Can someone point me to a OT prophecy about the Messiah being in the tomb for 3 days? As general or specific as you can think of. I think I have one, and it seems pretty obvious to me, but a lot of Bible commentators don't mention it.
Old Testament prophecies are sometimes 'thematic', by 'type' or 'metaphor' as in the case of these three days. There are various places in the Old Testament that give special meaning to three days. The gospels however only refer to the prophecy of Jonah. Christ said that Jonah would be the 'sign' that God would give the Jews, as a rebuke for their obstinacy. (Math 12:39-40). As Jonah was buried in a watery death for three days, then spit out and believed upon by Gentiles, so would Christ be buried in the belly of the earth and spit out miraculously to be believed on by the Romans and Greeks.
Beyond this single prophecy, there does seem to be more in the Bible and in rabbinic history that enshrines a three-day significance. The main idea seems to stem from Abraham arriving at Mount Moriah to sacrifice his son, on the third-day (Gen 22:4). This is another resurrection image no doubt. The idea is that Isaac was good for dead all three days until God provided a ram in his place. From this the third day, there seems to have become some concepts of a third day resurrection, further supported by Hosea 6:2. Notice though that Rabbi's often differed among themselves, just as we do with Revelation, so the three days in Hosea 6:2 was interpreted by some as 3000 years.
Despite the differing historical interpretations by the Rabbis, it cannot be denied that this three-day-theme existed before Christ. Still the bottom line is that in the New Testament Christ's reference to Jonah is enough to fully satisfy the statement that Chris was raised on the third day 'according to the scriptures' (I Cor 15:3-4) The Old Testament three day theme is mostly of supplemental interest.
For a deeper analysis on the three day theme, there is an excellent little article by Michael Brown at JewishRoots.net here.
There is also the foreshadowing in the book of Esther. When Haman maneuvered the decree to kill the Jews, it was Nissan 14 (the day Jesus was sacrificed,) Esther told the Jews to fast for three days with her before she went to the King. No food or water, a fast to the death. On the third day, she went to the king and their deliverance came.
There is another tie in with Esther in that Herod the Great died on Purim in 4 B.C shortly after commanding the murder of the innocents. Some sources say that it was done at the same time he commanded the murder of his oldest son, which was 5 days before his own death.
Purim was the day chosen by lot by Haman for the annihilation of the Jews and they continue to observe the date and celebrate God's deliverance.
The only prophecy specifically stating that Messiah would be "dead" for three days, came from Jesus himself, shortly before his passion, when he began to reveal to his disciples what was to befall him. There are many, many specific prophecies in the OT about the Messiah, but none that state how long he would be in the grave. If memory serves. Doubtless some or all of the three-day periods were foreshadowings, but that will have been all they were.
My favorite is Exodus 19 when God tells Moses be ready for the third day. FOUR TIMES in one chapter. Moses name means "to be drawn out of the water" representing all born again believers. At the end of the chapter it says (paraphrasing) "When the Lord came down, Moses went up" A picture of Christ coming down on the third 1000 year day. 2015 two days past, we are going into the third day. When he comes down we go up.