4:1But it displeased Jonah exceedingly,1 and he was angry. 4:2And he prayed unto Jehovah, and said, I pray thee, O Jehovah, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country?2 Therefore I hasted to flee unto Tarshish; for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, and repentest thee of the evil. 4:3Therefore now, O Jehovah, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.3 4:4And Jehovah said, Doest thou well to be angry?4 4:5Then Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.5
4:6And Jehovah God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his evil case. So Jonah was exceeding glad because of the gourd. 4:7But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered. 4:8And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.6
- it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. Jonah was angry because God did not destroy Nineveh; his prophesy of destruction was not fulfilled. Jonah saw the enormity of evil and its consequences and believed the city should be destroyed; cause and effect.
- was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Jonah lashes out at God, saying that he knew this might happen and that it is the reason he tried to flee in the first place. Despite listing qualities of God such as mercy and lovingkindness, Jonah is only thinking with his intellect absent of divine love, failing to understand God’s willingness to forgive. This showcases that without redemptive thoughts through prayer the consciousness becomes negative, rebellious, and focused on fault-finding.
- for it is better for me to die than to live. So deep rooted is his belief that the city should be destroyed that Jonah wishes for death.
- Doest thou well to be angry? God asks plainly will Jonah’s anger do him any good. Jonah walks away, leaving God’s question unanswered.
- till he might see what would become of the city. Jonah was determined to see the city destroyed.
- It is better for me to die than to live. The symbols and the situations in these verses represent the changing attitudes in the mind of one who is uncertain of his spiritual guidance. The prophetic state of mind, on its highest plane, is a dove, a declarer of ultimate peace and good. When it functions on the intellectual or personal plane, it becomes oppressive, destructive, in that it proclaims evil and disaster continuously, and when this belief in evil becomes intensified on the bodily plane it destroys itself.
Jonah Is Reproved
4:9And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?1 And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. 4:10And Jehovah said, Thou hast had regard for the gourd, for which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: 4:11and should not I have regard for Nineveh2, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
- Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? God speaks to Jonah once again, questioning his anger, but Jonah insists on his anger
- and should not I have regard for Nineveh? God shows Jonah the folly of his childish anger by comparing his love for the tree to that of an entire city that repents. The same wisdom that made a tree is more than capable of judging an entire city. No man should question divine mercy. God will always redeem and transform those that change their ways.
Fillmore Study Bible annotations by Eduardo Rodriguez.