Jonah - Chapter 4

1This displeased Yona greatly, and he was grieved.

אוַיֵּרַע אֶל־יוֹנָה רָעָה גְדוֹלָה וַיִּחַר לוֹ׃

2He prayed to Hashem, saying, “Hashem! 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.

בוַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמַר אָנָּה יְהֹוָה הֲלוֹא־זֶה דְבָרִי עַד־הֱיוֹתִי עַל־אַדְמָתִי עַל־כֵּן קִדַּמְתִּי לִבְרֹחַ תַּרְשִׁישָׁה כִּי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אַתָּה אֵל־חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב־חֶסֶד וְנִחָם עַל־הָרָעָה׃

3Please, Hashem, take my life, for I would rather die than live.”

גוְעַתָּה יְהֹוָה קַח־נָא אֶת־נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנִּי כִּי טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי׃

4Hashem replied, “Are you that deeply grieved?”

דוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה לָךְ׃

5Now Yona 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.

הוַיֵּצֵא יוֹנָה מִן־הָעִיר וַיֵּשֶׁב מִקֶּדֶם לָעִיר וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ שָׁם סֻכָּה וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחְתֶּיהָ בַּצֵּל עַד אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה מַה־יִּהְיֶה בָּעִיר׃

6Hashem provided a ricinus plant, which grew up over Yona, to provide shade for his head and save him from discomfort. Yona was very happy about the plant.

vai-MAN a-do-nai e-lo-HEEM kee-ka-YON va-YA-al may-AL l'-yo-NAH lih-YOT TZAYL al ro-SHO l'-ha-TZEEL LO may-ra-a-TO va-yis-MAKH yo-NAH al ha-kee-ka-YON sim-KHAH g'-do-LAH

ווַיְמַן יְהֹוָה־אֱלֹהִים קִיקָיוֹן וַיַּעַל מֵעַל לְיוֹנָה לִהְיוֹת צֵל עַל־רֹאשׁוֹ לְהַצִּיל לוֹ מֵרָעָתוֹ וַיִּשְׂמַח יוֹנָה עַל־הַקִּיקָיוֹן שִׂמְחָה גְדוֹלָה׃

 4:6 Hashem provided a ricinus plant

Castor oil plant seedling in Israel

As Yona sulks over God’s compassion to those he views as sinners, Hashem prepares for him a large plant, a kikayon (קיקיון), to provide Yona with shade. The identity of this plant has long fascinated commentators. According to some, it is the castor oil plant, which is common in Israel. This plant has large leaves and grows to a considerable height in a short amount of time, so that a sprout quickly attains the appearance of a small tree, much like Yona’s kikayon which appeared suddenly and provided him with ample shade. The scientific name of this plant is Ricinus Communis. In Egyptian, the plant is called kiki, which is similar to the Hebrew word used here: Kikayon.

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

זוַיְמַן הָאֱלֹהִים תּוֹלַעַת בַּעֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר לַמָּחֳרָת וַתַּךְ אֶת־הַקִּיקָיוֹן וַיִּיבָשׁ׃

8And when the sun rose, Hashem provided a sultry east wind; the sun beat down on Yona's head, and he became faint. He begged for death, saying, “I would rather die than live.”

חוַיְהִי כִּזְרֹחַ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיְמַן אֱלֹהִים רוּחַ קָדִים חֲרִישִׁית וַתַּךְ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עַל־רֹאשׁ יוֹנָה וַיִּתְעַלָּף וַיִּשְׁאַל אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ לָמוּת וַיֹּאמֶר טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי׃

9Then Hashem said to Yona, “Are you so deeply grieved about the plant?” “Yes,” he replied, “so deeply that I want to die.”

טוַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־יוֹנָה הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה־לְךָ עַל־הַקִּיקָיוֹן וַיֹּאמֶר הֵיטֵב חָרָה־לִי עַד־מָוֶת׃

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

יוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אַתָּה חַסְתָּ עַל־הַקִּיקָיוֹן אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָמַלְתָּ בּוֹ וְלֹא גִדַּלְתּוֹ שֶׁבִּן־לַיְלָה הָיָה וּבִן־לַיְלָה אָבָד׃

11And 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!”

יאוַאֲנִי לֹא אָחוּס עַל־נִינְוֵה הָעִיר הַגְּדוֹלָה אֲשֶׁר יֶשׁ־בָּהּ הַרְבֵּה מִשְׁתֵּים־עֶשְׂרֵה רִבּוֹ אָדָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדַע בֵּין־יְמִינוֹ לִשְׂמֹאלוֹ וּבְהֵמָה רַבָּה׃