Then said the Lord, thou hast had pity on the gourd
Or, "hast spared it" F3; that is, would have spared it, had it lain in his power, though but a weeds and worthless thing: for the which thou hast not laboured;
in digging the ground, and by sowing or planting it; it being raised up at once by the Lord himself, and not by any, human art and industry; nor by any of his: neither madest it grow;
by dunging the earth about it, or by watering and pruning it: which came up in a night, and perished in a night;
not in the same night; for it sprung up one night, continued a whole any, and then perished the next night. The Targum is more explicit,
``which was in this (or one) night, and perished in another night;''by all which the Lord suggests to Jonah the vast difference between the gourd he would have spared, and for the loss of which he was so angry, and the city of Nineveh the Lord spared, which so highly displeased him; the one was but an herb, a plant, the other a great city; that a single plant, but the city consisted of thousands of persons; the plant was not the effect of his toil and labour, but the inhabitants of this city were the works of God's hands. In the building of this city, according to historians F4 a million and a half of men were employed eight years together; the plant was liken mushroom, it sprung up in a night, and perished in one; whereas this was a very ancient city, that had stood ever since the days of Nimrod.
F3 (tox) "pepercisiti", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Burkius; "pepercisses", Piscator.
F4 Eustathius in Dionys. Perieg. p. 125.