Jonah 3:10-4:11

Jonah 3:10-4:11
Ordinary A43


3:10 When GodA saw what they did,B how they turnedC from their evilD ways,E

Notes on verse 3:10a

A “God” = Elohim.
B “what they did” = maaseh. From asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.
C “turned” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
D “evil” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
E “ways” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.

God changed his mindF about the calamityG that he had said he would bringH upon them; and he did not do it.

Notes on verse 3:10b

F “changed…mind” = nacham. Properly, this is a strong breath or a sigh. This can be to be sorry, to pity, console. Comfort, or repent. But, one can also comfort oneself with less righteous thoughts, so this can also mean to avenge oneself.
G “calamity” = ra’. Same as “evil” in v3:10. See note D above.
H “bring” = asah. Related to “what they did” in v3:10. See note B above.

4:1 But this was very displeasingI to Jonah,J and he became angry.K 

Notes on verse 4:1

I “displeasing” = ra’a’. Related to “evil” in v3:10. See note D above.
J “Jonah” = yonah. 19x in OT. From the same as yonah (dove or pigeon; used to refer to the exiles coming home, to describe sails of ships; also figuratively for mourning or as a description of beauty); perhaps from yayin (wine; root means to effervesce). This is Jonah, meaning dove.
K “became angry” = ra’ + gadol + charah. Ra’ is the same as “evil” in v3:10. See note D above. Gadol is from gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished. Charah is perhaps related to charar (to be hot, burn, glow, melt, be scorched; figuratively, to incite passion, be angry). This is to be displeased, burn with anger, glow, become warn. Figuratively it is a blaze of anger, zeal, or jealousy.

2 He prayedL to the LordM and said, “ON Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country?O

Notes on verse 4:2a

L “prayed” = palal. This is to judge for oneself or in an official capacity. It can also mean to pray or make supplication, to entreat.
M “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
N “O” = annah. 13x in OT – 4x for beg, beseech, entreat; 9x for Alas, O, Ah. Perhaps from ahabah (love); {from aheb (to love, beloved, friend; to have affection for sexually or otherwise)} + na (I or we pray, now; used to ask for something). This word is oh, I ask you, now.
O “country” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

That is why IP fled to TarshishQ at the beginning;R

Notes on verse 4:2b

P “I” = qadam. Perhaps from qedem (front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity). This is to come in front or be in front and so meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise. It sometimes means to meet for help.
Q “Tarshish” = tarshish. Perhaps from the same as tarshish (a gemstone like yellow jasper, beryl, or topaz) OR from Persian Tarshata (his excellency) OR from tarsata (feared, revered) OR from rashash (to break down, shatter; perhaps subjection) OR tor (dove) + shayish (alabaster, white, crystal). This is Tarshish – a port city on the Mediterranean – exact whereabouts unknown today. See
R “fled…at the beginning” = barach. This is to flee, hurry, chase away, go through.

for I knewS that you are a graciousT GodU and merciful,V slowW to anger,X

Notes on verse 4:2c

S “knew” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
T “gracious” = channun. 13x in OT. From chanan (beseech, show favor, be gracious; properly, to bend in kindness to someone with less status). This is gracious, compassionate, merciful, having pity on.
U “God” = el.
V “merciful” = rachum. 13x in OT. From the same as rechem (womb); from racham (to love, have compassion, have mercy); from racham (compassion, tender love, womb, compassion; the womb as that which cherishes the fetus). This is compassionate or merciful.
W “slow” = arek. 15x in OT. From arak (to be long in a literal or figurative sense, to continue, defer, draw out, endure, delay). This is long, patience, or slow.
X “anger” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.

and aboundingY in steadfast love,Z and ready to relentAA from punishing.BB 

Notes on verse 4:2d

Y “abounding” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
Z “steadfast love” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.
AA “ready to relent” = nacham. Same as “changed…mind” in v3:10. See note F above.
BB “punishing” = ra’. Same as “evil” in v3:10. See note D above.

3 And now, O Lord, pleaseCC take my lifeDD from me, for it is betterEE for me to die than to live.”FF 

Notes on verse 4:3

CC “please” = na. Perhaps related to “O” in v4:2. See note N above.
DD “life” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
EE “better” = tob. From tob (to be pleasing, to be good). This is good, beautiful, pleasant, agreeable, bountiful, at ease. This word is used for goodness as a concept, a good thing, a good person. This can refer to prosperity and welfare as well as joy, kindness, sweetness, and graciousness. So, this is ethically good, but also enjoyably good.
FF “live” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.

And the Lord said, “Is it rightGG for you to be angry?” Then Jonah went out of the cityHH and sat downII eastJJ of the city, and made a boothKK for himself there. He sat under it in the shade,LL waiting to see what would become of the city.

Notes on verses 4:4-5

GG “is…right” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.
HH “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
II “sat down” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
JJ “east” = qedem. Related to “I” in v4:2. Perhaps from qadam (see note P above).
KK “booth” = sukkah. From sok (lair, thicket, den, or hiding place; a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs); from sakak (to interweave, knit). This is a booth, canopy, shelter, tent, or tabernacle. This is also the “sukkah” from the Jewish holiday “sukkot,” which remembers the wilderness wanderings.
LL “shade” = tsel. From tsalal (to be or become dark, shade; this is the shade as during twilight or shadow as associated with something opaque). This is shade in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be shadow, shade, protection, shelter, or defense.

The Lord GodMM appointedNN a bush,OO and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head,PP to saveQQ him from his discomfort;RR so Jonah was very happy about the bush.SS 

Notes on verse 4:6

MM “God” = Elohim.
NN “appointed” = manah. To weigh out, reckon, count, number, set, tell. By implication, it is allotting or providing something officially.
OO “bush” = qiqayon. 5x in OT – all in this passage. Perhaps from qavah (to vomit, spit up). This is a plant or gourd – it could be a castor oil plant or a bottle gourd.
PP “head” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
QQ “save” = natsal. This is to snatch someone or something away in a good sense – as rescue, defend, or deliver – or in a bad sense – as strip or plunder.
RR “discomfort” = ra’. Same as “evil” in v3:10. See note D above.
SS “Jonah was very happy about the bush” = samach + yonah + al + qiqayon + sameach + gadol. Samach is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense. Sameach is related to samach (see note SS previous). This is glad, happy, or joyful. Gadol is in v4:1. See note K above.

But when dawnTT came up the next day, GodUU appointed a wormVV that attackedWW the bush, so that it withered.XX 

Notes on verse 4:7

TT “dawn” = shachar. Root may mean to look for in early hour or in a diligent way. This is dawn, early light, or morning.
UU “God” = Elohim.
VV “worm” = tola. This is a worm or maggot, perhaps a crimson-grub of species coccus ilicis. It is used in the manufacture of red dye. So, this word could be crimson, purple, or something dyed in those colors. It could also refer to an oppressor.
WW “attacked” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
XX “withered” = yabesh. This is to be dry, withered, confused, or ashamed. It can also be to fail.

When the sunYY rose,ZZ God preparedAAA a sultryBBB eastCCC wind,DDD

Notes on verse 4:8a

YY “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
ZZ “rose” = zarach. 18x in OT. This is to rise, shine, or dawn. It can also be used to describe symptoms of leprosy.
AAA “prepared” = manah. Same as “appointed” in v4:6. See note NN above.
BBB “sultry” = charishi. 1x in OT. Perhaps from charash(engraver, artisan; any kind of fabricator or craftsperson); from charash (to scratch, which implies etching or plowing; to manufacture regardless of materials used; figuratively, to devise or conceal; a sense of secrecy so being silent or left alone or speechless). Meaning uncertain – perhaps scorching, quiet, or vehement. It is used to refer to the sirocco, which is a sultry wind from the east.
CCC “east” = qadim. Related to “I” in v4:2 & “east” in v4:5. From the same as qedem (see note P above). This is the front part and so eastward. Sometimes used as a shorthand for the east wind.
DDD “wind” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.

and the sun beat downEEE on the head of Jonah so that he was faintFFF and askedGGG that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

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

And he said, “Yes,HHH angry enough to die.” 

Notes on verses 4:8b-9

EEE “beat down” = nakah. Same as “attacked” in v4:7. See note WW above.
FFF “was faint” = alaph. 5x in OT. This is to veil or cover. It could be to wrap oneself up. Figuratively, it is to become faint, wilt, or be languid.
GGG “asked” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
HHH “yes” = yatab. Literally “it is right.” Same as “is…right” in v4:4. See note GG above.

10 Then the Lord said, “You are concernedIII about the bush, for which you did not laborJJJ and which you did not grow;KKK it came into being in a nightLLL and perishedMMM in a night. 

Notes on verse 4:10

III “are concerned” = chus. This is properly to cover. In a figurative sense it means looking with compassion, pitying, regarding, or sparing someone.
JJJ “labor” = amal. 11x in OT. This is to labor – work that is hard and intensive. It is a Late Hebrew word.
KKK “grow” = gadal. Related to {untranslated} in v4:1. See note K above.
LLL “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
MMM “perished” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.

11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh,NNN that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousandOOO personsPPP who do not know their right handQQQ from their left,RRR and also many animals?”SSS

Notes on verse 4:11

NNN “Nineveh” = Nineveh. 17x in OT. From Akkadian Ninua or Old Babylonian Ninuwa; from nina (literally, a fish). This is Nineveh, meaning house of fish. This could be a literal reference to fish or a reference to the goddess Ishtar. See
OOO “a hundred and twenty thousand” = shenayim + asar + ribbo. Literally “two and ten times ten thousand.”
PPP “persons” = adam. Related to “country” in v4:2. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (see note O above). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
QQQ “right hand” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
RRR “left” = semol. Perhaps from the same as simlah (mantle, clothes, wrapper); perhaps from semel (image, figure, likeness). This is left, left side, or north as the part that is dark.
SSS “animals” = behemah. This is animal or cattle. It is often used of large quadrupeds.

Image credit: “Jonah under his Gourd” by Maarten van Heemskerck, 1561.

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply