Jonah 2

Jonah 2  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The Result of the Divine Dealing With Jonah in the Belly of the Fish
Next (Jonah 2) we come to a very great change. It is not a man sent out on an unwelcome errand from Jehovah; nor his endeavor to escape from the execution of God’s commission; nor yet again the divine dealings with him when he proved refractory and kicked against the goads. We see by the way that Jehovah is exceedingly pitiful and of tender mercy as regards the Gentile mariners, when they forsook their vanities and were brought to worship the only true God, Jehovah the Lord of heaven and earth. But now we have the silent and secret dealings of God that went on during those three days and three nights when Jonah lay in the depths and spread his misery before God. “Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish’s belly, and said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice” (vss. 1-2).
A Type of Christ Dead, Buried, and to Rise; A Type Withal of the Jewish People
In this there can be not the slightest doubt to the believer that Jonah is a type of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ when He too was for three days and nights, as He said Himself, in the heart of the earth—the crucified Messiah. But then how different! Jonah’s singular fate was because of his sin—his manifest insubjection to God. Christ suffered for others exclusively. It was for the sins of His people. Nevertheless, the result was so far similar that our Lord Jesus Himself being without sin was utterly rejected, not because He did not the will of God, but because He did it to perfection, offering His body as a sacrifice once for all. Thus, our blessed Lord obeyed unto death, instead of disobeying it like the first Adam. Jonah then cries, and Jehovah hears. Deeply does he feel the position in which he found himself; and this was well. Discipline is meant to be felt, though grace should not be doubted.
But I believe on the other hand that his confidence, as was natural, was not unmingled with fear. For, if a type of Christ, he was a type of the Jewish people. Indeed, he sets forth, not inaptly, the people failing in their testimony, misrepresenting God before the Gentiles—not yet a channel of blessing on them according to the promises to Abraham, but rather a curse because of their own unfaithfulness. Nevertheless, just as Jonah was preserved of God in the great fish, so also are the Jews now preserved of God, and will be brought out to be a joy and praise to His name in the earth, whatever their present lost estate. That day is hastening apace. In Jonah’s history we find its pledge; in Christ’s its righteous ground and the means to accomplish it when Jehovah pleases to His glory.
“Three Days”
It is a principle with God that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Cor. 13:11This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)). This I do not doubt to be at least one reason for the three days, whether one looks at the case of Jonah, or of Christ, or of any other. It means a fully adequate testimony, as in our Lord’s case, to the reality of His death when He had been rejected to the uttermost; so with Jonah. Two would have been enough; three were more than sufficient, an ample and irrefragable witness. So our Lord Jesus, though by Jewish reckoning three days and three nights in the grave, literally lay there but the whole of Saturday—the Sabbath, with a part of Friday not yet closed, and before the dawn of Sunday. For we must always remember in these questions the Jews’ method of reckoning. Part of a day regularly counted for the four-and-twenty hours. The evening and the morning, or any part, counted as a whole day. But the Lord, as we know, was crucified in the afternoon of Friday; His body lay all the next or Sabbath day in the grave; and He rose early the Sunday morning. That space was counted three days and three nights, according to sanctioned Biblical reckoning which no man who bowed to scripture would contest. This was asserted among the Jews, who, fertile as they have been in excuses for unbelief, have never, as far as I am aware, made difficulties on this score. The ignorance of Gentiles has exposed some of them when unfriendly to cavil at the phrase. The Jews found not a few stumbling-blocks, but this is not one of them: they may know little of what is infinitely more momentous; but they know their own Bible too well to press an objection which would tell against the Hebrew scriptures quite as much as the Greek.