Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Mercy
1This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. 3Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
4The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”
5Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. 6And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.
7But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.
9Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”
10Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness,*4:11 Hebrew people who don’t know their right hand from their left. not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”