Apologetics, Bible, Main, z132
Comment 1

Jonah, Rainer and the whale

Byrde's whale off the coast of Thailand Credit: morningdew/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Byrde’s whale off the coast of Thailand Credit: morningdew/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Rainer Schimpf, 51, is a diver and tour operator from South Africa who for nearly 15 years has filmed the ‘sardine run’ that takes place off the Agulhas Bank located off the Southern tip of Africa.

Billions of sardines gather at this point and begin a northern run along the eastern coast of African continent. Of course, the sardines attract hundreds of predators including sharks, dolphins, birds and whales.

This year as Schimpf was photographing a shark in the feeding frenzy, a Byrde’s whale accidentally swallowed him. Named after Norwegian whaler Johan Byrde, the whale can grow to nearly 50′ in size and weighs up to 28 tons, but tend to be more elongated than other whales. Because they eat fish as well as plankton, these whales gather at the annual “sardine run.”

A photographer on a nearby boat caught the whale swallowing of Schimpf (see video below). Schimpf told Barcroft TV, that he knew the whale had swallowed him when everything went completely dark and he felt pressure around his hips.

Schimpf said:

“Nothing can prepare you for when you end up inside a whale.”

After realizing what had happened, Schimpf’s biggest concern was the whale would take him deep into the water and he held his breath. But apparently the whale found Schimpf unsuitable for its palate and coughed up the diver on the surface.

Schimpf told Bancroft TV:

“The next moment, I felt that the whale was turning and the pressure was released. Then I was washed out of the mouth and certainly not looking too clever.”

There are stories of ancient whalers being swallowed by whales while hunting them. One captain told of a man being swallowed by a Sperm whale off the coast of the Falkland islands during the late 1800s, after several men were thrown overboard when the whale hit their boat. The captain wrote that they only found this out after they cut open the whale and reportedly found the man still alive inside the whale’s stomach.

The Bible also records the story of Jonah, who God called to preach to city of Nineveh. When Jonah refused, he fled by ship to Tarshish. But God stirred up a storm and Jonah realizing he was the cause, tells the sailors to toss him overboard. While in the water, a giant fish or whale swallowed Jonah and eventually coughed him back up on land. Jonah then headed inland and successfully called Nineveh to repentance.

But this whale was a bit different, the Bible says God “appointed” it:

17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17 NASV)

The Hebrew word ‘manah,’ translated appointed, refers to being ordered or ordained. The same word is used in Daniel 1:5, when the Babylonian King ordered that Daniel be fed the King’s choice foods. It speaks of person with authority giving an order to be fulfilled.

This word also speaks of destiny as God called or destined the whale for this task, as we see this word used to describe how people were destined (manah) for judgement (Isaiah 65:12).



1 Comment

  1. Donald Sutton says

    Interesting article. There is still some who say that a fish or whale can’t swallow a whole human being or won’t swallow a whole human being. They also report that the stomach acids in the whale, I believe they said the process through the four stomachs of a whale would dissolve a human being, so it was interesting to hear of a human being alive in a cut open whale’s stomach, but we are not told of the length of time or where in the process the person was removed from. Still a very interesting look at this again. Thank You


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