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» Man Survives Ordeal in Whale’s Mouth

But he was never in any danger of being swallowed.

A dive tour operator in South Africa ended up in the mouth of a Bryde’s whale last month while he was out photographing sardines. The good news: he wasn’t swallowed because Bryde’s (pronounced Broo-dahs) whales have too small a throat and don’t go for meals as large as a man. They are batch feeders, preferring schools of small fish, such as sardines.

Rainer Schimpf, 51, was in the water along with a school of sardines when he suddenly felt his world go dark. He realized then he was in a whale’s mouth and expected to be pulled down. "I held my breath," he said. "I mean there was no other thing I could do. I mean, you can't fight a 15-ton animal."

The whale probably didn’t like the encounter with Schimpf any more than the dive tour operator did. He spit out the man within a couple of seconds. A photographer, Heinze Toperczer, was able to capture the event from a nearby boat (see linked article).

Bryde’s whales live in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Because they stay out of polar regions, they aren’t widely hunted by whalers. They range in size from 43 to 45 feet in length. Although their throats are too small to swallow humans, they are known to accidentally swallow small birds.

The only whale with a throat large enough for swallowing a human is the sperm whale. There are no reliable reports though of a sperm whale doing this despite a story from the early 1900s about a sailor surviving for 36 hours in a sperm whale’s stomach, a tale proven to be false.

Comment: As the writer of this story mentions, Schimpf’s experience not surprising brings to mind the account of Jonah in the Old Testament. To her credit, writer Pappas doesn’t make fun of Jonah’s story.

Just to set the record straight, the Bible doesn’t say Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The King James Version translation of Matthew 12:40a (“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly”) is considered by most Bible scholars to be a bad translation. The Evangelical Heritage Version translates Matthew 12:40a as “For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights.”  Even the King James translates the original reference to this sea creature in the book of Jonah as a “great fish” (Jonah 1:17). 

But, just to satisfy our curious minds, what could have been the great fish which swallowed Jonah? According to Answers in Genesis, the great fish in Jonah’s day could have been any large sea creature. So, it could have been a sperm whale. Or it could have been a whale shark. Or it could have been a sea creature which is now extinct. Or it could have been a special one-of-a-kind sea animal created by God just for this one event.

Obviously, the nature of the sea creature doesn’t matter. It is a fact that Jonah was swallowed and survived for three days inside some kind of sea animal. It is important that Jesus used this incident to talk about his own approaching trial. “For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, EHV). Thus, Jesus is saying, in effect, that if Jonah didn’t spend three days and nights inside a huge fish, neither would He be in a tomb for three days.

But why did Jesus spend three days inside a tomb? It was to show He had died for our sins and to rise again to prove He had conquered sin and death. Now we who believe in Jesus as our Savior can expect to meet Him in heaven and probably also meet Jonah there.

Reference: Stephanie Pappas, “What a Fluke! Man Ends Up in Whale's Mouth,” Live Science [March 12, 2019]  (Photo of Bryde’s whale from Wikipedia, by Sophie Webb and NOAA.)


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Do most adults sit too much?

A study of 5,900 adults, which involved examining their levels of physical activity, made some disturbing discoveries. One in four adults sit for more than eight hours a day and 40% engage in no moderate or vigorous physical activity in a typical week. Too little physical activity has been linked to various cardiometabolic and musculoskeletal problems. At least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous activity a week is recommended.

Source: “News Briefs,” Men’s Health Advisor [February, 2019], page 2.


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About Me--Warren Krug
Decades ago I attended a so-called Lutheran university where I could have lost my faith. The science professors promoted the theory of evolution and made fun of anybody who believed in the account of creation as presented in the book of Genesis. Thanks be to God, some creationist literature and the Bible soon helped get me back on the right track. Ever since then I have taken an active interest in the creation/evolution controversy.

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