Skeptics have long scoffed at the biblical story of Jonah who was swallowed by a great fish, but a man recently made headlines after being swallowed by a humpback whale and survived to tell the tale. Here are both stories.
In the Old Testament book of Jonah, the eponymous character was sent by God to preach to Nineveh. Jonah wanted nothing to do with it, so he took a boat in the opposite direction to Tarshish. Jonah went to sleep. God sent a great storm. The men on the ship decided Jonah was cursed, so they threw him into the sea. Then God sent a “great fish” to save Jonah from drowning. It swallowed him. Jonah sat in the belly of the fish for three days, praying to God for help. During that time, he repented and praised God. Then, God made the great fish spit out Jonah onto the shores of Nineveh.
Jonah went on to do what God wanted from him in the first place – to preach to the wicked city to repent, or God were destroyed in 40 days. Because some people believe Jonah and turned away from their wickedness, God had mercy on them and did not destroy the city.
Some skeptics say the story of Jonah is false because no human can survive inside of a fish for three days and three nights. However, in rebuttal, others argue that it’s a matter of translation. According to IRC.org: “The Hebrew idiom ‘three days and three nights’ has been clearly shown both from Scripture and other sources to mean a period of time beginning on one day and ending on the day after the one following. It doesn’t necessarily mean three full days and nights.”
And now, the following shows that getting swallowed by a “great fish” and surviving is not only possible – it happened.
Headlines around the world this week are we telling the tale of a Cape Cod-based lobster diver who was swallowed whole by a humpback whale and survived. After this real-life example, the story of Jonah and the whale from the Bible just became completely plausible,
Michael Packard, 56, is a commercial lobster diver. Last week, he trapped inside the gullet of the humpback whale for nearly a minute, before being coughed out of its mouth, the New York Post reported.
Packard was approximately 35 feet below the ocean surface when he was unexpectedly swallowed up.
“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times. At first, he thought he’d been snapped up by a great white shark. “And then I felt around and I realized there was no teeth.”
“And then I realized: ‘Oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me,” Packard recalled. “This is it, I’m going die’.”
“I saw light, and [the whale] started throwing his head side-to-side and the next thing I knew I was outside [in the open water],” Packard added. “My first thought was I can’t believe I got out of that situation. My second thought was for how injured I was.”
A boating companion plucked Packard from the sea and rushed him to hospital. He was treated for soft tissue damage to his leg.
“I’m good overall,” Packard said afterward.