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Jonah Is Angry at Yahweh’s Compassion

And this[a] was greatly displeasing[b] to Jonah, and he became furious.[c] And he prayed to Yahweh and said, “O Yahweh, was this not what I said[d] while I was in my homeland? Therefore I originally fled[e] to Tarshish, because I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and having great steadfast love,[f] and one who relents concerning calamity.[g] And so then, Yahweh, please take my life from me, because for me death is better than life!” And Yahweh said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”[h]

And Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city, and he made for himself a shelter there. And he sat under it in the shade, waiting to see[i] what would happen with the city. And Yahweh God appointed a plant,[j] and he made it grow up over Jonah to be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. And Jonah was very glad[k] about the plant. So God appointed a worm at daybreak[l] the next day, and it attacked the plant, and it withered. And when the sun rose,[m] God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head and he grew faint. And he asked that he could die[n] and said, “My death is better than my life!” So God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry[o] about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry enough to die!”[p]

10 But Yahweh said, “You are troubled about the plant, for which you did not labor nor cause it to grow. It grew up in a night and it perished in a night![q] 11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, the great city, in which there are[r] more than one hundred and twenty thousand[s] people who do not know right from left,[t] plus many animals?”


  1. Jonah 4:1 Hebrew “it”
  2. Jonah 4:1 Literally “was displeasing with great displeasure”
  3. Jonah 4:1 Literally “it was hot for him”
  4. Jonah 4:2 Literally “my word”
  5. Jonah 4:2 Literally “I did the first time to flee”
  6. Jonah 4:2 Literally “and great of steadfast love”
  7. Jonah 4:2 That is, calamity sent by God as judgment
  8. Jonah 4:4 Literally “Rightfully is it hot for you”; some take this to mean “Are you so very angry?” (Targum Jonah 4:4; see also JPS, NEB, NET)
  9. Jonah 4:5 Literally “until he would see”
  10. Jonah 4:6 Probably a castor oil plant, though some have suggested some type of gourd plant
  11. Jonah 4:6 Literally “was glad with great joy”
  12. Jonah 4:7 Literally “at the coming up of the dawn”
  13. Jonah 4:8 Literally “and it happened at the rising of the sun”
  14. Jonah 4:8 Literally “and he asked his soul to die”
  15. Jonah 4:9 Literally “rightfully is it hot for you”; some take this to mean “Are you so very angry?” (Targum Jonah 4:4; see also JPS, NEB, NET)
  16. Jonah 4:9 Literally “Rightfully it is hot for me until death”
  17. Jonah 4:10 Literally “Which was a son of a night and as a son of a night it perished”
  18. Jonah 4:11 Literally “which there are in it”
  19. Jonah 4:11 Literally “than two ten myriad” (12 x 10,000)
  20. Jonah 4:11 hand” is often supplied, but it is not clear just what deficiency is meant by this expression, which occurs only here in biblical Hebrew