The Bible

Jonah 2 : Jonah in the Belly of the Whale

Study the Inner Meaning

1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

6 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.

7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 212


Other references to this story:

Arcana Coelestia 247, 756, 1691, 3880, 4728, 6726, 8278, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 191


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 220, 518, 538, 622, 750

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Samuel 12:21

1 Kings 17:4

2 Chronicles 33:12

Psalms 5:8, 22:26, 42:8, 69:2, 14, 88:6, 7, 116:1, 2, 120:1, 142:4

Isaiah 38:17, 20, 43:11

Lamentations 3:54, 55

Hosea 13:4, 14:3

Micah 1:2

Matthew 12:40

Acts of the Apostles 14:15

Hebrews 13:15

Word/Phrase Explanations

Jonah
'Jonah' represents the Jewish nation.

prayed
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

Belly
The belly (Psalms 16:4) signifies the interior understanding.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

cried
As with most common verbs, the spiritual meaning of “crying” or “crying out” (meaning a shout or wail, not weeping) is highly dependent on context....

Affliction
An affliction "such as was not from the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be", mentioned in Matte 24:21, means the infestation from...

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

Hell
'Hell,' as mentioned in Jonah 2:3, signifies the earth below.

voice
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

Passed
'Passed' or 'expired' denotes the conclusion of whatever state is being discussed.

waves
Water in the Bible represents true ideas about natural, external things – day-to-day life and physical existence. The sea represents the whole collection we have...

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

sight
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Look
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

temple
'The tabernacle' has almost the same meaning as 'temple,' that is, in the highest sense, the Lord’s divine humanity, and in a relative sense, heaven...

waters
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

soul
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

closed
There are only a couple of references in the Writings to "close" used as a verb, and both stem from Amos 9:11, which talks about...

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

Round
Something 'round' relates to good. 'A small round thing,' as in Exodus 16:14, refers to the good of truth in its first formation. This is...

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

mountains
In Isaiah 40:12 'to weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in scales,' signifies that the celestial aspects of love and charity are...

earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

Bars
Bars, as in Lamentations 2:9, signify doctrinals

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Observe
'To observe' stands for all aspects of the Word in general.

vanities
'Vanity' signifies evil and the falsity of evil. 'Vanities of strangers' signifies falsities of religion.

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

mercy
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

thanksgiving
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

vowed
In Genesis 28:20, 'he vowed a vow' denotes, in the internal sense, willing that the Lord will provide. In the highest sense, where the Lord...

salvation
'Salvation, to the Lord our God,' as in Revelation 19:1, signifies an acknowledgment and confession that salvation is from the Lord.

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

vomited
'Vomit' relates to the falsification of divine truth.

upon
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 How the Lord Saved Jonah
A retelling of the story for young children with beautiful color illustrations. 
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jonah and the Great Fish
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Jonah and the Great Fish
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah and the Great Fish (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah and the Great Fish (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Jonah and the Great Fish (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Jonah Disobeys the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah in the Great Fish
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah Swallowed by a Fish
Another way to make a 3 dimensional fish that can swallow Noah. 
Project | Ages up to 6

 Quotes: Divine Providence and Evil
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Prophet Jonah
This article shows how the Lord tried to teach Jonah to be merciful and kind when Jonah disobeyed the Lord because of his hatred toward the Assyrians. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

Commentary

Jonah Series, Part 2 – Prayer from a Desperate Place

By Rev. Todd Beiswenger


To continue browsing while you listen, play the audio in a new window.

We know that when we get in a tight spot, it is time to pray! What makes Jonah's prayer special isn't so much the prayer itself, but it is Jonah's transformation that goes with it. He's realized that his choices have only made him miserable, and he's ready to do God's will.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 458; Heaven and Hell 6; Jonah 2:1-10)


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