The Meaning of Jonah 4:9 Explained

Jonah 4:9

KJV: And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

YLT: And God saith unto Jonah: 'Is doing good displeasing to thee, because of the gourd?' and he saith, 'To do good is displeasing to me -- unto death.'

Darby: And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, unto death.

ASV: And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

What does Jonah 4:9 Mean?

Verse Meaning

God"s question here was very similar to His question in Jonah 4:4. Was Jonah right to be angry about the plant, God asked? Jonah"s reply was a strong superlative. [1] He felt that strong anger was proper. Evidently Jonah believed that God was not even treating him with the compassion that He normally showed all people, much less His chosen servants.
"The double question in Jonah 4:4 and Jonah 4:9 ... is unmistakably the key to the book"s central message. The climax of the story comes here-not with the repentance of the Ninevites in chap3or at any other point-when God challenges Jonah to recognize how wrong he has been in his bitter nationalism, and how right God has been to show compassion toward the plight of the Assyrians in Nineveh." [2]
In this pericope God was setting the stage for the lesson that He would explain to His prophet shortly.

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 4:9 mean?

And said God to Jonah [is it] right to be angry for you about the plant and he said [it is] right to be angry for me even to death
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־ יוֹנָ֔ה הַהֵיטֵ֥ב חָרָֽה־ לְךָ֖ עַל־ ؟ הַקִּֽיקָי֑וֹן וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הֵיטֵ֥ב חָֽרָה־ לִ֖י עַד־ מָֽוֶת

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר  And  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
אֱלֹהִים֙  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
יוֹנָ֔ה  Jonah 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יׄונָה  
Sense: son of Amittai and a native of Gath-hepher; 5th of the minor prophets who prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II and whom God sent also to prophecy to Nineveh.
הַהֵיטֵ֥ב  [is  it]  right 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Infinitive absolute
Root: יָטַב  
Sense: to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad.
חָרָֽה־  to  be  angry 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: חָרָה  
Sense: to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled.
לְךָ֖  for  you 
Parse: Preposition, second person masculine singular
עַל־  about 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַל 
Sense: upon, on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, beside, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by, on to, towards, to, against.
؟ הַקִּֽיקָי֑וֹן  the  plant 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: קִיקָיׄון  
Sense: a plant.
וַיֹּ֕אמֶר  and  he  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
הֵיטֵ֥ב  [it  is]  right 
Parse: Verb, Hifil, Infinitive absolute
Root: יָטַב  
Sense: to be good, be pleasing, be well, be glad.
חָֽרָה־  to  be  angry 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person masculine singular
Root: חָרָה  
Sense: to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled.
לִ֖י  for  me 
Parse: Preposition, first person common singular
עַד־  even  to 
Parse: Preposition
Root: עַד  
Sense: as far as, even to, until, up to, while, as far as.
מָֽוֶת  death 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מָוֶת  
Sense: death, dying, Death (personified), realm of the dead.