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(1) ketos (Sirach 43:25 (the Revised Version (British and American) "sea-monster"); The So of Three Children verse 57 (the Revised Version (British and American) "whale"); Matthew 12:40 (the Revised Version (British and American) "whale," margin "sea-monster"; the King James Version "whale" throughout)).

(2) tannin (Genesis 1:21 Job 7:12), "sea-monster," the King James Version "whale."

(3) tannim (Ezekiel 32:2), "monster," the English Revised Version "dragon" the King James Version "whale" the King James Version margin "dragon."

It will be seen from the above references that the word "whale" does not occur in the Revised Version (British and American) except in The So of Three Children verse 57 and Matthew 12:40. Ketos, the original word in these passages, is, according to Liddell and Scott, used by Aristotle for "whale," Aristotle using also the adjective ketodes, "cetacean"; Homer and Herodotus used ketos for any large fish or sea-monster or for a seal. It is used in Euripides of the monster to which Andromeda was exposed. In the Hebrew, in the Book of Jonah, we find dagh or daghah, the ordinary word for "fish": "And Yahweh prepared great fish to swallow up Jonah" (Jonah 1:17). Whales are found in the Mediterranean and are sometimes cast up on the shore of Palestine, but it is not likely that the ancient Greeks or Hebrews were very familiar with them, and it is by no means certain that whale is referred to, either in the original Jonah story or in the New Testament reference to it. If any particular animal is meant, it is more likely a shark. Sharks are much more familiar objects in the Mediterranean than whales, and some of them are of large size.


In Genesis 1:21, "And God created the great seamonsters" (the King James Version, "whales"), and Job 7:12,

"Am I a sea, or a sea-monster (the King James Version "whale"),

That thou settest a watch over me?"

The Hebrew has tannin, which word occurs 14 times in the Old Testament and in the American Standard Revised Version is translated "monster," "sea-monster," or "serpent," and, exceptionally, in Lamentations 4:3, "jackals." the King James Version renders in several passages "dragon" (compare Ezekiel 29:3 the English Revised Version).

Tannim in Ezekiel 29:3 and 32:2 is believed to stand for tannin. the American Standard Revised Version has "monster," the English Revised Version "dragon," the King James Version "whale," the King James Version margin "dragon," in Ezekiel 32:2, and "dragon" in 29:3. Tannim occurs in 11 other passages, where it is considered to be the plural of tan, and in the Revised Version (British and American) is translated "jackals," in the King James Version "dragons" (Job 30:29 Psalm 44:19 Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 43:20 Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22; Jeremiah 14:6; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 51:37). In Malachi 1:3 we find the feminine plural tannoth.


Alfred Ely Day

2785. ketos -- a huge fish
... Noun, Neuter Transliteration: ketos Phonetic Spelling: (kay'-tos) Short Definition:
a sea monster, huge fish Definition: a sea monster, huge sea fish, whale. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2785.htm - 6k
Strong's Hebrew
8577. tannin -- serpent, dragon, sea monster
... monsters (3), serpent (3), serpents (2). dragon, sea-monster, serpent,
whale. Or tanniym (Ezek. 29:3) {tan-neem'}; intensive from ...
/hebrew/8577.htm - 6k

8565. tan -- a jackal
... Word Origin from an unused word Definition a jackal NASB Word Usage jackals
(14). dragon, whale. From an unused root probably meaning ...
/hebrew/8565.htm - 6k


The Story of Jonah and the Whale
... THE STORY OF JONAH AND THE WHALE. At this time another prophet, named Jonah, was
giving the word of the Lord to the Israelites. To Jonah the Lord spoke, saying: ...
/.../marshall/the wonder book of bible stories/the story of jonah and.htm

"Am Ia Sea, or a Whale?"
... "Am Ia Sea, or a Whale?". A Sermon (No.2206). ... On Thursday Evening, May 7th, 1891.
"Am Ia sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?""Job 7:12. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 37 1891/am i a sea or.htm

On the History of Jonah.
... For it seems that the whale signifies Time, which never stands still, but is always
going on, and consumes the things which are made by long and shorter ...
/.../methodius/the writings of methodius fragments/on the history of jonah.htm

Note what Jesus Says.
... They don't believe, in the swallowing of Jonah. They say it is impossible
that a whale could swallow Jonah"its throat is too small. ...
/.../moody/moodys anecdotes and illustrations/note what jesus says.htm

Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
... to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead"Romans 1:4]: 40 For as Jonah
was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the ...
/.../mcgarvey/the four-fold gospel/xlix sign seekers and the.htm

The Historicity of the Book of Jonah.
... For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the
Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew ...
/.../viii the historicity of the.htm

On the Physical Basis of Life.
... Or, turning to the other half of the world of life, picture to yourselves the great
Finner whale, hugest of beasts that live, or have lived, disporting his ...
/.../huxley/lay sermons addresses and reviews/vii on the physical basis.htm

The Answer of Jesus to their Request.
... For if, as Jonah passed three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so the
Son of man did in the heart of the earth, and after this rose up from it ...
/.../origen/origens commentary on the gospel of matthew/3 the answer of jesus.htm

God Showed Himself, by the Fall of Man, as Patient, Benign ...
... For as He patiently suffered Jonah to be swallowed by the whale, not that he should
be swallowed up and perish altogether, but that, having been cast out again ...
/.../irenaeus/against heresies/chapter xx god showed himself by.htm

The Remarkable Faith of the Ninevites is Related to have Been ...
... lot fell upon Jonah, he was cast into the sea, to be, as it were, a sacrifice for
stilling the tempest, and he was seized and swallowed by a whale"a monster ...
/.../life and writings of sulpitius severus /chapter xlviii the remarkable faith.htm

Smith's Bible Dictionary

As to the signification of the Hebrew terms tan and tannin , variously rendered in the Authorized Version by "dragon," "whale," "serpent," "sea-monster" see DRAGON. It remains for us in this article to consider the transaction recorded in the book of Jonah, of that prophet having been swallowed up by some great fish" which in (Matthew 12:40) is called cetos (ketos), rendered in our version by "whale." In the first glace, it is necessary to observe that the Greek word cetos , used by St. Matthew is not restricted in its meaning to "a whale," or any Cetacean ; like the Latin cete or cetus , it may denote any sea-monster, either "a whale," Or "a shark," or "a seal," or "a tunny of enormous size." Although two or three species of whale are found in the Mediterranean Sea, yet the "great fish" that swallowed the prophet cannot properly be identified with any Cetacean , for, although the sperm whale has a gullet sufficiently large to admit the body of a man, yet, it can hardly be the fish intended, as the natural food of Cetaceans consists of small animals,such as medusae and crustacea. The only fish, then, capable of swallowing a man would be a large specimen of the white shark (Carcharias vulgaris), that dreaded enemy of sailors, and the most voracious of the family of Squalidae . This shark, which sometimes attains the length of thirty feet, is quite able to swallow a man whole. The whole body of a man in armor has been found in the stomach of a white shark: and Captain King, in his survey of Australia, says he had caught one which could have swallowed a man with the greatest ease. Blumenbach mentions that a whole horse has' been found in a shark, and Captain Basil Hall reports the taking of one in which, besides other things, he found the whole skin of a buffalo which a short time before had been thrown overboard from his ship (p. 27). The white shark is not uncommon in the Mediterranean.

Scripture Alphabet Of Animals

The whale is mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1:21. " And God created great whales." Some suppose that large fish of every kind are here meant.

An animal called the leviathan is described in one of the last chapters of Job, which some suppose to be the whale. It certainly means a large and strong animal, as you will see by the questions asked about him: " Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put a hook in his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? When he raiseth himself up, the mighty are afraid. The arrow cannot make him flee; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear; he maketh the deep to boil like a pot; one would think the deep to be hoary." This is like the whale in some things; but you will remember that it is not certain that he is meant.

The common whale for which so many sailors are always seeking on the great ocean, is an enormous animal. It is often found seventy feet long; and it is said that they have been found of the length of a hundred feet. If you do not know how long this would be, you will do well to ask some friend to tell you of a building or something else with which you can compare it; for it is not very likely that you will ever see the whale itself, and its size is very wonderful. It is covered with a coat of fat, sometimes more than a yard thick; and when this is cut up and put over fires in great kettles, a hundred barrels of oil are sometimes obtained from a single whale.

Perhaps you already know how they take the whale. As soon as the sailors see one, they go towards him in a boat until they get as near to him as they dare. Then they throw their harpoons at him; these are sharp-pointed irons, fastened to a very long rope, one end of which they keep in the boat. As soon as the whale is wounded, he dives down into the water, and swims away to some distance. He is usually obliged to come up again in about half an hour to breathe, for he cannot live all the while under water; and then the men throw other harpoons at him. Sometimes he comes so near as to upset the boat with a blow of his strong tail. The picture shows you a scene of this kind, where the boat was tossed into the air, the men thrown out, and one of them drowned.

ATS Bible Dictionary

The largest known inhabitant of the sea, Job 7:12, put by our translators for a Hebrew word including all the huge marine monsters, as in Genesis 1:21. In Ezekiel 32:2, referring to Egypt and the Nile, it doubtless means the crocodile; as also in Psalm 74:13; Isaiah 27:1; 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3, where it is translated "dragon." The "great fish" that swallowed Jonah cannot be named with certainty. The Greek word in Matthew 12:40 being also indeterminate. Whales, however, were anciently found in the Mediterranean, and sharks of the largest size.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
The Hebrew word tan (plural, tannin) is so rendered in Job 7:12 (A.V.; but R.V., "sea-monster"). It is rendered by "dragons" in Deuteronomy 32:33; Psalm 91:13; Jeremiah 51:34; Psalm 74:13 (marg., "whales;" and marg. of R.V., "sea-monsters"); Isaiah 27:1; and "serpent" in Exodus 7:9 (R.V. marg., "any large reptile, " and so in ver. 10, 12). The words of Job (7:12), uttered in bitter irony, where he asks, "Am I a sea or a whale?" simply mean, "Have I a wild, untamable nature, like the waves of the sea, which must be confined and held within bounds, that they cannot pass?" "The serpent of the sea, which was but the wild, stormy sea itself, wound itself around the land, and threatened to swallow it up...Job inquires if he must be watched and plagued like this monster, lest he throw the world into disorder" (Davidson's Job).

The whale tribe are included under the general Hebrew name tannin (Genesis 1:21; Lamentations 4:3). "Even the sea-monsters [tanninim] draw out the breast." The whale brings forth its young alive, and suckles them.

It is to be noticed of the story of Jonah's being "three days and three nights in the whale's belly," as recorded in Matthew 12:40, that here the Gr. ketos means properly any kind of sea-monster of the shark or the whale tribe, and that in the book of Jonah (1:17) it is only said that "a great fish" was prepared to swallow Jonah. This fish may have been, therefore, some great shark. The white shark is known to frequent the Mediterranean Sea, and is sometimes found 30 feet in length.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(n.) Any aquatic mammal of the order Cetacea, especially any one of the large species, some of which become nearly one hundred feet long. Whales are hunted chiefly for their oil and baleen, or whalebone.
Whale (2 Occurrences)
... The words of Job (7:12), uttered in bitter irony, where he asks, "Am Ia sea or a
whale?" simply mean, "Have Ia wild, untamable nature, like the waves of the sea ...
/w/whale.htm - 13k

Whale's (1 Occurrence)
... Multi-Version Concordance Whale's (1 Occurrence). Matthew 12:40 For as
Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly ...
/w/whale's.htm - 6k

Leviathan (5 Occurrences)
... of light; in 41:1 the crocodile is meant; in Psalm 104:26 it "denotes any large
animal that moves by writhing or wriggling the body, the whale, the monsters of ...
/l/leviathan.htm - 10k

... whales," Septuagint (ta kete), "sea-monsters," "huge fish," or "whales." Job 7:12
(tannin), "sea-monster" the King James Version "whale," the Septuagint drakon ...
/s/seamonster.htm - 8k

Sea-monster (1 Occurrence)
... whales," Septuagint (ta kete), "sea-monsters," "huge fish," or "whales." Job 7:12
(tannin), "sea-monster" the King James Version "whale," the Septuagint drakon ...
/s/sea-monster.htm - 8k

Blow (124 Occurrences)
... 10. (vi) To sound on being blown into, as a trumpet. 11. (vi) To spout water, etc.,
from the blowholes, as a whale. 12. ... 26. (n.) The spouting of a whale. 27. ...
/b/blow.htm - 42k

Fish (66 Occurrences)
... 2. Jonah's Fish: An unusually large shark might fulfill the conditions of Jonah's
fish (dagh, daghah; but Matthew 12:40, ketos, "whale" or "sea monster"). ...
/f/fish.htm - 38k

What (14976 Occurrences)

/w/what.htm - 8k

Dragon (20 Occurrences)
... 29:3. In the New Testament the word "dragon" is found only in Revelation 12:3, 4,
7, 9, 16, 17, etc., and is there used metaphorically of "Satan." (see WHALE.). ...
/d/dragon.htm - 56k

... Fallow Deer, Red Deer (sv DEER) (3) Camelidae, Camel PROBOSCIDEA: Elephant HYRACOIDEA:
Coney SIRENIA: Dugong (sv BADGER) CETACNA: Whale, Dolphin, Porpoise ...
/z/zoology.htm - 18k

Bible Concordance
Whale (2 Occurrences)

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Job 7:12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?



Whale: Called a "Sea Monster" in the RV

Whale: Created

Related Terms

Whale's (1 Occurrence)

Leviathan (5 Occurrences)


Sea-monster (1 Occurrence)

Blow (124 Occurrences)

Fish (66 Occurrences)

What (14976 Occurrences)

Dragon (20 Occurrences)


Killer (1 Occurrence)

Nights (27 Occurrences)

Oil (281 Occurrences)

Jackal (3 Occurrences)

Jonas (11 Occurrences)

Lash (2 Occurrences)

Whales (1 Occurrence)

We've (2 Occurrences)

Fouledst (1 Occurrence)

Footing (3 Occurrences)

Disturb (12 Occurrences)

Blower (1 Occurrence)

Belly (62 Occurrences)

Badger (9 Occurrences)

Bull (114 Occurrences)

Breach (55 Occurrences)

Calf (39 Occurrences)

Settest (13 Occurrences)

Spur (3 Occurrences)

Spade (5 Occurrences)

Slice (4 Occurrences)

Camest (27 Occurrences)

Deluge (17 Occurrences)

Noah (55 Occurrences)

Hump (1 Occurrence)

Huge (19 Occurrences)

Render (95 Occurrences)

Jonah (30 Occurrences)

Heart (1223 Occurrences)

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