The old Sunday School lesson says that Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spit out three days later to preach God’s message to Nineveh. So the story goes anyway. While the original text does not require the specific word whale be used, Jonah 1:17 does give that account. Historically, the event would have taken place during the reign Jeroboam II around 793 – 753 BC. The context is one of Jonah being commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh which he didn’t want to do because of his personal and national animosities to the Assyrians. Nineveh was their capital city. Jonah rebelled and went in the opposite direction by sea. God intervened and the men of the ship threw Jonah overboard into the ocean which is where the oversize critter showed up for lunch. It was during his time in the big tuna that Jonah himself repented and thus God caused the fish to vomit Jonah up onto dry land giving the prophet a second chance at obedience. Jonah did obey this time and the text tells us that after his preaching to Nineveh the city repented and accepted God’s grace. Nice story. But did it actually happen and so what?