Jonah’s Prayer. 1But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.a 2Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, from the belly of the fish:
3* Out of my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me;
From the womb of Sheol* I cried for help,
and you heard my voice.b
4You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea,
and the flood enveloped me;
All your breakers and your billows
passed over me.c
5Then I said, “I am banished from your sight!
How will I again look upon your holy temple?”d
6The waters surged around me up to my neck;
the deep enveloped me;
seaweed wrapped around my head.e
7I went down to the roots of the mountains;
to the land whose bars closed behind me forever,
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O LORD, my God.f
8When I became faint,
I remembered the LORD;
My prayer came to you
in your holy temple.g
9Those who worship worthless idols
abandon their hope for mercy.h
10But I, with thankful voice,
will sacrifice to you;
What I have vowed I will pay:
deliverance is from the LORD.i
11Then the LORD commanded the fish to vomit Jonah upon dry land.
* [2:3–10] These verses, which may have originally been an independent composition, are a typical example of a song of thanksgiving, a common psalm genre (e.g., Ps 116; Is 38:9–20). Such a song is relevant here, since Jonah has not drowned, and the imagery of vv. 4, 6 is appropriate.
* [2:3] Sheol: c.f. note on Ps 6:6.
a. [2:1] Mt 12:40; 16:4; Lk 11:30; 1 Cor 15:4.