Now, the Lord had prepared a huge sea-monster to punish Jonah. Neither the Hebrew nor the English version of the Bible calls this monster a whale. It swallowed Jonah, and for three days he remained in darkness, imprisoned within the body of the “great fish.”
Doubtless, when cast overboard, Jonah had expected death. The strange respite granted him, the fact that he was still alive, constituted a deep religious experience. A revolution occurred within his mind; he recognized and worshipped the full power of God. The prayer which the repentant prophet uttered amid the darkness and terror of his hideous prison, was not of lamentation, but of thanks. He describes what his awful position had been in the sea, “The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
“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.”
So Jonah praised God, and promised submission and obedience. Then, at once, “the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”
by Julius A. Bewer; Charles F. Horne