The Meaning of Jonah 2:1 Explained

Jonah 2:1

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

YLT: And Jonah prayeth unto Jehovah his God from the bowels of the fish.

Darby: And Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly;

ASV: Then Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly.

What does Jonah 2:1 Mean?

Study Notes

great fish
No miracle of Scripture has called forth so much unbelief. The issue is not between the doubter and this ancient record, but between the doubter and the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 12:39 ; Matthew 12:40 . Science, "falsely so called" 1 Timothy 6:20 failing to take account of the fact that it deals only with the outward phenomena of a fallen race, and of an earth under a curse Genesis 3:17-19 is intolerant of miracles. To faith, and to true science, miracle is what might be expected of divine love, interposing God in a physically and morally disordered universe. Romans 8:19-23 .
Four prepared things. Jonah 4:6 ; Jonah 4:7 ; Jonah 4:8
Four prepared things. Jonah 4:6 ; Jonah 4:7 ; Jonah 4:8

Verse Meaning

This is the first mention of Jonah praying (cf. Jonah 4:2). In both this verse and Jonah 4:2 the usual Hebrew word hitpallel, "to pray," appears. In Jonah 1:5 and Jonah 3:8 the Hebrew word qara", "to call," occurs. Until now Jonah had been fleeing from God and hiding from Him. Now in his great distress he finally sought the Lord. Being willing to die by drowning was one thing ( Jonah 1:12), but death by gradual digestion was something Jonah had not anticipated. We do not know how long Jonah struggled in the sea before the fish swallowed him. Perhaps that terror also contributed to his repentance. Some interpreters believe that Jonah"s repentance is a type of the repentance of the Jewish remnant that will occur prior to the beginning of the Millennium. [1]
God often has to discipline His rebellious children severely before we turn back to Him.

Context Summary

Jonah 2:1-10 - A Prayer From The Depths
The great fish was probably a shark. He who sent the storm prepared the fish. Life is full of contrivances on the part of the great Lover of men. To plunge beneath the wave is to fall into His arms. More than once the body of a man has been found in the belly of a shark in the Mediterranean. Even those who hold that this story is an elaborate parable must admit that it is probably founded on such a fact. Our Lord's endorsement of this book and incident is very emphatic, Matthew 12:39-41.
The psalm which follows is very helpful to those who have brought themselves into the depths by their wrongdoing. God will hear such out of the depths of Sheol. When you think you are cast out of His sight forever, if you will look toward His holy temple, you will find that His love is gradually extricating you from the pit. To trust in your own efforts and expedients is to regard lying vanities and to forsake your own mercy. "Salvation is of the Lord." All nature waits upon His word. The big sharks and the tiny minnows are alike at the behest of God for the help of man. Only "look again" to God, and then be sure to pay your vows when delivered! [source]

Chapter Summary: Jonah 2

1  The prayer of Jonah
10  He is delivered out of the belly of the fish

What do the individual words in Jonah 2:1 mean?

And prayed Jonah to Yahweh his God from belly of the fish
וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֣ל יוֹנָ֔ה אֶל־ יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהָ֑יו מִמְּעֵ֖י הַדָּגָֽה

וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֣ל  And  prayed 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Hitpael, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: פָּלַל 
Sense: to intervene, interpose, pray.
יוֹנָ֔ה  Jonah 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יׄונָה  
Sense: son of Amittai and a native of Gath-hepher; 5th of the minor prophets who prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II and whom God sent also to prophecy to Nineveh.
יְהוָ֖ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
אֱלֹהָ֑יו  his  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct, third person masculine singular
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
מִמְּעֵ֖י  from  belly 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: מֵעֶה  
Sense: internal organs, inward parts, bowels, intestines, belly.
הַדָּגָֽה  of  the  fish 
Parse: Article, Noun, feminine singular
Root: דָּגָה  
Sense: fish.