HISTORICAL


    Jews at the time of Jesus viewed Jonah as history. For example Jesus once said:

    For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will arise in the judgement with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah. (Matthew 12:40-41

    That the Jonah account was intended as history rather than allegory is the more obvious conclusion. Jonah is classed among the "Prophets" and all the other prophets of the Bible are presented in the Bible as literal persons. Furthermore, Jonah is named, his father is named, the town where they lived is named (2 Kings 14:25) and the period in which they lived is given. In other words the times places and characters are not vague and unspecified as they are in, say, the parables spoken by Jesus. The degree of detail associated with Jonah would anywhere in the Bible indicate that the writer is presenting alleged history and not parable or allegory.

    The main intent behind the book might still be to give a moral lesson—but it’s a moral lesson based on events which are offered as real. Let’s consider then whether most of the report can, sensibly, be taken as literal history.....

    ASSYRIAN MONOTHEISM

    Critics sometimes argue that the alleged repentance of the people of Nineveh capital of the Assyrian Empire would have been a bigger miracle than Jonah surviving being swallowed by a "fish".

    Assyria was one of the most barbaric of ancient empires. People of captured cities were routinely burned alive, skinned alive, or had ears, noses, hands or feet chopped off.

    Jonah was already a prophet during the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel. (2 Kings 14:23) Jeroboam reigned 787 to 747 BC. This places Jonah after Shalmanezer III of Assyria who during his blood-stained reign, 859 - 824 BC, led 32 war campaigns. It also puts Jonah before the equally bloody Tiglath Pileser III who ruled 745-727 BC. Jonah therefore lived when a number of comparatively weak kings ruled Assyria.

    Furthermore, for about 50 years during the first half of the 8th century BC, Nineveh was repeatedly torn by civil unrest, palace intrigues, religious strife and even civil war. The book of Jonah confirms that Jonah arrived at Nineveh during a period of internal strife and violence. (See chapter 3:6-9)

    Among the gods of Nineveh were Ninua the goddess of waters, Oannes a god with the head and body of a fish attached to the top of a human head, Dagon god of the sea, and Anu the highest or chief god.

    We therefore have a setting in which the population of Nineveh might have listened to Jonah and turned to — at least superficially — the God Jonah proclaimed.

    Consider: News of Jonah’s survival in the "fish" precedes his arrival. Different religious factions attribute Jonah’s survival to Anu, Ninua, Oannes or Dagon. Jonah arrives—possibly with a ghastly bleached, appearance... The King hears of great crowds listening to Jonah preaching and sees this as a means of ending civil strife and religious division and reunifying the city and the empire. The King and high officials therefore set the example, respond to Jonah, and publicly express remorse for the violence in the city. (See Jonah 3:6-9)"

    taken from:

    http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    MORE INFORMATION IN REGARDS TO THE BOOK OF JONAH BEING HISTORICAL

    A website declares:

    "There is no adequate reason to regard Jonah as non-historical.

    1. The form of the book is clearly historical.

    2. Jonah was an actual person.

    3. Nineveh was an actual city.

    4. Jews regarded Jonah as historical (Josephus Antiquities IX, 10, 2).

    5. Christian tradition viewed Jonah as historical.

    6. Historical record, 2 Kg 14:26

    7. Real kings, nations and places

    8. Christ view the book as historical, Mt 12:39-41; Lu 11:29-32. If we reject the book of Jonah as literal, we reject the authenticity of Christ’s statement.

    9. Archeology dovetails with facts of Jonah.

    · References to Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25; Mt 12:39-41; Lu 11:39-32

    · One of four Old Testament prophets referred to by Jesus. The others were Isaiah (Mt 15:7), Elijah (Mt 17:11-12) and Elisha (Lu 4:27).

    · 4 chapters, 48 verses and 1328 words

    · It is not the prophecy at issue, but the prophet.

    · There is no prophecy in the book except the prophecy that God will destroy Nineveh."

    taken from: http://www.crusade.org/word/word2310.html


    ARCHEOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF JONAH


    AN ARCHEOLOGICAL FIND IN REGARDS TO JONAH AND NINEVEH:

    A website declares the following

    "A second interesting bit of information is the name of the mound in the upper Tigris valley under which the remains of ancient Nineveh were discovered. The site of Nineveh had long been lost. But the mound had been called "Neby Yunas" ("The Prophet Jonah") for centuries."

    taken from: http://www.discoverthebook.org/message_detail.asp?fileid=424


    HERE IS WHAT ANOTHER WEBSITE DECLARES:

    "Archeology attests that the Ninevites were a cruel and bloody people and the earth was well rid of them, that's for sure."

    taken from: http://www.cliffordaweber.com/repentan.htm


    MORE IN REGARDS TO ARCHEOLOGY AND NINEVEH

    A website declares the following:

    "Jonah 4:11 (NIV) "But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?""

    Here we are told that there were at least 120,000 people living in this single city alone. Now this report from the Bible was too much to take for many 19th century secular archaeologists. These ...scientists said the Bible's account was pure fiction and unreliable, for if such a city as Nineveh did exist, it was an impossibility for its time! They said, the city couldn't be as large as reported because it would need a tremendous water supply, and no city of ancient days had pumps to supply such huge amounts of water to so many people living in close proximity. Secondly, they mockingly asserted that since not a single stone had been found exposing the city of Nineveh, it simply didn't exist. The Bible was wrong and in error!

    You see, with that strong bias, the scientist's of the early 1800's had no room for anyone even considering exploring for the city of Nineveh. However, in the mid 19th century, France sent a trade representative to Iraq, the modern name for ancient Assyria. This young man whose name was Paul Emile Botta, was a student of the Bible....While in Mosul, Iraq, Paul Botta, believed the Bible should be the guide for any archaeological study. As he was stationed near where Nineveh should have existed, this "amateur" archaeologists set out to find the city that didn't seem to exist.

    As Mosul was out of the way, Botta often traveled extensively up and down the Tigris River. Along the way approaching Mosul, he noticed what had for centuries been dark mystery mounds, in the desert region of Mesopotamia. These strange black mounds of desert soil had flat tops and steep side upwards of a hundred feet or more. Most were covered by tough camel-thorn and other dry brush, which kept most herdsmen away from them for centuries. All along the deserts of Assyria stood these strange "mystery mounds," and no one knew what caused them.

    Botta using his Bible, decided that if Nineveh was mentioned in the Scriptures, it had to be there, somewhere! By his calculations, he determined that about six miles from Mosul, Iraq, the ancient site of Nineveh should be located. But alas, all that was there were these "mystery mounds" of desert sands and scrub.

    ...Botta began digging at one of these "mystery mounds." He worked for over a year in his spare time. It was difficult to imagine the hardships he faced. The terrible insects that carried all kinds of disease attacked him, the fierce heat, the burning desert sun baked him raw, and an Arab governor of the area, who by the way, was against his digging, often dogged his work. Yet Botta did not stop. Soon his digging paid off. In the first mound he found just bits of pottery, broken bricks and some cracked statues. He moved to other mounds, particularly one near the Tigris River and there he began to dig again. This one though, yielded results! The deeper he dug the more he found out that the "mystery mounds" of the desert were not mounds at all - they were a huge ancient city!

    Through Botta's relentless digging, he found that date palms had grown around this buried city, fields grew abundantly with wheat and barely, and yet for some unknown reason, this huge city had been abandoned, and more strangely, it had been buried by strange fierce winds of the now tranquil desert. As Botta dug, he sent reports to archaeologists everywhere. At first they scoffed at this Bible-led "amateur" archaeologist, but soon his reports couldn't be ignored. They were astonishing to say the least.

    The first mound Botta dug deeply in, revealed it was the summer palace for the Assyrian kings. He found beautiful alabaster covered walls. Ancient artists had skillfully carved relief images in it showing the daily life of the palace. He later discovered that this was the actual home of KINGS ASHURBANIPAL, SARGON, and… KING NEBUCHADNEZZER! All these kings are mentioned in the Bible. Yes, the more Botta dug, he found courtyards, public reception rooms, corridors, why even a zoo and magnificent flower gardens.

    Yet, the greatest find was in the next huge "mystery mound" Botta dug into. Here finally after many centuries, the Bible's historical record proved as true as ever...NINEVEH was found! This mystery city, the main city, was unearthed and actually did exist, as the Bible declared. Botta and succeeding archaeologists soon discovered that it was a very idolatrous city. You see the walls of the city had numerous carvings of frightening animal figures, and winged lions with human heads. More amazing was the fact that Botta found an elaborate system of eighteen canals whose express purpose was to bring...huge amounts of water to this thriving and populous city.

    To date, now it has been substantiated that King Sennacherib who lived in 700 BC built a 30 mile aqueduct to bring fresh running water into this great city."

    taken from: http://www.wwy.org/wwy1200.html

    MORE IN REGARDS TO ARCHAEOLOGY AND NINEVAH

    http://www.bible-history.com/assyria_archaeology/archaeology_of_ancient_assyria_nineveh.html


    MORE REGARDING THE BOOK OF JONAH AND NINEVEH:

    www.wls.wels.net/library/Essays/Authors/G/GawrischNineveh/GawrischNineveh.pdf


    JONAH WAS NOT NECESSARILY IN THE SEA CREATURE FOR 72 HOURS AND PERHAPS WAS IN THE SEA CREATURE FOR AS LITTLE AS 30 HOURS

    A website provides the following commentary:

    "Here it should be noted that the Hebrew idiom, ‘three days and three nights,’ only requires a Portion of the first and third days."
    (Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts 1993 p. 257)

    whale’s stomach.
    (Whalers No More 1987 W A Hagelund p.177)


    According to an oriental method of reckoning, parts of days are included in a total of days as if they were full days. Thus in idiomatic Hebrew, as in Jonah 1:17, and in the Jewish manner of speech, as in Matthew 12:40, ‘three days and three nights’ means merely one full day and parts of two others. On this matter read 1 Samuel 30:11-13; compare Esther 4:16 with 5:1; and see Tobit 3:12-13 in the Lutheran text."
    (Jonah and the Whale c. l965 P Schulze p. 4)

    ...Others argue that the Jews counted part of a day or night as one day. If Jonah, for example, was swallowed an hour before sunrise then the previous night and the previous day-time would be included in the calculation. Jonah’s total time in the "fish" would then be as little as approximately 30 hours. "

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm

    More commentary regarding the 3 days and 3 nights not necessarily being a literal 72 hour period:

    http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/_PDFArchives/bible-for-dummies/BD3W0802.pdf

    http://www.apologeticspress.org/abdiscr/abdiscr49.html


    CONFLICTING TESTIMONY AND ISSUES REGARDING THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM ACIDITY


    I am getting conflicting testimony in regards to the digestive system acidity levels. I do think this is a vital issue due to their clearly being evidence of divine intervention while Jonah was in the belly of the sea creature (discussed earlier).

    Here is the testimony I am receiving:

    "Wilson [ according to the website http://www.reasons.org/resources/apologetics/jonah.shtml?main Ambrose John Wilson was "a schoolmaster from South Africa who went on to become a Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge, was also an Anglican rector"] wrote that the temperature inside a whale is 104-106° Fahrenheit (about 410 Centigrade) and that the gastric juice would be unpleasant but not deadly....

    and

    In addition there is the problem of digestive juices—would they have killed Jonah and digested him? A scientific answer seems unavailable. Would digestive juices with their digestive enzymes, for example, cease to flow if the whale were near death [the reader may remember that whales vomiting up material is a symptom of a dying whale and the sea creature that swallowed Jonah vomited him up]? Possibly the acidity of the stomach juices would also be unpleasant unless their secretion were also inhibited.

    Acidity is measured on the pH scale which varies from 0 to 14. For example:

    Concentrated nitric acid 0 Orange 3.5
    Gastric secretion 1 Tomato 4
    Lemon juice 2 Saliva 6
    Stomach juice 2 Pure Water 7
    Coca cola 3 Intestinal secretion 7.5
    Vinegar 3 Sea Water 8

    It shouldn’t be too hard to do an experiment of placing a hand or finger in lemon juice, cola, or vinegar for varying intervals and seeing if any damage occurs."

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    A BBC website declares:

    "Once inside, the advice seems to be to sit tight and try not to touch anything if at all possible. Gastric processes are invasive and skin does not recover well from encounters with organic acids. The process by which gastric acid handles food is slow and wearing clothing, especially of the synthetic variety, is likely to buy you some time."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/hub/A449345


    Another website using Robinson, a senior marine science instructor at Seaworld, as a source indicates the following:

    "Think of "all the digestive juices, hydrochloric acids, the heat,
    just suffocating heat, the lack of air..."

    A whale's stomach would be no place for a human to spend three days,
    Robinson said. Not to live to tell about it."

    taken from: http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html


    CONFLICTING INFORMATION REGARDING THE AIR SUPPLY IN A SPERM WHALE IN REGARDS TO THE BOOK OF JONAH


    Pro enough air suppy arguments :

    I may be getting conflicting information regarding the information in the essay written for the Investigator Magazine and other websites.

    R.K Harrison writes:

    " . . . It was shown as long ago as 1915 that even a true whale could save a man from drowning if he managed to negotiate the air-supply tract of the mammal and reach the great laryngeal pouch. From time to time there have appeared in various publications accounts of incidents that purport to be similar to that in which Jonah was apparently involved. Thus Eichhorn recorded that a "seehund" began to swallow a sailor, but immediately released him almost unharmed from its jaw. On another occasion a whale hunter was reportedly swallowed in 1891, but was recovered the following day in unconscious condition from the inside of the mammal. "

    taken from:

    taken from: http://www.calvarychapel.com/hope/library/stauffer-claude/studies-books/minor_prophets/32-JON-001.html


    Here is what I quoted from Investigator Magazine:

    "Would there be breathable air in the stomach?

    Macloskie (1942) argued that the whale has to expel superfluous water from its mouth after receiving food. In the process a creature trapped in the mouth might reach the laryngeal pouch below the larynx. The pouch is big enough to hold a human who would, in addition, use the whale’s own air supply and have no worries about digestive juices. The Bible phrase "belly of the fish" should not count against this hypothesis since ancient peoples did not distinguish as many internal organs as we do today. In other words the entire front (=ventral surface) of a fish or whale might be referred to as the "belly". "

    taken from: http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/BJonahDebate.htm


    Another site says that Jonah could have resided in the whales sinus cavity

    http://www.marshcommentary.com/commentary/jonah001.htm (sinus cavity)


    Part of the problem may be the different sources are not talking about sperm whales specifically.


    Why there may have not been enough air:

    Some sources say whales respiratory systems are completely independent of their digestive systems and therefore there would not be enough air although this information may not be specific to sperm whales as just noted.

    Here are the links which say the respiratory and digestive systems are completely separate in whales (they do not say sperm whales though and this could be the problem that is causing an apparent contradiction):

    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/anatomy/Blowhole.shtml

    http://education.vetmed.vt.edu/Curriculum/VM8054/Labs/Lab25/NOTES/WHALNOSE.HTM

    http://www.aarluk.com/en/bio/files/breathing.htm


    HERE ARE SOME KEY QUESTIONS AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:


    1. We know that whales who are dying have the symptom of spitting up food and the Book of Jonah said that Jonah was spit up. But we also know that God directed the whale to spit up Jonah so this may be moot in terms of the whale possibly being near dying. On the other hand, we know that God prepared the whale that swallowed Jonah.

    Therefore, two questions are raised:

    - Do whales have just as much gastric juice production if they are dying?

    - How frequent are whale digestive problems in terms of not producing enough gastric juices or no gastric juices or poor gastric juices in terms of acidity? Was this a whale who was dying and was the whale dying to a lack of production of digestive juices? Could this have saved Jonah?

    2. Could a man survive in a sperm whale by staying JUST BEFORE the gullet in the area between the gullet and the teeth(I am not sure what an ancient Jew would have considered to be the "belly" of a whale. I do not think this would have been the safest area of course without God's intervention

    3. Could Jonah if he was in a sperm whale have stayed before the area that gets very acidic ifwhich I assume is the stomach. According to Keith Robinson, a senior marine science instructor at Seaworld "sperm whales don't have to chew their food, they can move it into
    their stomachs by peristaltic or muscle action -- so Jonah could have been
    swallowed whole. "(see http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/usa/california/san_diego/general_stories/sd9-13-02jonah.html )
    . Could Jonah have counteracted the peristaltic/muscle action by crawling toward the gullet to keep himself in the same position in the digestive system and thereby avoided the stomach or is the crawl space too narrow in the esophagus. It seems sooner or later he would have to crawl past the gullet to the area between the gullet and the teeth since he would have been in the whale at least 30 hours. Sperm whales eat a lot of food each day but perhaps God intervened. Plus this could have been a sick or dying whale as discussed earlier so perhaps it was not eating the amount a healthy whale eats which is about a ton of food a day (see: http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/spermwhl.htm ).

    4. Is it possible that Jonah could have stayed in the laryngeal pouch or sinus cavity and thereby avoided the gastric juices (this may not be possible and this is discussed later). I do not think this is a great solution if it was a sperm whale because the Book of Jonah inidicates that God had the sea creature vomit Jonah onto dry land. I suppose you could argue, however, that Jonah spent most of his time in the laryngeal pouch or sinus area. I guess if it was in the laryngeal pouch area perhaps vomiting would dislodge Jonah although it would seem less likely.

    5. Was Jonah not swallowed by a whale at all but by some of the other candidates scholars have proposed or perhaps a extinct animal (many animals have become extinct) or an unknown sea creature. Some commentators say because the Bible says in Jonah 1: 17 the following: "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (KJV)" that God created a new type of fish. I do not think this is the solution, however, but I cannot rule it out of course.

    6. As discussed earlier there are plenty of indications that God performed the miraculous in the Jonah/sea creature encounter. Perhaps many of the naturalistic scenarios are just attempts to make avoid the supernatural solution. I am guessing that Jonah was saved as a result of the miraculous. It should be stated, however, that I found some of the science information very interesting (sperm whale gullets are big enough, the scientific foreshadowing commentary, dying sperm whales vomit up food, sperm whales and great white sharks are found in the Mediterranean Sea, etc).


    SUMMARY

    I believe that some of the scientific objections are clearly unfounded and that Jonah could have passed though the gullet area if it was a sperm whale (we clearly do not know if it was a sperm whale) according to the best information I was able to gather. There also seems to be other science data that give the Jonah account a "ring of truth" (sperm whales being in Mediterranean, the scientific foreknowledge that I believe was shown in the "mountains" reference, sperm whales vomiting, etc). Lastly, I do believe that Jonah's survival (or resurrection of course) was largely a supernatural occurence although I guess perhaps some of the naturalistic explanations are possible though not likely given the 30 plus hours and the probable air and acidity problems. On the other hand, I am getting too much conflicting information to entirely rule out some naturalistic explanations regarding the air/acidity issues. The Bible is clear God did intervene in the "large fish"/Jonah situation in some places as I pointed out earlier. I am leaning towards a more supernatural explanation though.

    I believe I have presented quite a bit of information from various disciplines. Accordingly, if any person wishes to call the Book of Jonah a legend I believe he first has to address the information I presented.
     
  12. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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    I updated my Jonah essay. I found there may not not be evidence from outside the Bible that there was a religious awakening in the area of Nineveh about the time of Jonah. I did find there was very solid evidence that there was move towards monotheism around the time of Jonah which would have made his job easier although nothing is too difficult for God. I also confirmed many other deails. I did find though that it was not Botta who discovered Nineveh but another gentlemen although Botta did provide a clue in regards that he found a very key Assyrian find. My revised essay has the detials and can be found here:
    http://www.christian-forum.net/index.php?showtopic=228

    Sincerely,

    Ken
     
  13. kendemyer

    kendemyer
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  14. brianray

    brianray
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    I dont worry about what kind of fish or whale it was, if the bible said that it was a mouse I would still believe. If God wanted he could make a varmint big enough for the occasion, that wouldn't be hard for me to swallow at all, but maybe it would be for the mouse. haha
     

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