Jonah 4:4
(4) Doest thou well? . . .--This rendering may be supported by Deuteronomy 5:28; Jeremiah 1:12, and agrees better with the context than the marginal translation, which follows the LXX., and is undoubtedly a very likely rendering of the Hebrew idiom if taken by itself. Jonah apparently gave his own interpretation to the question, one that suited his mood, "Is thine anger just?" Such a question might imply that the doom of the city was only deferred, and that he had been too hasty in giving up the fulfilment of his prediction. Accordingly he went outside the walls, and sat down to watch what the issue would be. On the other hand, the rendering "Art thou so very angry?" suits best the reply in Jonah 4:9, "I am very angry, even to death." Probably the Hebrew word, like the French bien, kept both its original and derived meaning, and must be rendered well or very, according to the context.

Verse 4 - Doest thou well to be angry? Septuagint, Αἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σύ; "Hast thou been greatly grieved?" Vulgate, Putasne bene irasceris tu? The English Version is doubtless correct. God bids him consider with himself whether his anger is reasonable. The version of the LXX., however grammatically permissible, is somewhat pointless.

4:1-4 What all the saints make matter of joy and praise, Jonah makes the subject of reflection upon God; as if showing mercy were an imperfection of the Divine nature, which is the greatest glory of it. It is to his sparing, pardoning mercy, we all owe it that we are out of hell. He wishes for death: this was the language of folly, passion, and strong corruption. There appeared in Jonah remains of a proud, uncharitable spirit; and that he neither expected nor desired the welfare of the Ninevites, but had only come to declare and witness their destruction. He was not duly humbled for his own sins, and was not willing to trust the Lord with his credit and safety. In this frame of mind, he overlooked the good of which he had been an instrument, and the glory of the Divine mercy. We should often ask ourselves, Is it well to say thus, to do thus? Can I justify it? Do I well to be so soon angry, so often angry, so long angry, and to give others ill language in my anger? Do I well to be angry at the mercy of God to repenting sinners? That was Jonah's crime. Do we do well to be angry at that which is for the glory of God, and the advancement of his kingdom? Let the conversion of sinners, which is the joy of heaven, be our joy, and never our grief.Then said the Lord, dost thou well to be angry? A mild and gentle reproof this; which shows him to be a God gracious and merciful, and slow to anger; he might have answered Jonah's passionate wish, and struck him dead at once, as Ananias and Sapphira were; but he only puts this question, and leaves it with him to consider of. Some render it, "is doing good displeasing to thee?" (y) art thou angry at that, because I do good to whom I will? so R. Japhet, as Aben Ezra observes, though he disapproves of it: according to this the sense is, is doing good to the Ninevites, showing mercy to them upon their repentance, such an eyesore to thee? is thine eye evil, because mine is good? so the Scribes and Pharisees indeed were displeased with Christ for conversing with publicans and sinners, which was for the good of their souls; and the elder brother was angry with his father for receiving the prodigal; and of the same cast Jonah seems to be, at least at this time, being under the power of his corruptions. There seems to be an emphasis upon the word "thou"; dost "thou" well to be angry? what, "thou", a creature, be angry with his Creator; a worm, a potsherd of the earth, with the God of heaven and earth? what, "thou", that hast received mercy thyself in such an extraordinary manner, and so lately, and be angry at mercy shown to others? what, "thou", a prophet of the Lord, that should have at heart the good of immortal souls, and be displeased that thy ministry has been the means of the conversion and repentance of so many thousands? is there any just cause for all this anger? no, it is a causeless one; and this is put to the conscience of Jonah; he himself is made judge in his own cause; and it looks as if, upon self-reflection and reconsideration, when his passions cooled and subsided, that he was self-convicted and self-condemned, since no answer is returned. The Targum is,

"art thou exceeding angry?''

and so other interpreters, Jewish and Christian (z), understand it of the vehemency of his anger.

(y) "num benefacere ira est tibi?" Montanus. (z) "Nonne vehemens ira est tibi?" Pagninus; "numquid vehementer indignaris, multumne (valdene) iratus est?" Vatablus; so Kimchi and R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 47. 2.

Jonah 4:3
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