4 The mercy God extended toward Nineveh upset Jonah terribly. The more he thought about it, the angrier he became. 2 So he prayed to the Eternal.
Jonah has time to think of how greatly the Assyrians are oppressing Israel, and he can’t reconcile their deliverance.
Jonah: Eternal One, isn’t this what I said would happen when I was still in my own country? This is exactly the reason I ran away to Tarshish in the first place. I know how You are! I know that You are not like other gods, that You are full of grace and compassion, that it takes a lot to make You angry, and that Your loyal love is so great that You are always ready to relent from inflicting misery. 3 Eternal One, since You didn’t kill them, please take my life away from me. For my death now is so much better than my life tomorrow.
Eternal One: 4 Jonah, do you have any good reason to be angry?
5 Jonah headed east out of the city instead of west toward his home to look for a place high above the city to sit down. He found a suitable spot and built a shelter from the hot sun. He sat there waiting to see what might happen to the city. 6 Then the Eternal God chose a gourd plant to grow up and to shade Jonah from the discomfort of the intense heat. The large, thick leaves of this vine made Jonah very, very happy. 7 But at dawn the next day, God chose a worm to chew through the gourd’s vine; that night, it shriveled. 8 Then when the sun rose, God chose a scorching east wind to blow. As the sun beat down from a cloudless sky on Jonah’s head, he became faint. Again, he asked to die.
Jonah: My death now is so much better than my life tomorrow.
Eternal One: 9 Do you have any good reason to be angry about this gourd’s vine?
Jonah: Yes, I do. I’m angry enough to die.
Eternal One: 10 Jonah, don’t you understand? You care about this gourd’s vine, and yet you didn’t do anything to make it grow; you didn’t plant it, water it, or protect it. It appeared one night then died another. 11 Should I not have pity on that great city of Nineveh where there are more than 120,000 people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?