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The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:5 the soul. The “soul” (Hebrew nephesh) of Jonah was inundated, as well as his body. This suggests that he actually died by drowning, even before the great “fish” swallowed him. Jonah later said: “My soul fainted within me” (Jonah 2:7), indicating that he at least had lost consciousness. Nevertheless, he then “remembered the LORD” and prayed, his prayer ascending even to God.

2:5 weeds. The seaweeds on the ocean floor evidently had also surrounded his body before the fish swallowed him. He actually “went down to the bottoms of the mountains” (Jonah 2:6).

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