The Book of Jonah: Repentance and Forgiveness

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            Nineveh was an enormously large city a three days' walk across.

3:4.Jonah started out and made his way into the city the distance of one day's walk, and proclaimed: "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"

3:5.The people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast, and great and small alike put on sackcloth.

3:6.When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

3:7.And he had the word cried through Nineveh: "By decree of the king and his nobles: No man or beast-of flock or herd-shall taste anything! They shall not graze, and they shall not drink water!

3:8.They shall be covered with sackcloth-man and beast-and shall cry mightily to God. Let everyone turn back from his evil ways and from the injustice of which he is guilty.

3:9.Who knows but that God may turn and relent? He may turn back from His wrath, so that we do not perish."

3:10.         God saw what they did, how they were turning back from their evil ways. And God renounced the punishment He had planned to bring upon them, and did not carry it out.

4:1.This displeased Jonah greatly, and he was grieved.

4:2.He prayed to the LORD, saying, "O LORD! Isn't this just what I said when I was still in my own country? That is why I fled beforehand to Tarshish. For I know that You are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, renouncing punishment.

4:3.Please, LORD, take my life, for I would rather die than live."

4:4.The LORD replied, "Are you that deeply grieved?"

4:5.Now Jonah had left the city and found a place east of the city. He made a booth there and sat under it in the shade, until he should see what happened to the city.

4:6.The LORD God provided a ricinus plant [gourd], which grew up over Jonah, to provide shade for his head and save him from discomfort. Jonah was very happy about the plant.

4:7.But the next day at dawn God provided a worm, which attacked the plant so that it withered.

4:8.And when the sun rose, God provided a sultry east wind; the sun beat down on Jonah's head, and he became faint. He begged for death, saying, "I would rather die than live. "

4:9.Then God said to Jonah, "Are you so deeply grieved about the plant?" "Yes," he replied, "so deeply that I want to die."

4:10.         Then the LORD said: "You cared about the plant, which you did not work for and which you did not grow, which appeared overnight and perished overnight.

4:11.         And should not I care about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not yet know their right hand from their left, and many beasts as well!"

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