Jonah 4:11
Parallel Verses
New International Version
And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left--and also many animals?"

New Living Translation
But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city?"

English Standard Version
And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

New American Standard Bible
"Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

King James Bible
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?"

International Standard Version
So why shouldn't I be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 human beings who do not know their right hand from their left, as well as a lot of livestock?

NET Bible
Should I not be even more concerned about Nineveh, this enormous city? There are more than one hundred twenty thousand people in it who do not know right from wrong, as well as many animals!"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Shouldn't I feel sorry for this important city, Nineveh? It has more than 120,000 people in it as well as many animals. These people couldn't tell their right hand from their left."

Jubilee Bible 2000
And shall I not spare Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand persons, that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and many animals?

King James 2000 Bible
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also many cattle?

American King James Version
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more then six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

American Standard Version
and should not I have regard for Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And shall not I spare Ninive, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that know not how to distinguish between their right hand and their left, and many beasts?

Darby Bible Translation
and I, should not I have pity on Nineveh, the great city, wherein are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

English Revised Version
and should not I have pity on Nineveh, that great city; wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Webster's Bible Translation
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also many cattle?

World English Bible
Shouldn't I be concerned for Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand persons who can't discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much livestock?"

Young's Literal Translation
and I -- have not I pity on Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than twelve myriads of human beings, who have not known between their right hand and their left -- and much cattle!'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:5-11 Jonah went out of the city, yet remained near at hand, as if he expected and desired its overthrow. Those who have fretful, uneasy spirits, often make troubles for themselves, that they may still have something to complain of. See how tender God is of his people in their afflictions, even though they are foolish and froward. A thing small in itself, yet coming seasonably, may be a valuable blessing. A gourd in the right place may do us more service than a cedar. The least creatures may be great plagues, or great comforts, as God is pleased to make them. Persons of strong passions are apt to be cast down with any trifle that crosses them, or to be lifted up with a trifle that pleases them. See what our creature-comforts are, and what we may expect them to be; they are withering things. A small worm at the root destroys a large gourd: our gourds wither, and we know not what is the cause. Perhaps creature-comforts are continued to us, but are made bitter; the creature is continued, but the comfort is gone. God prepared a wind to make Jonah feel the want of the gourd. It is just that those who love to complain, should never be left without something to complain of. When afflicting providences take away relations, possessions, and enjoyments, we must not be angry at God. What should especially silence discontent, is, that when our gourd is gone, our God is not gone. Sin and death are very dreadful, yet Jonah, in his heat, makes light of both. One soul is of more value than the whole world; surely then one soul is of more value than many gourds: we should have more concern for our own and others' precious souls, than for the riches and enjoyments of this world. It is a great encouragement to hope we shall find mercy with the Lord, that he is ready to show mercy. And murmurers shall be made to understand, that how willing soever they are to keep the Divine grace to themselves and those of their own way, there is one Lord over all, who is rich in mercy to all that call upon him. Do we wonder at the forbearance of God towards his perverse servant? Let us study our own hearts and ways; let us not forget our own ingratitude and obstinacy; and let us be astonished at God's patience towards us.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 11. - Should not I spare Ninevah? The contrast between the feeling and conduct of God and those of the prophet is very forcible. Thou hast compassion for a plant of little worth, in whose growth thou hast had no concern, to which thou hast no right; should I not pity a great city which is mine, which I have permitted to grow into power? Thou hast compassion on a flower which sprang up in a day and withered in a day; should I not pity this town with its teeming population and its multitude of cattle, the least of which is more worth than any senseless plant, and which I uphold daily with my providence? Six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; i.e. children of tender years, who did not know which hand was the strongest and fittest for use; or, metaphorically, who had no knowledge between good and evil" (Deuteronomy 1:39), at present incapable of moral discernment. This limitation would include children of three or four years old; and, taking these as one-fifth of the population, we should set the inhabitants at six hundred thousand in number. The multitude of these innocent children, who must needs perish if the city were destroyed, is an additional reason why it should be spared. A still further claim for compassion is appended. And also much cattle. God's mercy is over all his works; he preserveth man and beast (Psalm 36:6; Psalm 145:9), and as man is superior to other animals, so are cattle better than plants. The book ends abruptly, but its object is accomplished. Jonah is silenced; he can make no reply; he can only confess that he is entirely wrong, and that God is righteous. He learns the lesson that God would have all men saved, and that that narrow-mindedness which would exclude heathen from his kingdom is displeasing to him and alien from his design. "For thou hast mercy upon all; for thou canst do all things, and winkest at the sins of men in order that they should repent. For thou lovest all the things that are, and abhorrest nothing that thou hast made; for never wouldst thou have made anything if thou hadst hated it But thou sparest all; for they are thine, O Lord, thou Lover of souls" (Wisd. 11:23, etc.).





Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city?.... See Jonah 1:2; what is such a gourd or plant to that?

wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons; or twelve myriads; that is, twelve times ten thousand, or a hundred and twenty thousand; meaning not all the inhabitants of Nineveh; for then it would not have appeared to be so great a city; but infants only, as next described:

that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; do not know one from another; cannot distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong; are not come to years of maturity and discretion; and therefore there were room and reason for pity and sparing mercy; especially since they had not been guilty of actual transgressions, at least not very manifest; and yet must have perished with their parents had Nineveh been overthrown. The number of infants in this city is a proof of the greatness of it, though not so as to render the account incredible; for, admitting these to be a fifth part of its inhabitants, as they usually are of any place, as Bochart (e) observes, it makes the number of its inhabitants to be but six or seven hundred thousand; and as many there were in Seleucia and Thebes, as Pliny (f) relates of the one, and Tacitus (g) of the other:

and also much cattle; and these more valuable than goods, as animals are preferable to, and more useful than, vegetables; and yet these must have perished in the common calamity. Jarchi understands by these grown up persons, whose knowledge is like the beasts that know not their Creator. No answer being returned, it may be reasonably supposed Jonah, was convinced of his sin and folly; and, to show his repentance for it, penned this, narrative, which records his infirmities and weaknesses, for the good of the church, and the instruction of saints in succeeding ages.

(e) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 20. p. 253. (f) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 26. (g) Annal. l. 2. c. 60.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

11. that cannot discern between their right hand and their left—children under three of four years old (De 1:39). Six score thousand of these, allowing them to be a fifth of the whole, would give a total population of six hundred thousand.

much cattle—God cares even for the brute creatures, of which man takes little account. These in wonderful powers and in utility are far above the shrub which Jonah is so concerned about. Yet Jonah is reckless as to their destruction and that of innocent children. The abruptness of the close of the book is more strikingly suggestive than if the thought had been followed out in detail.

Jonah 4:11 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jonah's Anger at the Lord's Compassion
10Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11"Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"
Cross References
Deuteronomy 1:39
And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad--they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it.

Psalm 36:6
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.

Isaiah 7:16
for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

Isaiah 37:37
So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.

Jonah 3:3
Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it.

Jonah 3:10
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah 4:10
But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.
Treasury of Scripture

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more then six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

should.

Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your …

Matthew 18:33 Should not you also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even …

Luke 15:28-32 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father …

Nineveh.

Jonah 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their …

Jonah 3:2,3 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the preaching …

sixscore. It is generally calculated that the young children of any place are a fifth of the inhabitants, and consequently the whole population of Nineveh would amount to about

that cannot.

Deuteronomy 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which you said should be a prey, and your …

and also.

Psalm 36:6 Your righteousness is like the great mountains; your judgments are …

Psalm 104:14,27,28 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service …

Psalm 145:8,9,15,16 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and …

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