Jonah did not arrive at Nineveh immediately after being vomited from the mouth of the whale
One of the stories of fantasy that do not have a Biblical basis is the one I have heard more than one pastor relate. I have heard them say that when Jonah arrived at Nineveh, he arrived tattered with his skin discolored for being partially digested in the stomach of the whale, his hair dripping slobber and with a deplorable and terrifying aspect, a reason by which, according to them, impressed the Ninevites so very much. This story is an excess of fantasy without the least base in Bible or logics, as I will explain. This story is much the same as the story about the High Priests who had to enter the Most Holy Place with a rope tied to his ankle. These are all legends invented by people who want to have something “new to tell”, which legends are believed by many good brothers, and they repeat them without analyzing what was said to them. There are those who think that the Bible not only must be read, but also meditate it. That is fine, but it seems that those fantasies are the product of people who read very little the Bible, but they “meditate” too much. They should read it more and “meditate” it less.
Jonah, in order to flee from God, went to the port of Joppa, which is found on the coast of Israel, in the Mediterranean Sea, next to Tel Aviv and is currently named Jaffa. It was there that he boarded the ship; it was in that Mediterranean Sea that the whale swallowed him; and it was on the coast of that sea that the whale vomited him.
“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”
Whoever checks a map of that region would realize that Jonah, in order to go to Nineveh, could not go into the belly of a whale, because Mediterranean Sea has no connection with Nineveh. He had to reach first the Mediterranean coast, and from there head east, cross the nation of Israel and walk more than 500 miles (800 Kms.) in order to reach Nineveh.
It is logical therefore, that he bathed, dressed and rested in Israel and that it would take him a while to walk the 500 miles. At the moment in which Jonah reached Nineveh, the slobber on his hair and the supposed lesions on his skin, if he truly had them, were completely healed. This means that when Jonah arrived at Nineveh, he was a normal man in which no hints of the tragic episode he had passed through were visible. I don’t know why such nonsenses are invented. Better to say that I do know, it is for having something new to say, who knows with what purpose. It is valid to use reasoning to our interpretations, but not invent nonsenses and present them as if they were pure Biblical interpretation.
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