Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, February 01, 1914, PART TWO, Image 19

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    .magazine Page
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
Bulky Interior
Would Not Only
Many Human
But Would
Take in
a Small
and Bath
a Minister, on the
Lines' of "The .
er Criticism."
fine Skeleton of a Gigantic Finback Whale Mounted at the American Mu
seum of Natural History, New York.
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&lt-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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
There is not a shipmaster or a sailor who
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
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
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
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
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.