Jonah 2:1 “…Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly”
Looking for clues as to whether Jonah was alive in the fish or dead and speaking from Sheol. Nothing yet. His body would have been in the belly of the fish at this point even if his soul was elsewhere. But he’s had a mind change, at least the beginning of one.
2 “…cried out to the LORD because of my affliction…”
His change of circumstance has caused his mind change. Will see within the next chapters he still has the underlying problem. But at least he’s turning toward God instead of running away from Him.
2 “…Out of the belly of Sheol I cried…”
May be one of the reasons it’s thought he was actually dead. Commentary suggested the belly of the fish looked like the place of the dead. Actually being alive in the belly of the fish isn’t a problem. A miraculous occurrence isn’t a problem for God.
4 “…Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple”
The change of mind. Looking toward God instead of running away.
6 “…The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit…”
Realize this section is made up of poetic language, so a strictly detail interpretation may not work. This sounds like he knows he has died, or should have, and God is bringing him out. Commentary makes a good point. Fish could be seen as deliverance. He would have drowned in the sea, but the fact that the fish swallowed him may have kept him alive. We are told that God sent the fish to swallow him. Perhaps it was more for salvation with a tinge of tribulation instead of the punishment itself. Same could be said if Jonah actually died. Soul went to Sheol while body was secured in the fish. One commentary also made the point that the prayer may have been near the end of the three days, at a point when Jonah knew God was delivering him from the circumstance.
10 “So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.“
Sounds like as a result of Jonah’s change of heart or repentance. One commentary mentioned they thought this was done before Jonah gave the utterance of thanksgiving. Not sure how they got that, and they didn’t explain. At any rate, the fish delivered Jonah to land, he didn’t spit him out into the water, but at least close enough to shore that Jonah could walk away. No conclusion on whether Jonah was alive or dead during the time in the fish. Either way works with good points for each. One note. Jesus said as Jonah was in the fish, so will He be in the earth. Jesus wasn’t alive in the grave. Whether He meant just time or complete condition is unknown, but something to consider.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.