What Jonah finds is also what he sought when he looked for a place where God would not be. And one might show the irony of this kind of answer, which we can sometimes get too. Jonah really wanted to go where he would be separated from God and would no longer hear his word. He is now there, in hell, but it is not where he wanted to go. Yet it is the only place corresponding to his wish. Not totally so, for this hell, like the fish, serves God’s word. God is still the master there. But this does not alter the fact that for Jonah the separation is total. His prayer, however, will bring about his liberation.
—Jacques Ellul, The Judgment of Jonah, 45