Did a large fish really swallow Jonah?

      Yes, a large fish (whether a whale or other huge sea creature) swallowed Jonah, a real prophet (2 Kings 14:25). Although it symbolizes Christ's resurrection on the third day (Matthew 12:39-41, 16:4, Luke 11:29-30), it is not merely a symbolic story in itself, but really took place as a symbol to the Ninevites in Jonah's day as well. Even Christ relates to the account as a true event (Matthew 12:40). As for the scientific credulity, there are fish which can swallow whole animals larger than men, such as the whale shark, white shark, and sperm whale. There are even accounts of men being swallowed by whales and surviving after several hours of ingestion. If God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, then he also provided a way for Jonah to survive for three days and three nights in its belly.

        But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: "In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave (Sheol) I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.' The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord." And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 1:17-2:10)