Jonah 4:11
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?”

Berean Study Bible
So should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well?”

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?

New King James Version
And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”

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

NASB 1995
“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?”

NASB 1977
“And 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?”

Amplified Bible
Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 [innocent] persons, who do not know the difference between their right and left hand [and are not yet accountable for sin], as well as many [blameless] animals?”

Christian Standard Bible
So may I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than a hundred twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals? ”

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?”

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?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But shall I not show pity on Nineva, the great city that has in it more than one hundred twenty thousand children of men who do not know between their right hand and their left hand, and a multitude of cattle?

Brenton Septuagint Translation
and shall not I spare Nineve, the great city, in which dwell more than twelve myriads of human beings, who do not know their right hand or their left hand; and also much cattle?

Contemporary English Version
In that city of Nineveh there are more than 120,000 people who cannot tell right from wrong, and many cattle are also there. Don't you think I should be concerned about that big city?

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?

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?

Good News Translation
How much more, then, should I have pity on Nineveh, that great city. After all, it has more than 120,000 innocent children in it, 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."

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?

JPS Tanakh 1917
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?'

Literal Standard Version
and I—do I not have pity on Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand of mankind, who have not known between their right hand and their left—and much 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!"

New Heart 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?"

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!'

Additional Translations ...
Context
Jonah's Anger at the LORD's Compassion
10But the LORD said, “You cared about the plant, which you neither tended nor made grow. It sprang up in a night and perished in a night. 11So should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well?”

Cross References
Deuteronomy 1:39
And the little ones you said would become captives--your children who on that day did not know good from evil--will enter the land that I will give them, and they will possess it.

Psalm 36:6
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains; Your judgments are like the deepest sea. O LORD, You preserve man and beast.

Isaiah 7:16
For before the boy knows enough to reject evil and choose good, 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
This time Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, in accordance with the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, requiring a three-day journey.

Jonah 3:10
When God saw their actions--that they had turned from their evil ways--He relented from the disaster He had threatened to bring upon them.

Jonah 4:10
But the LORD said, "You cared about the plant, which you neither tended nor made grow. It sprang up in a night and perished in a night.


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, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Matthew 18:33
Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

Nineveh.

Jonah 1:2
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

Jonah 3:2,3
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee…

sixscore.

that cannot.

Deuteronomy 1:39
Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

and also.

Psalm 36:6
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

Psalm 104:14,27,28
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; …

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









(11) More than . . .--This number of infants, 120,000, according to the usual reckoning, gives a population of 600,000.

And also much cattle.--This, which at first reads like an anti-climax, is really, perhaps, the most striking thing in the whole of this marvellous book. Already the idea that a sympathy could exist between Jonah and the gourd has seemed to anticipate by thousands of years the feeling of modern poetry expressed in the lines,

"To me the meanest flower that blows can give

Thoughts that too often lie too deep for tears;"

and now the final touch, laying especial emphasis on the thought that even the cattle are an interest and care to God, seems at once to leap to the truth which even our own age has been slow to learn.

"He prayeth best who loveth best,

All creatures great and small,

For the dear God who loveth us,

He made and loveth all."

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.).



Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
So should I
וַֽאֲנִי֙ (wa·’ă·nî)
Conjunctive waw | Pronoun - first person common singular
Strong's 589: I

not
לֹ֣א (lō)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's 3808: Not, no

care
אָח֔וּס (’ā·ḥūs)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - first person common singular
Strong's 2347: To pity, look upon with compassion

about
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's 5921: Above, over, upon, against

the great
הַגְּדוֹלָ֑ה (hag·gə·ḏō·w·lāh)
Article | Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's 1419: Great, older, insolent

city
הָעִ֣יר (hā·‘îr)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 5892: Excitement

of Nineveh,
נִינְוֵ֖ה (nî·nə·wêh)
Noun - proper - feminine singular
Strong's 5210: Nineveh -- capital of Assyr

which
אֲשֶׁ֣ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

has
יֶשׁ־ (yeš-)
Adverb
Strong's 3426: Being, substance, existence, is

more than
הַרְבֵּה֩ (har·bêh)
Verb - Hifil - Infinitive absolute
Strong's 7235: To be or become much, many or great

120,000
מִֽשְׁתֵּים־ (miš·têm-)
Preposition-m | Number - fd
Strong's 8147: Two (a cardinal number)

people
אָדָ֗ם (’ā·ḏām)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 120: Ruddy, a human being

who
אֲשֶׁ֤ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

cannot
לֹֽא־ (lō-)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's 3808: Not, no

tell
יָדַע֙ (yā·ḏa‘)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 3045: To know

their right hand
יְמִינ֣וֹ (yə·mî·nōw)
Noun - feminine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's 3225: The right hand, side, the south

from their left,
לִשְׂמֹאל֔וֹ (liś·mō·lōw)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's 8040: Dark, the north, the left hand

and many
רַבָּֽה׃ (rab·bāh)
Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's 7227: Much, many, great

cattle as well?”
וּבְהֵמָ֖ה (ū·ḇə·hê·māh)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 929: A dumb beast, any large quadruped, animal


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OT Prophets: Jonah 4:11 Shouldn't I be concerned for Nineveh that (Jon. Jh)
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