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Matthew 12:40

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
De Trin., iv. 6: For that the three days were not three full and entire days, Scripture witnesses; the first day is reckoned because the latter end of itcomes in; and the third day is likewise reckoned, because the first part of itis included; while the day between, that is the second day, appears in all its twenty-four hours, twelve of the night and twelve of the day. For the succeeding night up to the dawn when the Lord’s resurrection was made known, belongs to the third day. For as the first days of creation were, because of man's coming fall, computed from morning to night; so these days are because of man's restoration computed from night to morning. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
The Savior pointed out that Jonah the prophet, who having been tossed into the sea was caught in the belly of the whale and emerged on the third day, prefigured the Son of Man who would suffer and rise on the third day. The Jewish people were censured in comparison with the Ninevites, for the Ninevites, to whom Jonah the prophet had been sent by way of reproof, placated God’s wrath by repenting and gained his mercy. “And behold,” he said, “something greater than Jonah is here,” the Lord Jesus implying himself. The Ninevites heard the servant and amended their ways; the Jews heard the Lord and not only did they not amend their ways but moreover they killed him. .. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
In the whale's belly. The word signifies a great fish, and was not perhaps that which we commonly call a whale. In the prophet Jonas, it is called, a great fish. Three days and three nights; not three whole days and three nights, but part of three natural days, from which, in common computation, the nights used not to be separated. We have an instance of this, Esther iv. 16, where the Jews were ordered to fast with her three days, and three nights: and yet (Chap. v, ver. 1) Esther, after part of three days, went to the king. In the heart of the earth: by which is signified, Christ's descent into hell; as St. Paul says (Ephesians iv. 9.) that he descended into the inferior parts of the earth, and this cannot be understood of the grave only. (Witham) Jesus Christ expired on the cross about the ninth hour, or 3 p.m. when the general and supernatural darkness that covered the earth, may be counted for the first night, and the light which again appeared, for the term of the first day. (B...

Jerome

AD 420
Excellently is that said, “and adulterous,” seeing she has put away her husband, and, according to Ezekiel, has joined herself to many lovers. Not that He remained three whole days and three nights in hell, but that thisbe understood to imply a part of the preparation day, and of the Lord’s day, and the whole sabbath day. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Hom., xliii: Because the Lord had so oft repressed the shameless tongue of the Pharisees by His sayings, they now turn to His works, whereat the Evangelist wondering, says, “Then certain of the Scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign of thee;” and that at a time when they should have been moved, when they should have wondered, and been dumb with astonishment; yet even at such time they desist not from their malice. For they say, “We would see a sign of thee,” that they may take Him as in a snare. Either they would have fire from heaven as Elias did; or after the example of Samuel they would that in summer-time, contrary to the nature of the climate, thunder should be heard, lightning gleam, and rain descend; as though they could not have spoken falsely even against such miracles, and said that they befel by reason of divers hidden motions in the air. For if thou cavil lest against what thou not only beholdest with thine eyes, but feelest with thine hand, and...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Thus, He said not indeed openly that He should rise again, since they would have even laughed Him to scorn, but He intimated it in such manner, that they might believe Him to have foreknown it. For as to their being aware of it, they say to Pilate, That deceiver said, these are their words, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again; and yet we know His disciples were ignorant of this; even as they had been beforehand more void of understanding than these: wherefore also these became self-condemned. But see how exactly He expresses it, even though in a dark saying. For He said not, In the earth, but, In the heart of the earth; that He might designate His very sepulchre, and that no one might suspect a mere semblance. And for this intent too did He allow three days, that the fact of His death might be believed. For not by the cross only does He make it certain, and by the sight of all men, but also by the time of those days. For to the resurrection indeed all succeedi...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
He shows that the Jews were as criminal as the Ninevites, and that unless they repented they would be destroyed. But like as punishment was denounced against the Ninevites, and at the same time a remedy was set before them, so neither should the Jews despair of pardon, if at least after Christ’s resurrection they should do penitence. For Jonah, that is The Dove, or The mourner, is a sign of Him on whom the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a Dove, and “who bare our sorrows.” The fish which swallowed Jonas in the sea, hews forth the death which Christ suffered in the world. Three days and nights was the one in the whale’s belly, the other in the tomb; the one was cast up on dry land, the other arose in glory. So that not even by taking in those six hours, three of darkness, and three of restored light, can we establish the computation of three days and three nights. It remains therefore that we find the explanation in that usual manner of Scripture of putting a part for the whole. ...

Theodore the Stratelates

AD 319
Christ says he will spend “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” He is referring to the end of Friday, all of Saturday and the beginning of Sunday [of the passion week], in keeping with the way people understood the beginning and ending of days. For we too commemorate the third day of those who have died, not when three days and three nights, completed in equal measure, have gone by. But we reckon as a single, complete day that day on which the person died, regardless of what hour the death occurred. We count as another day that on which we take our leave of the departed in hymns before the tombs. Following this same kind of sequence, then, the Lord announced that he would spend a full three days and nights under the earth. A clear indication of this is the fact that the women arrived at that very time, in order to fulfill those things that the law prescribed to be done for the dead upon the third day. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
He calls them an evil generation as they were deceiving tempters, and adulterous, because they had abandoned God and followed after demons. He calls His Resurrection a sign as it is marvelous beyond belief. For having descended into the heart of the earth, the nethermost part, which is hades, He arose on the third day. The three days and three nights you must understand as spoken of in part and not in their entirety. For He died on Friday, which is one day. He was dead on Saturday — behold, the second day. And the night of Sunday held Him still dead. The three days and nights, then, are counted by parts, in just the same way as we often count them ourselves. ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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