1 This displeased Yona greatly, and he was grieved.
א וַיֵּרַע אֶל־יוֹנָה רָעָה גְדוֹלָה וַיִּחַר לוֹ׃
2 He 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.
3 Please, Hashem, take my life, for I would rather die than live.”
ג וְעַתָּה יְהֹוָה קַח־נָא אֶת־נַפְשִׁי מִמֶּנִּי כִּי טוֹב מוֹתִי מֵחַיָּי׃
4 Hashem replied, “Are you that deeply grieved?”
ד וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה לָךְ׃
5 Now 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.
ה וַיֵּצֵא יוֹנָה מִן־הָעִיר וַיֵּשֶׁב מִקֶּדֶם לָעִיר וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ שָׁם סֻכָּה וַיֵּשֶׁב תַּחְתֶּיהָ בַּצֵּל עַד אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה מַה־יִּהְיֶה בָּעִיר׃
6 Hashem 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.
4:6 Hashem provided a ricinus plant
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.Comment
7 But the next day at dawn Hashem provided a worm, which attacked the plant so that it withered.
ז וַיְמַן הָאֱלֹהִים תּוֹלַעַת בַּעֲלוֹת הַשַּׁחַר לַמָּחֳרָת וַתַּךְ אֶת־הַקִּיקָיוֹן וַיִּיבָשׁ׃
8 And 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.”
9 Then Hashem said to Yona, “Are you so deeply grieved about the plant?” “Yes,” he replied, “so deeply that I want to die.”
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־יוֹנָה הַהֵיטֵב חָרָה־לְךָ עַל־הַקִּיקָיוֹן וַיֹּאמֶר הֵיטֵב חָרָה־לִי עַד־מָוֶת׃
10 Then 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.
י וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אַתָּה חַסְתָּ עַל־הַקִּיקָיוֹן אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָמַלְתָּ בּוֹ וְלֹא גִדַּלְתּוֹ שֶׁבִּן־לַיְלָה הָיָה וּבִן־לַיְלָה אָבָד׃
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!”