God’s Mercy Makes Jonah Angry
1 Jonah was not happy that God saved the city. Jonah became angry. 2 He complained to the LORD and said, “LORD, I knew this would happen! I was in my own country, and you told me to come here. At that time I knew that you would forgive the people of this evil city, so I decided to run away to Tarshish. I knew that you are a kind God. I knew that you show mercy and don’t want to punish people. I knew that you are kind, and if these people stopped sinning, you would change your plans to destroy them. 3 So now, LORD, just kill me. It is better for me to die than to live.”
4 Then the LORD said, “Do you think it is right for you to be angry?”
5 Jonah went out of the city to a place near the city on the east side. He made a shelter for himself and sat there in the shade, waiting to see what would happen to the city.
The Gourd Plant and the Worm
6 The LORD made a gourd plant grow quickly over Jonah. This made a cool place for Jonah to sit and helped him to be more comfortable. He was very happy because of this plant.
7 The next morning, God sent a worm to eat part of the plant. The worm began eating the plant, and the plant died.
8 After the sun was high in the sky, God caused a hot east wind to blow. The sun became very hot on Jonah’s head, and he became very weak. He asked God to let him die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you think it is right for you to be angry just because this plant died?”
Jonah answered, “Yes, it is right for me to be angry! I am angry enough to die!”
10 And the LORD said, “You did nothing for that plant. You did not make it grow. It grew up in the night, and the next day it died. And now you are sad about it. 11 If you can get upset over a plant, surely I can feel sorry for a big city like Nineveh. There are many people and animals in that city. There are more than 120,000 people there who did not know they were doing wrong.”* people … wrong Literally, “people who do not know their right from their left.” This might mean “innocent children.”
*4:11 people … wrong Literally, “people who do not know their right from their left.” This might mean “innocent children.”