hwal: (1) ketos (Sirach 43:25 (the Revised Version (British and American) "sea-monster"); The Song of Three Children verse 57 (the Revised Version (British and American) "whale"); Mt 12:40 (the Revised Version (British and American) "whale," margin "sea-monster"; the King James Version "whale" throughout)). (2) tannin (Ge 1:21; Job 7:12), "sea-monster," the King James Version "whale." (3) tannim (Eze 32:2), "monster," the English Revised Version "dragon" the King James Version "whale" the King James Version margin "dragon."
It will be seen from the above references that the word "whale" does not occur in the Revised Version (British and American) except in The Song of Three Children verse 57 and Mt 12:40. Ketos, the original word in these passages, is, according to Liddell and Scott, used by Aristotle for "whale," Aristotle using also the adjective ketodes, "cetacean"; Homer and Herodotus used ketos for any large fish or sea-monster or for a seal. It is used in Euripides of the monster to which Andromeda was exposed. In the Hebrew, in the Book of Jonah, we find dagh or daghah, the ordinary word for "fish": "And Yahweh prepared great fish to swallow up Jonah" (Jon 1:17). Whales are found in the Mediterranean and are sometimes cast up on the shore of Palestine, but it is not likely that the ancient Greeks or Hebrews were very familiar with them, and it is by no means certain that whale is referred to, either in the original Jonah story or in the New Testament reference to it. If any particular animal is meant, it is more likely a shark. Sharks are much more familiar objects in the Mediterranean than whales, and some of them are of large size.
In Ge 1:21, "And God created the great seamonsters" (the King James Version, "whales"), and Job 7:12,
"Am I a sea, or a sea-monster (the King James Version "whale"),
That thou settest a watch over me?"
The Hebrew has tannin, which word occurs 14 times in the Old Testament and in the American Standard Revised Version is translated "monster," "sea-monster," or "serpent," and, exceptionally, in La 4:3, "jackals." the King James Version renders in several passages "dragon" (compare Eze 29:3 the English Revised Version).
Tannim in Eze 29:3 and Eze 32:2 is believed to stand for tannin. the American Standard Revised Version has "monster," the English Revised Version "dragon," the King James Version "whale," the King James Version margin "dragon," in Eze 32:2, and "dragon" in Eze 29:3. Tannim occurs in 11 other passages, where it is considered to be the plural of tan, and in the Revised Version (British and American) is translated "jackals," in the King James Version "dragons" (Job 30:29; Ps 44:19; Isa 13:22; 34:13; 35:7; 43:20; Jer 9:11; 10:22; 14:6; 49:33; 51:37). In Mal 1:3 we find the feminine plural tannoth.
Alfred Ely Day