The Meaning of Jonah 4:3 Explained

Jonah 4:3

KJV: Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

YLT: And now, O Jehovah, take, I pray Thee, my soul from me, for better is my death than my life.'

Darby: And now, Jehovah, take, I beseech thee, my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.

ASV: Therefore now, O Jehovah, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

What does Jonah 4:3 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Jonah felt so angry that he asked God to take his life (cf. Jonah 1:12; Jonah 4:8-9). Elijah had previously voiced the same request ( 1 Kings 19:4), but we must be careful not to read Elijah"s reasons into Jonah"s request. Both prophets obviously became extremely discouraged. Both evidently felt that what God had done through their ministries was different from what they wanted to see happen. Elijah had wanted to see a complete national revival, but Jonah had wanted to see complete national destruction. The sinfulness of people discouraged Elijah whereas the goodness of God depressed Jonah. How could Jonah return to Israel and announce that God was not going to judge the nation that had been such an enemy of the Israelites for so long? God had to teach Elijah to view things from His perspective, and He proceeded to teach Jonah the same thing.

Context Summary

Jonah 4:1-11 - The Prophet's Narrowness Rebuked
This chapter marks an era in the development of the outlook of the Hebrew people. Here, upon its repentance, a heathen city was pardoned. Clearly Jehovah was the God, not of the Jews only but of the Gentiles also. Jonah, however, had no pleasure in the revelation. He clung to the bitter narrowness of national prejudice fearing that when his own people received tidings of Nineveh's repentance and deliverance, they would be encouraged in their obstinate refusal of God's law.
How often God puts gourds into our lives to refresh us with their exquisite greenery, and to remind us of His thoughtful love! Our fretfulness and petulance are no barriers to His tender mercy. The withering of the gourd extorted bitter reproaches from the prophet who would have beheld the destruction of Nineveh without a tear. He did not realize that to God Nineveh was all, and much more, than the gourd was to him. Notice the extreme beauty of the concluding verse: The permanence of the city contrasted with the frailty of the gourd! The responsibility of God for Nineveh, which He had made to grow! The preciousness to Him, not only of the mature, but of babes and cattle [source]

Chapter Summary: Jonah 4

1  Jonah repining at God's mercy,
4  is reproved by the type of a withering vine

What do the individual words in Jonah 4:3 mean?

Therefore now Yahweh take please - my life from me for [it is] better for me to die than to live -
וְעַתָּ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה קַח־ נָ֥א אֶת־ נַפְשִׁ֖י מִמֶּ֑נִּי כִּ֛י ט֥וֹב מוֹתִ֖י מֵחַיָּֽי ס

וְעַתָּ֣ה  Therefore  now 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Adverb
Root: עַתָּה  
Sense: now.
יְהוָ֔ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
קַח־  take 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular
Root: יָקַח 
Sense: to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away.
נָ֥א  please 
Parse: Interjection
Root: נָא  
Sense: I (we) pray, now, please.
אֶת־  - 
Parse: Direct object marker
Root: אֹות 
Sense: sign of the definite direct object, not translated in English but generally preceding and indicating the accusative.
נַפְשִׁ֖י  my  life 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: נֶפֶשׁ  
Sense: soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion.
מִמֶּ֑נִּי  from  me 
Parse: Preposition, first person common singular
Root: מִן 
Sense: from, out of, on account of, off, on the side of, since, above, than, so that not, more than.
ט֥וֹב  [it  is]  better 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: טָבַב 
Sense: good, pleasant, agreeable.
מוֹתִ֖י  for  me  to  die 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: מָוֶת  
Sense: death, dying, Death (personified), realm of the dead.
מֵחַיָּֽי  than  to  live 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine plural construct, first person common singular
Root: חַי 
Sense: living, alive.
ס  - 
Parse: Punctuation