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Did Jonah actually die in the whale? No, there is no reason to suppose that is how the text would have been understood at the time of writing, or the time of Jesus. It is a poetic figure of speech indicating a brush with death rather than actual physical death. David uses similar language in Psalms 18 and 86 for example: 18:4The cords of death ...


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I believe that לֵֽאלֹהִ֔ים was being used as a reference to the Deity, and that the lamed is simply the normal indicator of the possessive. The Book of Jonah itself can actually go a long way to clarify what G'd's opinion of Nineveh was. The final verse of Jonah is very telling, which I reproduce here: 4:11 וַאֲנִי לֹא אָחוּס עַל נִינְוֵה הָעִיר ...



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