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Jonah’s Anger at God’s Kindness

Greatly displeased, Jonah flew into a rage. So he prayed to the Lord, “Lord, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my home country? That’s why I fled previously to Tarshish, because I knew you’re a compassionate God, slow to anger, overflowing with gracious love, and reluctant[a] to send trouble. Therefore, Lord, please kill me, because it’s better for me to die than to live!”

The Lord replied, “Does being angry make you right?”

Jonah’s Discouragement

Then Jonah left the city and sat down on the eastern side.[b] There he made a shelter for himself and sat down under its shade to see what would happen to the city. The Lord God prepared a vine plant,[c] and it grew over Jonah to shade his head and provide relief from his misery. Jonah was happy—indeed, he was ecstatic—about the vine plant. But at dawn the next day, God provided a worm that attacked the vine plant so that it withered away. When the sun rose, God prepared a harsh east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head, he became faint, and he begged to die. “It is better for me to die than to live!” he said.

Then God asked Jonah, “Is your anger about the vine plant justified?”

And he answered, “Absolutely! I’m so angry I could die!”

10 But the Lord asked, “You cared about a vine plant that you neither worked on nor cultivated? A vine plant that grew up overnight and died overnight? 11 So why shouldn’t I be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 human beings who do not know their right hand from their left,[d] as well as a lot of livestock?


  1. Jonah 4:2 Or sorrowful
  2. Jonah 4:5 Lit. down east of the city
  3. Jonah 4:6 Or castor bean plant; or gourd; and so throughout the chapter
  4. Jonah 4:11 I.e. young children or infants