New International Reader's Version

Jonah 4

Jonah Is Angry That the Lord Spares Nineveh

1But to Jonah this seemed very wrong. He became angry. He prayed to the Lord. Here is what Jonah said to him. “Lord, isn’t this exactly what I thought would happen when I was still at home? That is what I tried to prevent by running away to Tarshish. I knew that you are gracious. You are tender and kind. You are slow to get angry. You are full of love. You are a God who takes pity on people. You don’t want to destroy them. Lord, take away my life. I’d rather die than live.”

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah had left the city. He had sat down at a place east of it. There he put some branches over his head. He sat in their shade. He waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God sent a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah. It gave him more shade for his head. It made him more comfortable. Jonah was very happy he had the leafy plant. But before sunrise the next day, God sent a worm. It chewed the plant so much that it dried up. When the sun rose, God sent a burning east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head. It made him very weak. He wanted to die. So he said, “I’d rather die than live.”

But God spoke to Jonah. God said, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” Jonah said. “In fact, I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant. But you did not take care of it. You did not make it grow. It grew up in one night and died the next. 11 And shouldn’t I show concern for the great city of Nineveh? It has more than 120,000 people. They can’t tell right from wrong. Nineveh also has a lot of animals.”