Jonah 2:2 “And he said:
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,
And He answered me.
“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.”
Verses 2-9 are a prayer. It is a verbatim prayer of Jonah for delivering him from the belly of the great fish.
And he said:
Jonah now prayed to Jehovah in his desperation.
I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,
This passage shows a change of pace from the rebellious attitude of Jonah in chapter one to an appeal to God’s grace.
And He answered me.
God answered Jonah’s prayer with a miraculous provision of the fish. God must have had a great purpose for Jonah’s life since He provided the fish.
Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
“Sheol” is equivalent to the word Hades in the New Testament. It is the place of departed spirits. We can translate “Sheol” as grave in this verse. The belly of the fish was a grave. Apparently Jonah died.
And You heard my voice.
God delivered Jonah from the belly of the fish. The emphasis in this verse is upon what God did.
God has a purpose for us as long as we are still alive.
God has a purpose for us as long as we are alive. God may have to discipline us but He still has a purpose for us.
What is Sheol? Sheol is not the same as Hell. Both Sheol and Hades are temporary hells and will be dumped into the Lake of Fire, the permanent Hell.
Re 20:14 “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
Sheol is not a place where souls sleep. The rich man saw Lazarus afar off (Lu 16). He also saw Abraham and he talked to both of them.
Sheol is divided into two separate compartments: 1) Paradise (the residence for believers) and 2) the place for the lost (Lu 16:25).
Sheol can mean simply the grave. It was used this way of the death of Christ.
Ps 16:10 “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
Ac 2:29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.”
After the resurrection, Jesus brought captives of Hades out from that temporary abode into the permanent presence of God. The Lord evacuated the believing division of Sheol. The lost will remain there until it is dumped into the Lake of Fire.