Jonah 4:7 MEANING

Jonah 4:7
(7) A worm.--Possibly to be taken collectively, as in Isaiah 14:11, for a swarm of caterpillars.

Verse 7. - Prepared (see note on ver. 6). A worm. Either a single worm which punctured the stem and caused the plant to wither, or the word is used collectively, as in Deuteronomy 28:39, for "worms." A single warm night, with a moist atmosphere, will suffice to produce a host of caterpillars, which in an incredibly short time strip a plant of all its leaves. When the morning rose. At the very earliest dawn, before the actual rising of the sun (comp. Judges 9:33). Jonah seems to have enjoyed the shelter of the gourd one whole day. The withering of the plant came about in a natural way, but was ordered by God at a certain time in order to give Jonah the intended lesson.

4:5-11 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.But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day,.... That God that prepared this plant to rise so suddenly, almost as soon prepared a worm to destroy it; for it rose up one night, continued one whole day, to the great delight of Jonah; and by the morning of the following day this worm or grub was prepared in, it, or sent to it, to the root of it: this shows that God is the Creator of the least as well as the largest of creatures, of worms as well as whales, contrary to the notion of Valentinus, Marcion, and Apelles; who, as Jerom (s) says, introduce another creator of ants, worms, fleas, locusts, &c. and another of the heavens, earth, sea, and angels: but it is much that. Arnobius (t), an orthodox ancient Christian father, should deny such creatures to be the work of God, and profess his ignorance of the Maker of them. His words are,

"should we deny flies, beetles, worms, mice, weasels, and moths, to be the work of the King Omnipotent, it does not follow that it should be required of us to say who made and formed them; for we may without blame be ignorant who gave them their original;''

whereas, in the miracle of the lice, the magicians of Egypt themselves owned that the finger of God was there, and were out of their power to effect; and to the Prophet Amos the great God was represented in a vision as making locusts or grasshoppers, Amos 7:1; and indeed the smallest insect or reptile is a display of the wisdom and power of God, and not at all below his dignity and greatness to produce; and for which there are wise reasons in nature and providence, as here for the production of this worm: the same God that prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, and a gourd to shadow him, and an east wind to blow upon him, prepared this worm to destroy his shade, and try his patience:

and it smote the gourd, that it withered; it bit its root, and its moisture dried up, and it withered away at once, and became useless: that same hand that gives mercies can take them away, and that very suddenly, in a trice, in a few hours, as in the case of Job; and sometimes very secretly and invisibly, that men are not aware of; their substance wastes, and they fall to decay, and they can scarcely tell the reason of it; there is a worm at the root of their enjoyments, which kills them; God is as a moth and rottenness unto them; and he does this sometimes by small means, by little instruments, as he plagued Pharaoh and the Egyptians with lice and flies.

(s) Prooem. in Philemon. ad Paulam & Eustochium. (t) Adv. Gentes, l. 2. p. 95.

Courtesy of Open Bible