Jonah 4:1-3. But it The divine forbearance in sparing Nineveh; displeased Jonah exceedingly “Seeing that what he had foretold against the Ninevites did not happen, he was afraid lest he should pass for a false prophet and a deceiver, his ministry be despised, and his person exposed to the violence of the Ninevites. He was therefore very peevish and impatient, and he vents his complaints in the following verse.” And he prayed unto the Lord He uttered expostulations and complaints in his prayer to God, wherein he pleaded an excuse for his former disobedience to God’s commands. O Lord, was not this my saying Did I not think of this, and suppose that it would be the case, that thy pardon would contradict my preaching? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish Namely, to avoid coming upon this message, for I knew that thou art a gracious God I knew by the declarations thou madest to Moses, (Exodus 34:6,) and by several instances of thy mercy, that thou dost not always execute the punishments thou threatenest against sinners; being moved by thy essential goodness and mercifulness to spare them. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me “I cannot survive the confusion of seeing my prediction vain and to no effect; I cannot bear to live under the imputation of being a false prophet.” For it is better for me to die than to live We may learn from this, that Jonah was naturally a man of a hasty, impatient temper; for he here shows himself to have been exceedingly vexed without any just cause. For it does not appear that the Ninevites would have despised him, or looked upon him as a false prophet, though the city was not destroyed; because their having recourse to fasting, humiliation, and turning from their evil ways, was in order to avert the wrath of God, that he might repent and turn from his fierce anger, and they perish not; see Jonah 3:9; and therefore they would, in all probability, have attributed the city’s preservation to this their humiliation and repentance, and have still looked upon Jonah as one that was divinely commissioned. So that he was indeed moved to these passionate expressions and exclamations purely by his own hasty disposition, and not from any just cause given him.
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