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Jonah balks at God’s mercy

But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.”

The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city.

Then the Lord God provided a shrub,[a] and it grew up over Jonah, providing shade for his head and saving him from his misery. Jonah was very happy about the shrub. But God provided a worm the next day at dawn, and it attacked the shrub so that it died. Then as the sun rose God provided a dry east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint. He begged that he might die, saying, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”

God said to Jonah, “Is your anger about the shrub a good thing?”

Jonah said, “Yes, my anger is good—even to the point of death!”

10 But the Lord said, “You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. 11 Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who can’t tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

Footnotes

  1. Jonah 4:6 Botanists disagree about whether Heb qiqayon refers to a climbing gourd plant, a castor bean plant, or some other shrub.

Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.(A) He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew(B) that you are a gracious(C) and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love,(D) a God who relents(E) from sending calamity.(F) Now, Lord, take away my life,(G) for it is better for me to die(H) than to live.”(I)

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”(J)

Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided(K) a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered.(L) When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die,(M) and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”(N)

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern(O) for the great city of Nineveh,(P) in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

Footnotes

  1. Jonah 4:6 The precise identification of this plant is uncertain; also in verses 7, 9 and 10.

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