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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

  • Stephen ologhobo on Jonah 4
    GOD use foolish things to confirm the wise...

    GOD told jonah that ..he had pity on the gourd ,what he did not labour for or plant and also he did not knw how it grows,...

    and that was a clear message to jonah ....
  • Lisa James on Jonah 4
    In Jonah 4:11, It says there were more than sixscore thousand saved. That is 120,000. I heard a song with a Billy Graham excerpt where he states it was the greatest revival in history, over 600,000 were saved. In my search for where this number came from, I have seen a few sites that use numbers similar. Some say 100,000 to 600,000. I even saw one that said there were anywhere from 600,000 to 1,000,000. Does anyone know where these numbers come from? If it were more than 140,000, wouldn't it have said more than seven score? Is there another scripture that gives evidence there were anywhere near 600,000?
  • Chris - in Reply on Jonah 4
    Lisa, you have that figure correct at 120,000. But if you read the verse fully, you will see that that figure applies to those "who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand" So this figure of 120K, refers to the immature ones of the population, i.e. young children.

    That being the case, then it's very likely that those other numbers you've seen, 600K plus, would refer to the rest of the population of Nineveh. So, the differing numbers you noted, are just people's guesses as to what Nineveh's population might have been at that time. So, I hope you are clear on this. And don't forget the "much cattle"! They're important too, as if Jonah didn't go to preach repentance to them, not only the people but also innocent children & innocent cattle would have been destroyed.
  • Lisa - in Reply on Jonah 4
    I think that answer may have only been more confusing, lol. But I see where you went, and I appreciate the comment. I did wonder why they mentioned the cattle. I will have to look into how they took census back then. I find this interesting. Thank you.
  • Nick Kornev on Jonah 4
    Hi, I really like your bible.
  • Mishael - in Reply on Jonah 4
    Hi Nick. Glad you're here today. Peace be with you
  • Nick Kornev - in Reply on Jonah 4
    Thank you!

    I like your reply
  • Obbie Beal on Jonah 4
    the DNA of Jonah has passed down to 2018; in many circumstances those that GOD love and do not want to destroy we have the wrong ..., ..., for / toward them.
  • Bill on Jonah 4
    Jonah spent 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the great fish and was spat out on the shore,was a picture of Jesus spending 3 days and nights in the tomb then he rose again.
  • Anne on Jonah 4
    Jonah, although he obeyed God in carrying the message to Niveneh, did not seem to have love and compassion for the people of Niveneh. When we have love and compassion for others we want them to be saved. Thank God for his compassion on us.
    'It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is thy faithfulness'.(Lam.3:22).


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