The Tanach [Jonah 2:2] says that Jonah was swallowed by a big dog:

וַיְמַ֤ן יְהוָה֙ דָּ֣ג גָּד֔וֹל לִבְלֹ֖עַ אֶת־יוֹנָ֑ה

and Jonah remained in the belly of the dog for three days and three nights.

וַיְהִ֤י יוֹנָה֙ בִּמְעֵ֣י הַדָּ֔ג שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה לֵילֽוֹת׃

Were dogs much bigger in biblical days, or were people much smaller?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.


Actually, according to Numbers 26:65 in Biblical days dogs were people.

ולא נותר מהם איש כי אם כלב

There was no man left from them except for a dog.

Therefore, Jonah must have been swallowed by a person. We know that it is possible for a person to swallow another person based on two Talmudic passages. In Keritot 14a we find that a person's throat can hold two olives:

ושיערו חכמים דאין בית הבליעה מחזיק יותר משני זיתים

And the Sages assessed that the throat can hold no more than two olives.

In Bava Metziah 21b we see that olives are people:

אמר רבי אבהו שאני זית הואיל וחזותו מוכיח עליו ואע"ג דנתרין זיתי מידע ידיע דוכתא דאיניש איניש הוא

R. Abahu said: "The olive is different since its appearance proves it; and even though the olive falls, its place is surely known because a man it is a man."

Thus, a human throat can hold two people. Therefore the dog – being a person – would have been able to swallow Jonah (who was only one person) with plenty of room to spare.

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  • 2
    What is a כלב? A דג is a dog! – Rafael Mar 15 '19 at 0:48
  • The third link is broken. It should be hebrewbooks.org/… – Alex Jun 2 '19 at 21:26

Hashem used the technology of the TARDIS to make the inside of the dog bigger than the outside. He also used the Star Trek replicator technology to provide food and water for the three days. When it was time for Yonah to be released, he used a transporter to put him ashore near Nineveh.

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From the creation we learn:

וירדו בדגת הים

The dogs of the seas have dominion. These are very special dogs, not like the ordinary ones that walk on land. We know that this is so because when God sought to destroy His creation He did it through a flood, which the sea-dogs wouldn't care about because they live in the sea but other dogs were affected.

These special sea-dogs, like the Levyitan, are huge, the better to assert their dominion with -- such as by swallowing up errant prophets whole. Like their lesser brethren on land who did not sound the alarm during the Exodus, the sea-dogs are kind to Yisrael; the one who swallowed Yonah did not harm him and provided him a safe place to contemplate his errors for three days.

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  • See Rashi to the passuk, and the Midrashim he cites. This certainly was not how Yonah spent his time in there. A male דג ate him at first, and it was comfortable inside. A bit too comfortable. Then Yonah was spat out into a female דג, whose stomach was decidedly not comfortable. That made him think a bit harder about what he did. – DonielF Mar 15 '19 at 1:55

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