Claim #3

  • Claim: Jonah came close to death, but did not die or visit Hades
  • Author: korpov
  • Written: 5 years ago
  • Category: Biblical Exegesis
  • Answers: 0

  • Answer to: Jonah didn't die but he visited hades

Jonah came close to death, but did not die or visit Hades


In Psalm 86:13, David wrote that God delivered his soul from the depths of Sheol. Psalm 116:3 says, "the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me". David hadn't died when he wrote these words, but used the language of death to describe a sense of dread and perhaps fear of death. I think that Jonah is using the imagery of death when he talks about Sheol... in one sense, he was as good as dead... without God's intervention, death was a certainty. But he never entered Sheol or the pit, because God 'brought up his life' and saved him. 

When Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 that "just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth", He was comparing himself to Jonah, but also making a contrast, since He was One greater than Jonah. Jonah's 'death, burial and resurrection' were not literal, otherwise Jonah too would have been in the 'heart of the earth'... in Sheol. But Jesus actually physically died and was buried, and rose again.

My third reason for making this claim is that I think it would be clearer in the text that Jonah died and was raised back to life, if that is what actually happened. It would have been easy for the writer to explain it more clearly than he did explain it, if that is what had happened. 

I can't say that I'm 100% certain that this is the correct view, and the previous claims made are worth considering. However, personally I think that God saved Jonah from death by appointing the great fish.

The following posts on other sites helped inform my claim:


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