Jonah needed a time out.
Nothing else had worked to get his attention. He needed to be removed from the situation.
Parents often tell their children, “You need to stay in your room, think about what you have done, and not come out until you’re ready to apologize.”
God said to Jonah (well – He didn’t really have to “say” anything with words… the actions speak quite loudly here), “You need to stay in this big fish, think about what you have done, and not come out until you’re ready to apologize.”
That’s what Jonah chapter 2 is all about.
Jonah really has no choice.
In some ways, the appointment of the great fish is a form of God’s grace and mercy, which Jonah does acknowledge. Yet, it also a form of discipline for this rebellious and selfish prophet.
Gracious and merciful parents also have to discipline their children.
As a side note:
Was Jonah swallowed by a whale or a great fish?
In Hebrew, Jonah 1:17 literally says, “a great fish.” The word “fish” is the only word in Hebrew to describe all the animals that swim in the water. The only other classification is those with or without scales.
Funny note: the way to pronounce “fish” in Hebrew is “dog.”
So, why do some people say he was swallowed by a whale? Most likely because the King James Version of the Bible quotes Jesus in Matthew 12:40 as saying Jonah was in the belly of a “whale.” Most other translations say “great fish.”
Check out the artwork submitted by members of the church for Jonah Chapter 1