And the Lord spake unto the fish - That is, by his influence the fish swam to shore, and cast Jonah on the dry land. So the whole was a miracle from the beginning to the end; and we need not perplex ourselves to find out literal interpretations; such as, "When Jonah was thrown overboard he swam for his life, earnestly praying God to preserve him from drowning; and by his providence he was thrown into a place of fish - a fishing cove, where he was for a time entangled among the weeds, and hardly escaped with his life; and when safe, he composed this poetic prayer, in metaphorical language, which some have wrongly interpreted, by supposing that he was swallowed by a fish; when dag should have been understood, as a place of fish, or fishing creek," etc. Now I say the original has no such meaning in the Bible: and this gloss is plainly contrary to the letter of the text; to all sober and rational modes of interpretation; and to the express purpose for which God appears to have wrought this miracle, and to which Jesus Christ himself applies it. For as Jonah was intended for a sign to the Jews of the resurrection of Christ, they were to have the proof of this semiosis, in his lying as long in the heart of the earth as the prophet was in the belly of the fish, and all interpretations of this kind go to deny both the sign and the thing signified. Some men, because they cannot work a miracle themselves, can hardly be persuaded that God can do it.
The text, and the use made of it by Christ, most plainly teach us that the prophet was literally swallowed by a fish, by the order of God; and that by the Divine power he was preserved alive, for what is called three days and three nights, in the stomach of the fish; and at the conclusion of the above time that same fish was led by the unseen power of God to the shore, and there compelled to eject the prey that he could neither kill nor digest. And how easy is all this to the almighty power of the Author and Sustainer of life, who has a sovereign, omnipresent, and energetic sway in the heavens and in the earth. But foolish man will affect to be wise; though, in such cases, he appears as the recently born, stupid offspring of the wild ass. It is bad to follow fancy, where there is so much at stake. Both ancients and moderns have grievously trifled with this prophet' s narrative; merely because they could not rationally account for the thing, and were unwilling (and why?) to allow any miraculous interference.
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