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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Whale. The Greek word translated "whale" in Matthew 12:40, A. V., means a large fish, or a sea monster. So, also, in Genesis 1:21 the word is generic. The original word representing "whale" is often translated "dragon" or "leviathan," and according to the derivation of the Hebrew, the word denotes a creature of great length, without being restricted to marine animals. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament, when correctly rendered, affirms that it was a whale which swallowed Jonah, but "a great fish." Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40. The R. V. reads the same as the A. V., but in the margin reads, "Greek, sea monster." The creature referred to is very likely to have been the white shark, which is abundantly capable of such a feat. The whale is, however, occasionally found in the Mediterranean Sea. See Jonah.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Whale'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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