I Am

Chapter 30: Jonah’s Scenic Route To Nineveh!!




   As we said, instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship for Trouble is, no one today seems to know where Tarshish was.

   The name is associated with:


* Mining and refining metals. In it says, “They bring beaten sheets of silver from “Tarshish”. And in it says, “Tarshish sent merchants to buy your wares in exchange for silver, iron, tin, and lead”.

* It’s associated with seafaring traders from distant lands. says, “The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute”.


   Bible experts suggest four contenders for Tarshish—each of which match these two descriptions:


* top candidate. This city in Southwestern Spain was famous for its metal and trade. Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon—probably the sailors who also transported Paul— maintained a port here. Also, if Jonah wanted to get away from Nineveh, this is about as far as he could get in his day.

* port town in the North African country of Tunisia seemed the top contender when Jewish scholars translated their sacred Hebrew scriptures into Greek. In translation in the word “Carthage” was used instead of “Tarshish”.

* Sardinia—A Phoenician inscription from 800 B.C. suggests Tarshish is on this island.

* Mediterranean Sea—Many Bible scholars say the Hebrew word for Tarshish has a broader meaning: “Open Sea”. In this case Jonah simply caught a ship headed out to sea. A ship going just about anywhere on the Mediterranean would have taken him away from Nineveh.


   Whole animals as large or larger than a man have been found in the stomachs of the sperm whale, the whale shark and the white shark, which are three species of Mediterranean marine life that exist still today, and are known to be able to swallow a man whole.

   The “great fish” may have been either a whale or a shark or even a fish specifically prepared by the Lord for this purpose.

   So, we now have three of the four major players Jonah, Nineveh, and the man-eating fish. All that remains is the fourth major player:

   God has made himself known throughout history in many diverse ways, not the least of which was His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ. Not only does Jesus give us reason to believe that there exists one who is able to perform miracles, He gives us every confidence that such events, in fact, have occurred.

   Jesus spoke of Jonah’s ordeal as a real historical event. He used it as a Typological (symbolism) metaphor for His own crucifixion and resurrection; itself a miraculous event. quotes Jesus as saying, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”.

   The evidence is such that any christian should have confidence to believe before dismissing Jonah as a fairy tale.

   This is one of the Bible stories most ridiculed by people who consider themselves sophisticated and intellectual. Skeptics say that no whale could swallow a man in the first place, and, even if he did, the man would certainly never survive three days and three nights in his belly, as the Bible claims.

   “Christian liberals” have attempted to avoid this problem by saying that the story of Jonah was only an allegory (to speak so as to imply something else) and was never meant to be understood as actual history. However, whenever the Bible writers used allegories or parables or other symbolic stories, they always either said or else made it evident in the context. The Book of Jonah is certainly written as though it were actually history. Jonah was a real prophet who is mentioned also in Kings None of the ancient Jews or early christians ever doubted the authenticity and historicity of the Book of Jonah and its story.

   Most importantly, the Lord Jesus Christ accepted the account as true. He said in that the people of Nineveh repented of their sins as a consequence of Jonah’s preaching.

   One cannot deny the factuality of Jonah’s experience, without charging the Lord Jesus Christ with either deception or ignorance, either of which is equivalent to denying His deity.

   There is little question that the event was a but this fact certainly does not disprove it! God was certainly able to accomplish this, if He wished. To deny the possibility of miracles is The actual occurrence of this particular miracle is adequately attested by the very fact of its record in the Holy Scriptures, and is doubly confirmed by the testimony of Christ.

   Again, as I said before, it is crucial that we understand and trust the Bible as the word of God.

   Now that we have established the area of the known world, where the events of Jonah occurred and also established all the known players of the story, we will open the story of Jonah and the whale, with God telling Jonah: commanding him to go and preach Repentance to the city of Nineveh.