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1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

5 So 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 shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, 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?

Commentary for Jonah 4

Jonah repines at God's mercy to Nineveh, and is reproved. (1-4) He is taught by the withering of a gourd, that he did wrong. (5-11)1-4 What all the saints make matter of joy and praise, Jonah makes the subject of reflection upon God; as if showing mercy were an imperfection of the Divine nature, which is the greatest glory of it. It is to his sparing, pardoning mercy, we all owe it that we are out of hell. He wishes for death: this was the language of folly, passion, and strong corruption. There appeared in Jonah remains of a proud, uncharitable spirit; and that he neither expected nor desired the welfare of the Ninevites, but had only come to declare and witness their destruction. He was not duly humbled for his own sins, and was not willing to trust the Lord with his credit and safety. In this frame of mind, he overlooked the good of which he had been an instrument, and the glory of the Divine mercy. We should often ask ourselves, Is it well to say thus, to do thus? Can I justify it? Do I well to be so soon angry, so often angry, so long angry, and to give others ill language in my anger? Do I well to be angry at the mercy of God to repenting sinners? That was Jonah's crime. Do we do well to be angry at that which is for the glory of God, and the advancement of his kingdom? Let the conversion of sinners, which is the joy of heaven, be our joy, and never our grief.

5-11 Jonah went out of the city, yet remained near at hand, as if he expected and desired its overthrow. Those who have fretful, uneasy spirits, often make troubles for themselves, that they may still have something to complain of. See how tender God is of his people in their afflictions, even though they are foolish and froward. A thing small in itself, yet coming seasonably, may be a valuable blessing. A gourd in the right place may do us more service than a cedar. The least creatures may be great plagues, or great comforts, as God is pleased to make them. Persons of strong passions are apt to be cast down with any trifle that crosses them, or to be lifted up with a trifle that pleases them. See what our creature-comforts are, and what we may expect them to be; they are withering things. A small worm at the root destroys a large gourd: our gourds wither, and we know not what is the cause. Perhaps creature-comforts are continued to us, but are made bitter; the creature is continued, but the comfort is gone. God prepared a wind to make Jonah feel the want of the gourd. It is just that those who love to complain, should never be left without something to complain of. When afflicting providences take away relations, possessions, and enjoyments, we must not be angry at God. What should especially silence discontent, is, that when our gourd is gone, our God is not gone. Sin and death are very dreadful, yet Jonah, in his heat, makes light of both. One soul is of more value than the whole world; surely then one soul is of more value than many gourds: we should have more concern for our own and others' precious souls, than for the riches and enjoyments of this world. It is a great encouragement to hope we shall find mercy with the Lord, that he is ready to show mercy. And murmurers shall be made to understand, that how willing soever they are to keep the Divine grace to themselves and those of their own way, there is one Lord over all, who is rich in mercy to all that call upon him. Do we wonder at the forbearance of God towards his perverse servant? Let us study our own hearts and ways; let us not forget our own ingratitude and obstinacy; and let us be astonished at God's patience towards us.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Jonah 4

  • Eaglesrock
    Jonah was disappointed, angry with God for having Mercy on them: The greatest problem in the Book of Jonah is neither the fish, nor the repentance of Nineveh, but the repentance of Jonah. God has more difficulty with Jonah than with any other feature of the book. They don t deserve Mercy: Jonah says This is why I did not want to go the first time. I knew you would show Mercy, that you are a gracious God, and Merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness Jonah new that if he preached Judgment to Nineveh, that they would repent, that the Lord would save them.
    God is sovereign and deserves our services, no one has the right to question his actions or commands. All we need to do is to obey whenever He calls us to do anything for Him, for that is the reason he created us.
  • Gerry
    I disagree and agree with the commentary Jonah had a uneasy spirit He made the plant to comfort him God prepared and unpaired his situation he love the comfort like we all do but when thing happen and take us out of r comfort zone we get upset or complain because thing not going r way small worm can me anything in life love one money ect.but Jonah had a headache from the sun that gave him affliction or ect. God was trying to show Jonah what was important people weather then riches soul is better then thing and reaching out to people that are lost and a died world
  • Audrey
    When God gives instructions we must follow because he chooses who he wants go do his work. Look back on Moses leading the Israelites outvof the clutches of pharoah. He could not do it unless God gave the command, so ad children of God we must be orepared to listen and respond to the voice of God and not do our own thing. He is a jelous God. Jonah disobeyed God and paid the penalty. Let us all adhere to his voice because it makes a difference. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. I pray that we all listen to make our election sure. As children of God we cannot sit back and relax. We need to spread his words far and wide. His coming is near, the writing is on the wall. Let us put on the whole armour of God and prepare for the battle. Satan is on the loose because he knows his days are numbered. Thanks be to God for his promise to redeem his people. The rapture is at hand, are you ready?
  • Insight 777
    Verse 8, if parabolic, "the sun beat down upon the head of Jonah ", could mean the sun righteousness and truth, beat down the value of righteousness and truth was discussed, and negotiated as to what was right and what was wrong. " upon the head of Jonah upon the definition of Peace terms as Jonah means Dove and a dove is a symbol of Peace.
  • Gary Lee Myers for verse 11
    Jonah 4 vs 11 means this. God 's Prophets were often selfish and self seeking. I 'm amazed at how God used a man who hated the Ninevehites, to warn them of destruction. in fact that i why Jonah headed for Tarshish. He knew God 's compassion was greater in this case than his wrath. We must remember this if God supplies a gourd to comfort us, it may also contain a worm of agitation. Imagine being upset because God Almighty soared 120,000 souls, plus cattle. Praise God the King of Nineveh humbled himself and was not like Pharaoh in Egypt. This is why in America we need to pick our leaders wisely. Arrogant leaders often bring calamity on their people. Aren 't you glad that God Almighty is full of compassion? Are we better than he Ninehvites? Thank you Lord Jesus for sparing me!

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Bible Trivia

As Jonah waited for the destruction of Nineveh, God provided what to shade him?
  • A tree
  • A whale
  • A vine
  • An umbrella