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Jonah 3:10--4:1

Context
3:10 When God saw their actions – they turned 1  from their evil way of living! 2  – God relented concerning the judgment 3  he had threatened them with 4  and he did not destroy them. 5 

Jonah Responds to God’s Kindness

4:1 This displeased Jonah terribly 6  and he became very angry. 7 

1 tn This clause is introduced by כִּי (ki, “that”) and functions as an epexegetical, explanatory clause.

2 tn Heb “from their evil way” (so KJV, ASV, NAB); NASB “wicked way.”

3 tn Heb “calamity” or “disaster.” The noun רָעָה (raah, “calamity, disaster”) functions as a metonymy of result – the cause being the threatened judgment (e.g., Exod 32:12, 14; 2 Sam 24:16; Jer 18:8; 26:13, 19; 42:10; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; HALOT 1263 s.v. רָעָה 6). The root רָעָה is repeated three times in vv. 8 and 10. Twice it refers to the Ninevites’ moral “evil” (vv. 8 and 10a) and here it refers to the “calamity” or “disaster” that the Lord had threatened (v. 10b). This repetition of the root forms a polysemantic wordplay that exploits this broad range of meanings of the noun. The wordplay emphasizes that God’s response was appropriate: because the Ninevites repented from their moral “evil” God relented from the “calamity” he had threatened.

4 tn Heb “the disaster that he had spoken to do to them.”

5 tn Heb “and he did not do it.” See notes on 3:8-9.

6 tn Heb “It was evil to Jonah, a great evil.” The cognate accusative construction רוַיֵּרע...רָעָהַ (vayyera’…raah) emphasizes the great magnitude of his displeasure (e.g., Neh 2:10 for the identical construction; see IBHS 167 §10.2.1g). The verb רָעַע (raa’) means “to be displeasing” (BDB 949 s.v. רָעַע 1; e.g., Gen 21:11, 12; 48:17; Num 11:16; 22:34; Josh 24:15; 1 Sam 8:6; 2 Sam 11:25; Neh 2:10; 13:8; Prov 24:18; Jer 40:4). The use of the verb רָעַע (“to be evil, bad”) and the noun רָעָה (“evil, bad, calamity”) here in 4:1 creates a wordplay with the use of רָעָה in 3:8-10. When God saw that the Ninevites repented from their moral evil (רָעָה), he relented from the calamity (רָעָה) that he had threatened – and this development greatly displeased (רָעָה) Jonah.

7 tn Heb “it burned to him.” The verb חָרָה (kharah, “to burn”) functions figuratively here (hypocatastasis) referring to anger (BDB 354 s.v. חָרָה). It is related to the noun חֲרוֹן (kharon, “heat/burning”) in the phrase “the heat of his anger” in 3:9. The repetition of the root highlights the contrast in attitudes between Jonah and God: God’s burning anger “cooled off” when the Ninevites repented, but Jonah’s anger was “kindled” when God did not destroy Nineveh.



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