“For as Ionas was three dayes and three nights in the whales belly: so shal the sonne of man be three daies and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
1611 King James Version (KJV)
12:40 Three days and three nights - It was customary with the eastern nations to reckon any part of a natural day of twenty - four hours, for the whole day. Accordingly they used to say a thing was done after three or seven days, if it was done on the third or seventh day, from that which was last mentioned. Instances of this may be seen, #1Kings 20:29|; and in many other places. And as the Hebrews had no word to express a natural day, they used night and day, or day and night for it. So that to say a thing happened after three days and three nights, was with them the very same, as to say, it happened after three days, or on the third day. See #Esther 4:16|; 5:1; Gen 7:4,12; Exod 24:18; 34:28. #Jonah 2:1|.
Mt 12:40 As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly. See Jon 1:17. The great fish was probably not a whale (the Greek is "ketos", "sea monster"), but a white shark, which abounds in the Mediterranean, and is said to swallow a horse whole. The miracle was the preservation of the life of Jonah during his living burial. This was a type of the burial and resurrection of Christ. So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights. Jesus says that he will "be raised again the third day" (Mt 16:21). Hence, in Jewish usage "the third day" must mean the same as "three days and three nights". It was and is customary with the Orientals to make any part of the day stand for the whole twenty-four hours. Compare Mt 16:21 Mr 8:31 2Ch 10:5 10:12 Es 4:16 Ge 7:4,12 Ex 24:18 34:28. A traveler in the East writes: ``At length the tenth morning arrived--the tenth morning because, though we performed nominally ten days quarantine, yet it was, really, only eight days. We landed at nine o'clock in the evening of the first day, and were liberated at six o'clock in the morning of the tenth day, but it was held to be ten days according to the custom of the East.'' Christ was buried Friday evening, lay in the grave Saturday, and rose Sunday, parts of three days, rose "on the third day", and was in the grave the space of time meant in eastern usage by three days and three nights. In the heart of the earth. In the sepulcher.