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This change of plans made Jonah very angry. He complained to the Lord about it: “This is exactly what I thought you’d do, Lord, when I was there in my own country and you first told me to come here. That’s why I ran away to Tarshish. For I knew you were a gracious God, merciful, slow to get angry, and full of kindness; I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people.

“Please kill me, Lord; I’d rather be dead than alive when nothing that I told them happens.[a]

Then the Lord said, “Is it right to be angry about this?”

So Jonah went out and sat sulking[b] on the east side of the city, and he made a leafy shelter to shade him as he waited there to see if anything would happen to the city. And when the leaves of the shelter withered in the heat, the Lord arranged for a vine to grow up quickly and spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head to shade him. This made him comfortable and very grateful.

But God also prepared a worm! The next morning the worm ate through the stem of the plant, so that it withered away and died.

Then when the sun was hot, God ordered a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah, and the sun beat down upon his head until he grew faint and wished to die. For he said, “Death is better than this!”

And God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah said, “it is; it is right for me to be angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry for yourself when your shelter is destroyed, though you did no work to put it there, and it is, at best, short-lived. 11 And why shouldn’t I feel sorry for a great city like Nineveh with its 120,000 people in utter spiritual darkness[c] and all its cattle?”


  1. Jonah 4:3 when nothing that I told them happens, implied.
  2. Jonah 4:5 sat sulking, implied.
  3. Jonah 4:11 with its 120,000 people in utter spiritual darkness, or “with its 120,000 children who don’t know their right hands from their left.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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