Jonah 4:3
Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
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(3) Take, I beseech thee.—We naturally refer to the history of Elijah for a similar weariness and disgust of life. (Comp. also the case of Moses, Numbers 11:15). It should be noticed, as a contrast of Hebrew with heathen feeling, that none of these men in their loathing of life contemplated the possibility of suicide.

4:1-4 What all the saints make matter of joy and praise, Jonah makes the subject of reflection upon God; as if showing mercy were an imperfection of the Divine nature, which is the greatest glory of it. It is to his sparing, pardoning mercy, we all owe it that we are out of hell. He wishes for death: this was the language of folly, passion, and strong corruption. There appeared in Jonah remains of a proud, uncharitable spirit; and that he neither expected nor desired the welfare of the Ninevites, but had only come to declare and witness their destruction. He was not duly humbled for his own sins, and was not willing to trust the Lord with his credit and safety. In this frame of mind, he overlooked the good of which he had been an instrument, and the glory of the Divine mercy. We should often ask ourselves, Is it well to say thus, to do thus? Can I justify it? Do I well to be so soon angry, so often angry, so long angry, and to give others ill language in my anger? Do I well to be angry at the mercy of God to repenting sinners? That was Jonah's crime. Do we do well to be angry at that which is for the glory of God, and the advancement of his kingdom? Let the conversion of sinners, which is the joy of heaven, be our joy, and never our grief.Therefore now, O Lord, take I beseech Thee my life from me - He had rather die, than see the evil which was to come upon his country. Impatient though he was, he still cast himself upon God. By asking of God to end his life, he, at least, committed himself to the sovereign disposal of God . "Seeing that the Gentiles are, in a manner, entering in, and that those words are being fulfilled, Deuteronomy 32:21. "They have moved Me to jealousy with" that which is "not God, and I will move them to jealousy with" those which are "not a people, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation," he despairs of the salvation of Israel, and is convulsed with great sorrow, which bursts out into words and sets forth the causes of grief, saying in a manner, 'Am I alone chosen out of so many prophets, to announce destruction to my people through the salvation of others?' He grieved not, as some think, that the multitude of nations is saved, but that Israel perishes. Whence our Lord also wept over Jerusalem. The Apostles first preached to Israel. Paul wishes to become an anathema for his Romans 9:3-5. brethren who are Israelites, whose is the adoption and the glory and the covenant, and the giving of the law and the service of God, and the promises, whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came." Jonah had discharged his office faithfully now. He had done what God commanded; God had done by him what He willed. Now, then, he prayed to be discharged. So Augustine in his last illness prayed that he might die, before the Vandals brought suffering and devastation on his country . 3. Jonah's impatience of life under disappointed hopes of Israel's reformation through the destruction of Nineveh, is like that of Elijah at his plan for reforming Israel (1Ki 18:1-46) failing through Jezebel (1Ki 19:4). Therefore, Heb. And now; now presently, let no time slip. O Lord, who art, as the only Author, so the great Arbiter of life; the mighty and eternal God. His sovereignty was enough to command Jonah’s reverence, but Jonah forgets himself and his God.

Take, I beseech thee, life from me: in a peevish humour Jonah is weary of his life, and prays for death; yet in this request some mixture there is of grace with passion; somewhat of mercy from God to Jonah, in that he doth not give him up to his own passion; and Jonah, as weary as he is, yet will live till God will take away his life.

It is better for me to die; it is more desirable to me to die and be buried, for then my prophesying that never came to pass will be soon forgotten; however, I shall never more blush at the rebukes the world will cast upon me.

Than to live, disgraced and upbraided by atheists and hardened sinners, who will reflect the lie upon me or on my God. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me,.... Or, "my soul" (x). This, as Drusius remarks, may be observed against those that think the soul is not immortal; for by this it appears that it my be taken from the body, and that it exists separate from it, and does not die with it; and since the body dies upon its removal, for "the body without the spirit is dead", as James says; death is expressed by this phrase, Job 27:8; here Jonah allows that God is the God of life, the author and giver of it, and is the sole disposer of it; it is in his own power to take it away, and not man's: so far Jonah was right, that he did not in his passion attempt to take away his own life; only desires the Lord to do it, though in that he is not to be justified; for though it may be lawful for good men to desire to die, with submission to the will of God; that they might be free from sin, and serve him without it, and be with Christ, and in the enjoyment of the divine Presence, as the Apostle Paul and others did, 2 Corinthians 5:6; but not through discontent, as Elijah, 1 Kings 19:4; or merely to be rid of troubles, and to be free from pain and afflictions, as Job, Job 6:1; and much less in a pet and passion, as Jonah here, giving this reason for it,

for it is better for me to die than to live; not being able to bear the reproach of being a false prophet, which he imagined would be cast upon him; or, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi, that he might not see the evil come upon Israel, which he feared the repentance of the Ninevites would be the occasion of, Jonah was in a very poor frame of spirit to die in; this would not have been dying in faith and hope in God; which graces cannot be thought to be in lively exercise in him when he was quarrelling with God; neither in love to God, with whom he was angry; nor in love to men, at whose repentance, and finding mercy with the Lord, he was displeased.

(x) "animam meam", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellins, Piscator, Drusius, Cocceius.

Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life {c} from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

(c) Thus he prayed from grief, fearing that God's name by this forgiveness might be blasphemed, as though he sent his Prophets forth to make known his judgments in vain.

3. take … my life from me] So had Moses prayed (Numbers 11:15) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), both with better cause, and in nobler spirit, but both in the same utter weariness of life as Jonah. No one of them, however, attempts to take his own life. They all regard it as a sacred deposit, entrusted to them by God and only to be relinquished at His bidding, or in accordance with His will. Comp. Jonah 4:8 below.Verse 3. - Take... my life from me (comp. ver. 8). Jonah throughout represents himself as petty, hasty, and self-willed, prone to exaggerate matters, and easily reduced to despair. Here, because his word is not fulfilled, he wishes to die, though he will not take his own life. In a different spirit Moses (Exodus 32:32) is ready to die for his people's sake, and Elijah asked for death because his zeal for God had apparently wrought no effect (1 Kings 19:4). "Therefore thus will I do to thee, O Israel; because I will do this to thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. Amos 4:13. For, behold, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and maketh known to man what is his thought; who maketh dawn, darkness, and goeth over the high places of the earth, Jehovah God of hosts is His name." The punishment which God is now about to inflict is introduced with lâkhēn (therefore). כּה אעשׁה cannot point back to the punishment threatened in Amos 4:2, Amos 4:3, and still less to the chastisements mentioned in Amos 4:6-11; for lâkhēn kōh is always used by Amos to introduce what is about to ensue, and any retrospective allusion to Amos 4:6-11 is precluded by the future אעשׂה. What Jehovah is now about to do is not expressed here more iratorum, but may clearly be discerned from what follows. "When He has said, 'This will I do to thee,' He is silent as to what He will do, in order that, whilst Israel is left in uncertainty as to the particular kind of punishment (which is all the more terrible because all kinds of things are imagined), it may repent of its sins, and so avert the things which God threatens here" (Jerome). Instead of an announcement of the punishment, there follows in the words, "Because I will do this to thee (זאת pointing back to כּה), prepare to meet thy God," a summons to hold themselves in readiness liqra'th 'ĕlōhı̄m (in occursum Dei), i.e., to stand before God thy judge. The meaning of this summons has been correctly explained by Calvin thus: "When thou seest that thou hast resorted in vain to all kinds of subterfuges, since thou never wilt be able to escape from the hand of thy judge; see now at length that thou dost avert this last destruction which is hanging over thee." But this can only be effected "by true renewal of heart, in which men are dissatisfied with themselves, and submit with changed heart to God, and come as suppliants, praying for forgiveness." For if we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged by the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:31). This view is shown to be the correct one, by the repeated admonitions to seek the Lord and live (Amos 5:4, Amos 5:6; cf. Amos 5:14). To give all the greater emphasis to this command, Amos depicts God in Amos 4:13 as the Almighty and Omniscient, who creates prosperity and adversity. The predicates applied to God are to be regarded as explanations of אלהיך, prepare to meet thy God; for it is He who formeth mountains, etc., i.e., the Almighty, and also He who maketh known to man מה־שּׂחו, what man thinketh, not what God thinketh, since שׂח equals שׂיח is not applicable to God, and is only used ironically of Baal in 1 Kings 18:27. The thought is this: God is the searcher of the heart (Jeremiah 17:10; Psalm 139:2), and reveals to men by prophets the state of their heart, since He judges not only the outward actions, but the inmost emotions of the heart (cf. Hebrews 4:12). עשׂה שׁחר עיפה might mean, He turns morning dawn into darkness, since עשׂה may be construed with the accusative of that into which anything is made (compare Exodus 30:25, and the similar thought in Amos 5:8, that God darkens the day into night). But both of these arguments simply prove the possibility of this explanation, not that it is either necessary or correct. As a rule, where עשׂה occurs, the thing into which anything is made is introduced with ל (cf. Genesis 12:2; Exodus 32:10). Here, therefore, ל may be omitted, simply to avoid ambiguity. For these reasons we agree with Calvin and others, who take the words as asyndeton. God makes morning-dawn and darkness, which is more suitable to a description of the creative omnipotence of God; and the omission of the Vav may be explained very simply from the oratorical character of the prophecy. To this there is appended the last statement: He passes along over the high places of the earth, i.e., He rules the earth with unlimited omnipotence (see at Deuteronomy 32:13), and manifests Himself thereby as the God of the universe, or God of hosts.
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