4:8 When the sun began to shine, God sent 1 a hot 2 east wind. So the sun beat down 3 on Jonah’s head, and he grew faint. So he despaired of life, 4 and said, “I would rather die than live!” 5 4:9 God said to Jonah, “Are you really so very angry 6 about the little plant?” And he said, “I am as angry 7 as I could possibly be!” 8
2 tc The MT adjective חֲרִישִׁית (kharishit, “autumnal”) is a hapax legomenon with an unclear meaning (BDB 362 s.v. חֲרִישִׁי); therefore, the BHS editors propose a conjectural emendation to the adjective חֲרִיפִית (kharifit, “autumnal”) from the noun חֹרֶף (khoref, “autumn”; see BDB 358 s.v. חרֶף). However, this emendation would also create a hapax legomenon and it would be no more clear than relating the MT’s חֲרִישִׁית to I חָרַשׁ (kharash, “to plough” [in autumn harvest]).
tn Heb “autumnal” or “sultry.” The adjective חֲרִישִׁית is a hapax legomenon whose meaning is unclear; it might mean “autumnal” (from I חָרַשׁ, kharash; “to plough” [in the autumn harvest-time]), “silent” = “sultry” (from IV. חרשׁ, “to be silent”; BDB 362 s.v. חֲרִישִׁי). The form חֲרִישִׁית might be an alternate spelling of חֲרִיסִית (kharisit) from the noun חֶרֶס (kheres, “sun”) and so mean “hot” (BDB 362 s.v.).
3 tn Heb “attacked” or “smote.”
4 tn Heb “he asked his soul to die.”
5 tn Heb “better my death than my life.”
sn Jonah repeats his assessment, found also in 4:3.
7 tn Heb “It thoroughly burns to me” or “It rightly burns to me.”
8 tn Heb “unto death.” The phrase עַד־מָוֶת (’ad-mavet, “unto death”) is an idiomatic expression meaning “to the extreme” or simply “extremely [angry]” (HALOT 563 s.v. מָוֶת 1.c). The noun מָוֶת (“death”) is often used as an absolute superlative with a negative sense, similar to the English expression “bored to death” (IBHS 267-69 §14.5). For example, “his soul was vexed to death” (לָמוּת, lamut) means that he could no longer endure it (Judg 16:16), and “love is as strong as death” (כַמָּוֶת, kammavet) means love is irresistible or exceedingly strong (Song 8:6). Here the expression “I am angry unto death” (עַד־מָוֶת) means that Jonah could not be more angry. Unfortunately, this idiomatic expression has gone undetected by virtually every other major English version to date (KJV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, ASV, NASB, NIV, NJB, JPS, NJPS). The only English version that comes close to representing the idiom correctly is BBE: “I have a right to be truly angry.”