The Oesophagus of the whale shark and the story of Jonah

by purrpurr 13 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • purrpurr

    In the WT's literature it is often theorised that the "great fish" that swallowed Jonah was a whale shark. Indeed looking at whale sharks with their wide huge mouths it seems reasonable to think that a human could fit in there...

    ... Until that is you do any research on it. While the whales mouth is huge, it's Oesophagus however is only a few inches wide. Nowhere near big enough to fit a human! For that matter the whale shark only feeds on small fare like plankton and small fish. It has 10 filter pads to make sure it can't swallow anything big.

    It is easy to see how a primitive bronze age human could have seen one of these creatures and thought it could swollow them whole but with modern understanding we know that that isn't the case.

    ...just yet another gaping hole in the bible's stories!

  • Dissonant15


    Thank you for pointing this out, I was just wondering about this the other day!

  • maksutov
    Makes me wonder - is there any fish or marine mammal that would theoretically be capable of swallowing a man whole?
  • maksutov
    maksutov The gullet of Physeter macrocephalus is the largest among cetaceans; it is in fact the only gullet large enough to swallow a human.

    ...but that is a whale, not a 'big fish'. It is however, the critter shown in the Bible Stories book, swallowing Jonah. The whale shark, as you point out, couldn't do it due to the narrow esophagus:

    Among fish, it seems a very large Great White Shark could potentially swallow a human whole. Of course, surviving in the stomach of any creature for 3 days would be physically impossible.

  • konceptual99

    You silly, silly people with your "science" and "facts". It woz God wot dunnit. Morons.

  • prologos
    konceptual9912 hours ago

    You silly, silly people with your "science" and "facts". It woz God wot dunnit. Morons

    yeah, believe it! after all, Jesus did, and used it as a type/antitype comment. so Oesophagus? deep throat!

  • DarioKehl
    Oxygen is another issue.
  • ozbrad
    Almost as believable as losing your superpowers getting a haircut.
  • Splash

    *** w96 5/15 p. 25 Jonah Learns About Jehovah’s Mercy ***
    At that the sailors throw Jonah overboard. As he sinks into the churning sea, its raging begins to cease.

    As the water closes over Jonah, he is doubtless praying. Then he feels himself slipping along a soft channel as he slides into a larger cavity. Surprisingly, he can still breathe! Unwrapping seaweed from around his head, Jonah finds himself in a truly unique place. This is because “Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, so that Jonah came to be in the inward parts of the fish three days and three nights.”

    My Book Of Bible Stories (Chap 70)

  • Splash
    *** w93 8/15 p. 32 Did It Swallow Jonah? ***Some say, ‘Impossible! No creature in the sea could swallow a man.’ But either a sperm whale or a great white shark could. National Geographic (December 1992) offered another possibility—the whale shark. The largest known shark, it can grow to 70 feet [20 m] in length and weigh 70 tons. “The whale shark’s unusual digestive anatomy lends itself to Jonah stories. It is easy to imagine yourself being inadvertently sucked into a whale shark’s mouth, which is huge . . . The cavernous mouth of even a small adult whale shark could easily accommodate a pair of Jonahs.”

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