The Bible says that Jonah was swallowed by a large fish, not necessarily by a whale. There are some species of marine fish and whales that could swallow an entire man. But, with or without scientific explanation, Jonah’s salvation was a miracle.
Does the Bible say it was a whale?
No, the Bible does not say that it was a whale that swallowed Jonah. Both in the book of Jonah in Hebrew ( Jonah 1:17 ) and in Jesus’ speech about the sign of Jonah in Greek ( Matthew 12:40 ), the word used means ” big fish ” or ” big sea animal “. This was a generic term, which could mean a whale or several other aquatic animals.
See also: what is Jonah’s sign?
There are some theories about what kind of marine animal swallowed Jonah:
There are some species of very large whales that could swallow a whole man. Whales cannot remove oxygen from the water and need to regularly rise to the surface to breathe. The air inspired by a whale may have kept Jonas alive.
Most whales cannot swallow very large things. But there are some species that can. On the other hand, when the Bible talks about the “belly” of the fish, it can mean only the inside of the fish (like the throat), not the stomach itself.
Some sharks, like the white shark, are very large and can swallow things the size of a man . The white shark can be found in several parts of the world, unlike whales, which would be rare in this part of the Mediterranean.
Another unknown marine animal
There are many animals at the bottom of the seas that are still unknown. From time to time scientists encounter very large animals that have never been seen before! God may have used one of these creatures to swallow Jonah and throw up on the beach three days later.
Want to know more about Jonas? See the full story of Jonas here.
There are several possible candidates for the “big fish” that swallowed Jonas, but no one knows for sure what it was. Even if it was a known animal, that event was a miracle . The Bible says that it was God who ordered the fish to swallow Jonah, it was God who kept him alive and it was God who made the fish vomit Jonah safely on the beach ( Jonah 2:10 ).