Jonah 4:1-10

Jonah’s Anger at the LORD’s Compassion

1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.
2 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 that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 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.
6 Then the LORD God provided 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.
7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered.
8 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, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “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.

Jonah 4:1-10 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO JONAH 4

This chapter gives us an account of Jonah's displeasure at the repentance of the Ninevites, and at the Lord's showing mercy unto them, Jon 4:1; the angry prayer of Jonah upon it, Jon 4:2,3; the Lord's gentle reproof of him for it, Jon 4:4; his conduct upon that, Jon 4:5; the gourd prepared for him; its rise, usefulness, and destruction, which raised different passions in Jonah, Jon 4:6-8; the improvement the Lord made of this to rebuke Jonah, for his displicency at the mercy he showed to the Ninevites, and to convict him of his folly, Jon 4:9-11.

Jonah 4:1-10 In-Context

1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.
2 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 that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 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.
6 Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant 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.
7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered.
8 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, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “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 for the great city of Nineveh, 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?”

Cross References 14

  • 1. ver 4; Matthew 20:11; Luke 15:28
  • 2. Jeremiah 20:7-8
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 4:31; Psalms 103:8
  • 4. S Exodus 22:27; Exodus 34:6; Psalms 86:5,15
  • 5. S Numbers 14:18
  • 6. S Joel 2:13
  • 7. S Numbers 11:15; 1 Kings 19:4
  • 8. S Job 7:15
  • 9. Jeremiah 8:3
  • 10. Genesis 4:6; Matthew 20:11-15
  • 11. S John 1:17
  • 12. Joel 1:12
  • 13. S 1 Kings 19:4
  • 14. ver 4

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The precise identification of this plant is uncertain; also in verses 7, 9 and 10.