1. What did Jonah do from the fish’s belly?
He prayed: “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly” (Jonah 2:1).
- In trouble, people often look to God (II Chronicles 15:1-4 and Psalms 77:1-2).
- This was even true in the ups and downs of faithfulness in Israel and God was merciful to them (II Chronicles 33:1-13 and Psalms 107:1-15).
- God has promised His children that He could be called upon in times of trouble, but what if the person calling is continually rebellious to His will (Psalms 50:15-22)?
- At the same time, God punished His people directly to bring them to a point of humility and repentance (II Chronicles 12:1-8).
- When they refused to be humbled though, God set His face against them (Jeremiah 44:1-11).
- God promised to hear if the people humbly came before Him in times of their apostasy (II Chronicles 7:11-14).
2. What did Jonah liken the belly of the fish to?
Hell [sheol, hades; the abode of the dead Strong’s # 7585]: “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” (Jonah 2:2).
- Crying out to God in affliction (Psalms 18:4-6, Psalms 142:1-3, and Luke 22:39-44).
- God can be merciful to His people when they are without any options (II Kings 14:23-27).
- “He heard me” speaks loudly. Consider who God doesn’t hear and what that implies about Jonah (Psalms 34:15-17, Proverbs 15:29, Proverbs 28:9, Jeremiah 11:10-11, John 9:31, and I Peter 3:12).
- He felt like he was in sheol (Psalms 88:1-7).
3. What was Jonah’s experience like from within the fish’s belly?
“(3) 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. (4) Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. (5) The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. (6) I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God” (Jonah 2:3-6).
- Jonah accredited God for his being cast into the sea (Jonah 1:12-16).
- He recognized that was God casting him away, figuratively speaking, out of His sight (I Kings 9:6-7, II Kings 17:20, Jeremiah 7:13-15, and Jeremiah 15:1-9). The idea is to be cast off as God warned (I Chronicles 28:9). I wrote “figuratively speaking” because there is not way to actually be out of the sight of God (Psalms 139:1-13, Proverbs 5:21, Proverbs 15:11, Isaiah 29:15-16, and Jeremiah 23:23-24).
- He then states he would look toward the holy temple of God for a reason that Israel had to do so (I Kings 8:38-50). Think about what his statement was invoking (Psalms 5:7).
- He was in the belly of the great fish. He was not drowning or physically experiencing the things described. Thus, again, he is figuratively describing what he was going through (i.e. Psalms 69:1-3). Again, it was a living hell to him (Jonah 2:2).
4. At what point did Jonah remember the Lord?
When his soul fainted within him: “When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple” (Jonah 2:7).
- The word translated “soul” is broad. It means anything from the soul, to life, to the mind, body, creature, etc. (Strong’s # 5315). The idea is the suffering in the flesh (Psalms 107:5).
- As we briefly addressed in the notes on verse 1, in times of trouble people often turn to God and even repent (Lamentations 3:14-40).
- Though Jonah was not in the temple, he was in the belly of the great fish at the time he is referencing, he was looking to the temple for a reason (Daniel 6:10; cf. I Kings 8:44).
5. Rather than observing lying vanities, what did Jonah come to realize?
Salvation is of the Lord: “(8) They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. (9) But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:8-9).
- The point is, Job wasn’t going to trust in idolatry (Jeremiah 10:14-15 and Jeremiah 16:19) or those that promoted such (Zechariah 10:1-2).
- To trust in false gods/ways is to forsake mercy. That had already been proven in the context (Jonah 1:4-6).
- He said he would sacrifice to the Lord for that reason (Exodus 22:20), but he wasn’t speaking in the immediate because he was still in the belly of the great fish at this point.
- He also recognized, with what he had faced in correction from the Lord, that he needed to pay what he had vowed (Deuteronomy 23:21-23, Judges 11:1-40, and Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).
- Whether then or now, salvation is of the Lord (Exodus 14:13, Psalms 3:8, Psalms 68:19, Acts 4:10-12, and II Peter 3:9-15) for the righteous (Psalms 37:39-40 and I Peter 4:17-19).
6. How did Jonah get back on dry land?
“And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land” (Jonah 2:10).
- The Lord spake unto the fish and the fish obeyed (Psalms 33:6-9).
- This is likened to when God pointed out to Job His [God’s] power of great creatures of the earth such as the behemoth and the leviathan (Job 40:1-41:34).
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.