On the Plains of Moab Blog
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February 15, 2013, 12:03 PM

Swallowed by a Fish

I feel like I can't say enough on the question of whether or not a prophet was actually swallowed by a great fish.  I want to say, with the utmost seriousness, that I don't think I'm committing intellectual suicide by stating my belief that we have here a historical account.  My beleif here is tethered to a statement that Jesus himself made in Luke 11:29-32 (// Matt. 12:39-41).

When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.  For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.  The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (ESV).

Jesus refers to the events of Jonah's life as established historical in every sense that he grants to Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.  No good Bible student of orthodox fiber dismisses Solomon as the stuff of legend!  neither, I suggest, should we dismiss Jonah as a morla fable!

I recognize the presence of many literary genres within the canon of Scripture.  Believe me, I do.  I do not, for instance, believe that the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 is supposed to be recieved as an actual historical event.  It is a parable.  Jonah, on the other hand, is not presented as a parable.

As I said on Sunday, if you can't swallow that yet, give it time, you may develop an apetite in time!

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