Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, February 01, 1914, PART TWO, Image 19
.magazine Page MAHA 5UNBAY it HE O 19 aV laW ff T7 aamn jr. hv BelieveThe whale wa lowed Jon a Jonah Was Not Taken into the Food Stomach But into the Air Chamber of the WhaL, Which Was Large and Commodious Enough to Servo as a Refuge, Suggests the Rev. Dr. Townsend. An Ingenious and Scientific Defense of the Famous Biblical Story This Entirely Fanciful Sketch' Is Presented to Emphasize the Fact That There Arc Whales Known to Science Whoso Bulky Interior Would Not Only Accommodate Many Human Beings, But Would Take in a Small Three-Room and Bath Apartment. by a Minister, on the Lines' of "The . er Criticism." High fine Skeleton of a Gigantic Finback Whale Mounted at the American Mu seum of Natural History, New York. By LUTHER T. TOWNSEND, LL.B. Condensed from His Artlole, "Tho Story of Jonah In tho Light of the Higher Criticism," In "The Bible Champion." THE story of Jonah Is not only dis credited, but Is regarded by some critics as qulto suitable for the amusement of children, and. Is labelled "The Pickwick' and "The Blgelow Pa pers" of tho Bible. And ono may think from tho frequency and violence of tho attacks upon tho historical integrity of this story, and from tho sport made of it, that It Is tho most vulnerable narrative In the Blblo. Not- so very long slnco , the story of Jori<-waS handled In such a. war .by -an-, eminent clergyman, who is also .a literary critic, tho Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott, as to excite "great merriment and outbursts of laughter" In. tho congregation, though such results; tho doctor afterward said, wero not Intended. But if the story, as ho as sured his hearers, "is wholly fiction," why should not just Such facetious and laugh able results have been Intended? But If, on tho other hand, this narrative Is regarded by many intelligent and schol arly people as voritablo history, then tho case Is different, and the story Is such as may demand reinvestigation. Adopting this method, It Is legitimate first of all, to bring before tho mind tho more important facts, or what are said to be facts, and then ascertain What parts of tho narrative aro credible, and what, it any, aro to be ruled against. Tho follow ing matters aro found in the record: Jonah, the son of Amlttal, was born at Cath-hepher, about eight hundred years beforo Chrict He was what is termed a Jehovah prophet, end, after prophesying concerning Israel, was sent to Nineveh, the metropolis of tho Assyrian Empire, to preach repentance to that great and wicked city. InBtead of obeying tho command he took passage ait Joppa for Tarshish, either, tho modern Tarsus in Clllcla, or elso Tar tesus in Spain; tho lattor place Is tho more probable. Tho naratlvo from this point on is so briefly and faultlessly stated that ono need attempt no pharaphrase, but may glvo the story, up to tho point of Jonah's casting into the sea, precisely as It is In tho record, ending: "Now the Lord had propared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the flsh three days and threo nights. (Chap. i. 4,17). This account is followed by what seems to be the most improbablo statement of allthat Jonah retained his consciousness and offered a prayer whilo in that loath eomo imprisonment. It is also said that the Lord heard his prayer, and that on the third day Jonah was cast by tho while upon the land. It is still turthor recorded that Jonah then went to Nlnevoh and de livered his message; that tho people re pented, Now, tho radical Bkeptlc, without giving the subjoct caroful study, -sums up the case in a single dogmatic assertion, which is this: I do not believo one word of this story. A dogmatic reply, in kind, or a clerical rebuke of some sort, will got no where and will leave tho disputants look . ing at, or making f aces.-at. each, other, A oane criticism would be, however, that the assertion of tho critic Is far too sweeping; for, unless one 16 prepared to deny the credibility of all history, some parts of this story of Jonah, On tho ground of the highest criticism, nro such that ono cannot help believing them. The first fact to be noted is that tho ago in which Jonah Is alleged to have lived was not mythical, but historical and prophetical. Jonah was contemporaneous with Obadlah, Joel, Antus and Hosea, who belonged to tho last grouping of the Old Testament prophets. He lived in the' tlmo of Jeroboam, with whom ho had great in fluence. If, therefore, Jonau is consigned to tho roalm of tho mythic?!, there Is no reason why tbeSo othor prophets, and this King, or, indeed, no reason why the Greek and Roman classical, Writers of the samo period, and oven thoso who flourished later, should not also b consigned to tho lealtas of myth. Indeed, ono can presort Just as strong reasons in support of the statement that Virgil, Danto nnd Shakes peare wero unhlstorlcal as that Jonah, tho sen of Amlttal, was such Early in the eighteenth contury too as sertion was made, not only that thero never had been suc'a a city na Nlnevoh, but oven a tradition of the city wan ques tioned. There we.e critics who did nut therefore hesltato to affirm that Nineveh, as wr.U as Jonah, was a myth. But in 1841, under the accumulations of Centuries, Nlnoveh was dlscoVsred and found to have had the extent and mag nificence as ascribed to it in tho book of Jonah. Tho excavations made by Botla, Layard, Rassam, Loftus, George Smith nnd Itawllnson traced the walls made by Sen nacherib and ropalred by Assurbanlpal and discovered inscriptions which com pletely upset tho views held by earlier critics. The facta are these: Nineveh, sup posed to have been founded by a great- The Eye IS Hurt by What It Doesn't See THE old Idea that what the eye doein't see will novcr hurt It Is completely overturned by experiments made by Sir "William Crookes during the last four years upon the effects of Invisible rays upon our organ of sight. Sir William Crookes la the inventor of the Crookes tube, which made discovery of tho X-ray possible. He finds that the light vibra tions known as the ultra violet nt the up per end of the spectrum nnd tho vibrations known ns tho infra red at the lower end of the Spectrum are posi tively ruinous to tho eyes. Tho ultra-violet rays nro so rapid that tho eye does not perceive them. The infra-red nre to slow that tho eye does not see them cither. Ilorr (he Perfect UyrcUia will Turn un ine injurious Unaccn Hny, Roth make their pre- yuiw. nVj.t c-T i-fr.lneu once felt, however, in the growth known ns cataract. The cataract indeed seenrj to bo directly caused by the irritation of the infra-red vibrations. It is really an effort to the eye to protect itself. Flattening of the cornea, astigmatism and degeneration of the cones of the retina and tho fibre of the optic nerve result from the constant bombardment. It would bo better if everybody always woro glasses which would Alter out these two forms of rays, says Sir William. It is imperative, if the eyes aro to be normal, to wear such glasses under artificial light and under any circumstances of abnormal radiation such as strong sunlight or water, on sand or on snow. The difficulty is to find a glass which will at tho same time keep out both Infra-red nnd ultra-violet rays. Thousands of various Hpeotacles wero made by adding various metallic oxides to tho constitu ents of glass. Some times four and Ave met als wero combined at a time in ono piccfo of glass. Ail tho ultra-violet rays shorter than 3700 ore harmful. Curiously enough, tho reslstenco of the glass against the imrolcal light Is less de pendant upon its color than upon tho metals used. As an example, copper nnd uranium oxide give a strong yellow glass, but such a glass is far less impervious to the infra-red rays than a mixture of nickel and praaeody mium which gives an almost colorless glass. Other metals used are cerium, chromium, cobalt, iron and maganese. grandson of Noah (Con. x. 11) two thou sand years before Christ, was, during tho reign of Sennacherib, tho capital of tho Assyrian Empire. It appears to havo boon in Its greatest glory when Jonah (800 B, C.) prophesied against It. It was stand ing several years later, when Nahum ut tered his prediction concerning the down fall of the Assyrian Empire. Nlnoveh, its capital, was besieged for two years by tho combined farces of tho Modes and Baby lonians, nnd by them was captured GOG B. C, . which was two hundred years after tho prophecy of Jonah. Excavations show that it was then de vastated by conflagrations, which de stroyed everything except its stono nnd brick. Its walla wero thrown down, and, according to prophecy, it was made unin habitable (Nahum ill. 1-7; Zeph. ii. 13-15). Jonah was commanded to denounce tho iniquity of Nlnovoh and mako known to hbr-pec-plo the God of Irlaol. Similar to tbls mission was that of Mosos when sent to Pharaoh; of Elijah, when Bent to Ahab; of Seraiah, when sent by Joreminh to Babylon. ' There woro many reasons why Jonah hesitated to go to Nlnoveh. To him, no to other Israelites, tho people of that hoath enlsh and wicked city, though clvlllzod, wero repulsive. And quite llkoly, too, tho prophet had forebodings that his mission might be attended with disappointment and even with pbrsbnal injury. Tho high est criticism lll not fail to note that tho conduct of Jonah is qulto characteristic of human nature. Moro than, ono servant of God has fled from unpleasant duties. And, as is well known, many a runaway slnco tho days of Jonah, has taken to tho sea as n way of escape. And tho critic, If familiar with tho nan soa incident to a pitching and rolling ship, nnd if also disturbed by n, troubled con science, will seo no difficulty unless de termined to do so in tho apparent willing ness of Jonah to bo thrown overboard. He was from the inland, among tho hills of Gath-hopher, nnd was consequently un accustomed to sea voyages. Nor Is there, anything, lncrodlblo in what Is said to have followed that a great fish (dahg gathol) was near the ship and solzed Jonah the moment ho struck the water. Every seafaring man knows that at soa sharks' follow ships for days, some times for weeks, and if an unfortunate man falls ovorboard he is often quickly seized and devoured. Thero are two or threo other matters that tho destructive critic is continually harping upon that may at this point bo considered, ono of which, rather coarsely put, is that God is not a bolng who "would go Into the business of creating whalos to swallow men." In tho first place tho Hebrew words, translated in tho Common Version, "pre pared a great fish," do not mean that God created a fish for the specific purpose of swallowing Jonah, but rather that God al lotted or appointed a great fish for that purpose; or, In tho Christian speech, the meaning Is that, by tho providence of God, a great flsh, already created, was brought to tho side of tho ship, or hap pened to bo there, at tho moment Jonah was thrown overboard, and, under tho circumstances, did what was perfectly natural for such a flsh to do, ewallowod Jonah. Tho unbelieving critic has also asserted that the story of Jonah is lnoredlblo bo cause tho throat of a whalo Is not large enough to swallow a man. But tho high est critism In its zoological studies has put an end, somo time since, to this ob jection that for centuries had boen kept on parade, Tho words "dahg feathol,'' translated into both the Soptuaglnt and tho Now Tos tamont by the Greek word katos, and into the Latin of tho Vulgate by the words plscem grandem, moan simply a great flsh or sea-monster. Tho word whalo, therefore, Is the translator's word, while the words dahg gathol and katos aro Uioso used by the Blblo writers. So far, therefore, as tho Hebrew and Greek words aro concerned, tho highest criticism makes it perfoctly clear that tho flsh that swallowed Jonah may have been n whale, a shark, a sea serpent, a sea Hon or any other large monster of the deep. And even If tho Skeptic Insists that In this discussion the word "whale" should be Used, still ono need not suffer embarrass ment, for, while it is true that the right v whalo has a throat of small size, tho sperm whalo has a throat sufficiently large to swallow a man without tho loast difficulty. There is not a shipmaster or a sailor who THE BIBLE NARRATIVE. 16. So they took up Jonah, and east him forth Into the lea) and the ea coaled from her raging. 1G. Than the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and mode vowt, 17. Now the Lord had prepared a great fuh,to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three day and three nhthti. Hook of Jonnh ah. . vertct 15-11. aaV n (IS A'aWaaaaK has beon on a whaling voyago who will ques tion tho following state ment made by ono of tho crow of a New Bed ford (Mass.) whalo ship, that ho, though a man of largo build, wolghlng ono hundred nnd seven ty pounds, frequently had passod through the mouth and throat of a, dead sperm whalo. Ho says ho did this after tho hoad of tho whalo had boen cut oft from tko body, and when tho Jaws nnd smallest part of the throat had been taken on deck. Then ho adds: "Although n sperm whalo is largo, u bbw-hcad whale i much larger, with n throat not only capable of swallow ing n well-built ni.'in, but in my Judgment n good sized hprwo or cow." M. P. Courbct, In tho Cosmbs (Pnris, March 7, 1805 .writ ing Concerning tho Monaco, aflor giv ing an accduut of n monster sperm whalo captured near iho Azores, Kays: "Tho discov eries of the Prlnco Of Monaca wero such .as to relievo u of all difficulty in bellovlng tho Biblo story that a whalo could swal low Jonah." In an artlclo con tributed io tho Acadomy of Sciences, M, Joubln states that "a sperm whalo easily can swnllow nni muls, taller and heavier than n mnn; . . , these animals, when swallowed, can keep alivo for some time In the cctn. ceanVstoninch nnd be past up by it nt the moment of Its death." But it has been pointed out of lato that the rjght whale need not bo excluded from sea monsters that could h a v o Bwnllowed Jonah. Professor Ray Matthews, in a SVishSicsJx- Jonah ThroWn into the SeaFrom a Painting by C. W. Kennedy. presses tho opinion that it was neither a Another advoreo criticism on the Jonah sperm nor a bow-headed whale that awal- nurratlve is that no largo sea monsters frequent tho wators of the Mediterranean. lowed Jonah, each of which has a throat largo enough to do it, but was a right whale and that Jonah was not taken Into the food-etomach, but Into tho air chamber of tho whale, which was large and commo dious enough to oerve as a refuge, We quoto the following from tho edi torial notes of Tho Blblo Student and Teacher (October., February, 1911, '12): "A largo whale may weigh as much as eight hundred men, and it requires bb much freBh air as eight hundred men re spire, and the oqulvnlcnt of the respira tions of eight hundred men for twenty minutes, that is, for four hundred respira tions of tho mon, are drawn in at one breath, through the whale's capacious mouth into its largo air chamber. Its mouth can glvo place for ten men standing upright; and as It skims along the sea It ecoops In Its food of Icily fishes and small crustaceans and other surface animal cules, which quickly enter Its stomach; but a larger object, Jonah's body, for In stance, would pass Into the air chamber. "Here Jonah might be wide awake, able to meditate on tho situation and to pray to God and to sleep over night. Dut though not very Inconvenient for Jonah, the wha'e Itself would feel discomfort and be llke y to seek relief by coughing up the prophet on dry land." Copyright, 1014, by the Star Company. Oreat Britain Rights Reserved But, as a mattor of fact, no loss authority than Cuvler calls attention to the Rorqual Muditurrunlonsla, a largo spades of whalo indlgonous to tho Mediterranean Bea. And it Is well known to thoso familiar with theso Subjects that tho waters through which a vessel sailing from Joppa to any Spanish port would pass wero fre quented in early times by a species of shark palled tho sea dog, canis carcharlas, whoso normal length at maturity, accord ing to modern works on zoology, is thirty feet. Tho noted French naturalist, Lacepede, states that these Medlteranoan sea dogs can swallow animals much larger than a man without mutilating them. In his "His tolro Des Polusons" is this statement: "Sea dogs have a lower Jaw of nearly six feet In Its semi-circular oxtont, which en ables us to understand how they can swal low vtitiro animals as largo or larger Hun ourselves," And It is a well-known fact that the voracity of sea dogs, and, Indeed, that of mahy of tho shark family, is such that they never chew their food, but swallow everything they can vJtbout chewing. . . . This, then, in brier, is the challenge of the skeptic: The retaining of one's con sciousness for the length of time alleged, nnd under such conditions as are alleged, is lncrodlblo and impossible, and thero is no power or agoncy on earth that could havo restored "a partly dlgostod man" to consciousness. In this opinion of tho rationalistic skep tlo let us Bay that we fully concur, and confess that we know of no agency on earth that could have saved tho disobe dient prophet from death in tho FOOD BTOMJVCH of a whale, provided ho wero thero threo days and nights. . . . This, then, is the ovangellcal confossion of faith: We believe tho Bible narratives and miracles because on scientific grounds they are possible; because they aro sup ported by circumstantial, monumenal and other Indisputable proofs, and because, thero were purposes of sufficient magni tude to Justify divine interposition. Wo bolievo that the Jaws of the sea monster opened and closed upon the dis obedient prophet, but God interposed and delivered him In order that the more faithfully -ho might declare the divine mes sage; that the peoplo of Nineveh might listen moro atentlveiy and obediently to what he had to say; that JonSh'8 delivor anco might bo a prophetic sign ot Christ's resurrection, and that his deliverance might also bo a prophetic sign, extending through the ages,. that God can keep his children in safety, though dead, until the morning of tho resurrection.