The Bible Doesn’t Call it a Whale

This is what happens when people who don’t read the Bible talk about or write about the Bible-

Earliest mosaic of Jonah and the whale found in Galilee synagogue


Unprecedented depictions of the biblical Jonah and the whale have been found at a fifth-century Roman synagogue in Israel’s lower Galilee. In the recently discovered mosaic, Jonah’s legs are shown dangling from the mouth of a large fish, which is being swallowed by a larger fish, which is being consumed by a third, even larger fish.

Here, let me give you a hand with the biblical text:

‎וימן יהוה דג גדול לבלע את־יונה ויהי יונה במעי הדג שׁלשׁה ימים ושׁלשׁה לילות׃

The relevant phrase is

דג גדול

‘Great fish’. That’s it. Not ‘whale’.

Might it have been a whale? Who knows. But calling it a whale is a misrepresentation of the biblical text. And that’s just not going to happen as long as I have breath.  Accordingly, here’s your well deserved Dilly-

2 thoughts on “The Bible Doesn’t Call it a Whale

  1. According to Hermon Melville in Moby Dick, whales were just another kind of fish, so calling it a fish doesn’t preclude it being a whale. It was only with Linnaeus who insisted it was a mammal that views changed.

    (I’m reading Moby Dick now.)


    • no issue with any of that except the bible says ‘big fish’. why translators and pundits and commentators and the general public have such a problem with saying what the text simply says is mystifying.


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