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The 2 Shekel "Jonah in the whale" silver coin won the first prize in the annual international contest for the most beautiful coin with a biblical theme. The coin was up against 95 competitors. Initially it was awarded a prize in the “Best Artistic Coin" category. Then it came out on top against the nine winners of the other categories in the overall vote for the "Coin of the Year 2012". The 2 Shekel “Jonah in the whale" silver coin is issued by the Bank of Israel. It is the 15th silver coin of the "Biblical Art" coin series.
The story of Jonah, who is said to have spent 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of a whale before he was saved by his prayers, is one of the better-known Bible stories. So it is not surprising that Israel dedicated a silver coin to this story.
The “Jonah in the whale" silver coin weighs 28.8gr and is made of 925/1000 fine silver, meaning it contains slightly less than 1 ounce of silver. The diameter of this silver coin is 38.7mm. The 2 Shekel Proof Silver Coin "Jonah in the Whale" is limited to 2,800 coins.
Jonah the Prophet was commanded by the Lord to go from the Land of Israel to the city of Nineveh (thought to be Mosul in Iraq, today) to warn its people to repent for their evil ways, lest their city be destroyed. Jonah, however, chose to flee from his mission by boarding a ship bound for Tarshish (thought to be Spain, today). When a violent storm arose, the ship's crew believed that one of the passengers was responsible and cast lots to determine who it could be. The lot fell on Jonah, who admitted his guilt and was cast into the sea, which then calmed down.Meanwhile, a big fish, thought to be a whale, swallowed up Jonah into its belly, where he remained for three days and three nights. From the belly of the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord and was saved when the fish spat him out on the shore. He then understood he was destined to go to Nineveh, as he had been commanded. The King and the people of Nineveh repented and were subsequently saved.
The front of the 2 Shekel "Jonah in the whale" silver coin includes the face value in Hebrew and English, the national emblem of Israel, "Israel" in Hebrew, English and Arabic, the year of issue "2010", and the inscriptions "Jonah In The Belly of The Fish "in English, Arabic and Hebrew, and" Jonah 1:17 "
The reverse of the coin shows the praying Jonah in the belly of the fish. "thy billows and thy waves passed over me.....yet I will look again towards thy Holy Temple....".
The coin design of Jonah in the whale is inspired by the Chinese "Yin Yang" philosophy.