³⁸Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
³⁹But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; ⁴⁰for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
⁴¹The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
⁴²The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
The Pharisees would not believe unless He would prove His mission by what is here called a sign, and in Luke 11:16, a sign from heaven, meaning, probably, some such celestial appearance as several of the ancient prophets gave; particularly Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and Elijah.
But he answered, An evil and adulterous generation
A spurious breed, which has degenerated from the faith and piety of their great progenitor, Abraham; or, a generation whose heart wanders from God, though they profess him to be their husband.
Such adulterers are all those who love the world, and all who seek the friendship of it.
Seeketh a sign
After all the signs they have had already, which were abundantly sufficient to have convinced them, had not their hearts been estranged from God, and consequently averse to the truth.
And there shall no sign be given to it, but [or, unless it be] the sign of the Prophet Jonas
Who was herein a type of Christ.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights, etc.
Some say that it was customary with the eastern nations to reckon any part of a natural day of twenty-four hours for the whole day. And accordingly, they used to say a thing was done after three, or seven days, etc., if it was done on the third or seventh day from that last mentioned.
Instances of this may be seen in, 1 Kings 20:29; 2 Chronicles 10:5; 10:12, and other places.
And, as the Hebrews had no word exactly answering to the Greek νυχθημερον, to signify a natural day of twenty- four hours, they used night and day, or day and night, for it.
See also Esther 4:16; 5:1; Genesis 7:4; 7:12; Exodus 24:18; 34:28.
Others (and so do I) hold on to the fact that when Jesus said three days and three nights, He meant three days and three nights, and point to the fact that the Sabbath where is spoken of, is not the weekly Sabbath, but a “special” Sabbath. The great Sabbath.
In the whale’s belly
Or, in the belly of the great fish that swallowed him.
So shall the Son of man be — in the heart of the earth
That is, in the earth; for the expression does not imply that he was to be buried in the middle of the earth, but in the earth simply.
Thus, in Ezekiel 28:2, Tyre is said to be in the heart of the sea, though it was so near the continent, that, when Alexander besieged it, he carried a causeway from the land to the city.
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