Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 10th, 2023
the Second Week of Advent
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
Jonah 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-11



Verses 1-11:

Verse 1 indicates that Jonah became a fault-finder, a malcontent critic of God’s justice, in sparing Nineveh. Jonah became hot with anger, not pleased that God showed mercy to the penitent Gentiles. Though he had himself been forgiven of God for his backslidden rebellion; Like the forgiven debtor, he was unwilling to see the Ninevites forgiven, Matthew 18:23-35; Matthew 20:15. Jonah evidently presumed that their being spared would lead to the destruction of Israel, his country, Hosea 9:3; Hosea 11:5; Hosea 11:11; Amos 5:27.

Verse 2 describes Jonah’s attempted justification in running from the Lord. In essence, he told the Lord that he knew all the time what would happen, if he delivered God’s message to Nineveh, and that was why he tried to go preach in Tarshish in the first place. He said he anticipated, or had the feeling, that because God was so gracious and full of mercy He would spare them if they repented, a thing Jonah did not want to happen. He wanted to play politician, more than preacher and prophet, and destroy the capitol of Assyria, the enemy of Israel, Exodus 32:14; Exodus 34:6: Joel 2:13.

Verse 3 explains Jonah’s self-pity for himself, his disappointment that God did not destroy Nineveh, that God would !isten to an heathen’s prayer, led him to ask God to just let him die. He felt he would be accused of being a false prophet, and he was too weak in faith to take it, Romans 8:28. Elijah once came to a similar situation, as described 1 Kings ch. 18 and 1 Kings 19:4.

Verse 4 states the Lord’s response to Jonah’s self-pity prayer. He chided Jonah by rhetoric question, Do you have a defensible reason to be so angry? Or you do not have a real, justifiable reason to be angry now, do you? Had not God showed mercy and grace to him, from the belly of the whale, when he had repented. And God is no respecter of persons to anyone, is He? Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Romans 10:13.

Verse 5 relates Jonah’s pouting response to God. 1) First, he went out of the city; 2) Second, he sat down on the east side, just outside the city; 3) Third, he made him a booth, a shady place of branches to reside under the sun, 4) Fourth, he sat under it, in the shadow, to be comfortable, till he might see what happened to Nineveh, when the forty days had passed, hoping to see it burn like Sodom, Genesis 19:24-25.

Verse 6 tells of God’s preparing a gourd to shadow Jonah, as He did the great fish, to swallow him, Jonah 1:17. The gourd covered the booth, v. 5, an act of Divine mercy to a prophet with a bad attitude; The gourd was a quick growing, very shady covering, that made Jonah deceitfully relieved and gleeful as he sat back to "watch-em-burn," in Nineveh. He couched in his covert, anxiously desiring to see God "burn them up in Nineveh," though they repented, Job 38:40; Jeremiah 25:38; John 6:37; Psalms 145:18-19.

Verse 7 relates that God prepared a worm, or a collective kind of worm that night, to literally smite, or eat the gourd vine away, to destroy the modest shade of the exceedingly glad prophet of the previous day, v. 6. It takes but a small worm to destroy a great gourd vine. Even so it may take but a small act of God to make our Complacent comfort wither when we are out of His will, or hold a bad attitude toward our fellow man: Our duty is to preach repentance to all men. every creature. then rejoice when they repent. Mark 16:15: John 20:21 Psalms 30:7.

Verse 8 tells of the fourth thing. God prepared for Jonah Jonah 1:17; Jonah 4:6-8. It was a vehement (very strong) wind, very dry and sultry burning. For the Lord "has his way in the whirlwind and in the clouds," Nehemiah 1:3. The blistering sun came upon Jonah until he fainted and said to himself, "think I’ll just die," or "I’d be better off dead." Much as Elijah, 1 Kings 19:4-8. As a lesson in service to God Jonah may be considered in seven Divine ways:

1) As a disobedient servant, Jonah 1:1-11.

2) As an afflicted servant, Jonah 1:12-17.

3) As a praying backslidden servant, Jonah 2:2-9.

4) As a delivered servant, Jonah 2:10.

5) As a recommissioned servant, Jonah 3:1-3.

6) As a powerful servant, Jon 3;4-10.

7) As a perplexed, fainting, but not forsaken servant, Jonah 4:1-11.

Verse 9 relates God’s challenging inquiry to Jonah about his being so hot in anger over a worm-eaten sunburned gourd vine, as he had been when God first made him realize that Nineveh was yet to be spared because she had repented, v. 4. Jonah’s grief and anger were because of his own inherent sin of carnal desire to have things his own way, He simply held an unforgiving spirit toward those Ninevites, to whom God had shown pity. He showed no compassion. Our Lord spoke, "I am grieved even to death," as He embraced our sins in his own body, to hear them on the tree of Calvary, Matthew 26:38; 1 Peter 2:24.

Verse 10 relates the vanity of Jonah’s pity for a gourd, on which he spent no labor or contribution to its growth. Yet, when it perished in a night of the worm attack, Jonah pined his life away, found fault with God, and wished that he might die. He acted the defeatist, as a coward in time of battle, Galatians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Verse 11 continues God’s challenge for Jonah to explain why He could not, in justice and holiness, spare Nineveh, show pity to that great city of near 1,000,000 estimated population, who repented with near 60,000 immature children and mentally incompetent, who could not tell their left hand from their right hand, and also much cattle, Deuteronomy 1:39. Jonah was silent, God is right and just in all His ways of judgment and mercy, Matthew 6:28-30.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jonah 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jonah-4.html. 1985.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile