Jonah balks at God’s mercy
1But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord, "Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. 3At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live."
4The Lord responded, "Is your anger a good thing?" 5But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city.
6Then the Lord God provided a shrub,#Botanists disagree about whether Heb qiqayon refers to a climbing gourd plant, a castor bean plant, or some other shrub. and it grew up over Jonah, providing shade for his head and saving him from his misery. Jonah was very happy about the shrub. 7But God provided a worm the next day at dawn, and it attacked the shrub so that it died. 8Then as the sun rose God provided a dry east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint. He begged that he might die, saying, "It’s better for me to die than to live."
9God said to Jonah, "Is your anger about the shrub a good thing?"
Jonah said, "Yes, my anger is good—even to the point of death!"
10But the Lord said, "You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. 11Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who can’t tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?"