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?
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?
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!'
Jonah 4:11 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Should I not spare? - literally "have pity" and so "spare." God waives for the time the fact of the repentance of Nineveh, and speaks of those on whom man must have pity, those who never had any share in its guilt, the 120,000 children of Nineveh, "I who, in the weakness of infancy, knew not which hand, "the right" or "the left," is the stronger and fitter for every use." He who would have spared Sodom "for ten's sake," might well be thought to spare Nineveh for the 120,000's sake, in whom the inborn corruption had not developed into the malice of willful sin. If these 120,000 were the children under three years old, they were 15 (as is calculated) of the whole population of Nineveh. If of the 600,000 of Nineveh all were guilty, who by reason of age could be, above 15 were innocent of actual sin.
To Jonah, whose eye was evil to Nineveh for his people's sake, God says, as it were , "Let the "spirit" which "is willing" say to the "flesh" which "is weak," Thou grievest for the palm-christ, that is, thine own kindred, the Jewish people; and shall not I spare Nineveh that great city, shall not I provide for the salvation of the Gentiles in the whole world, who are in ignorance and error? For there are many thousands among the Gentiles, who go after 1 Corinthians 12:2. mute idols even as they are led: not out of malice but out of ignorance, who would without doubt correct their ways, if they had the knowledge of the truth, if they were shewn the difference "between their right hand and their left," i. e., between the truth of God and the lie of men." But, beyond the immediate teaching to Jonah, God lays down a principle of His dealings at all times, that, in His visitations of nations, He Psalm 68:5, "the Father of the fatherless and judge of the widows," takes special account of those who are of no account in man's sight, and defers the impending judgment, not for the sake of the wisdom of the wise or the courage of the brave, but for the helpless, weak, and, as yet, innocent as to actual sin. How much more may we think that He regards those with pity who have on them not only the recent uneffaced traces of their Maker's Hands, but have been reborn in the Image of Christ His Only Begotten Son! The infants clothed with Christ Galatians 3:27 must be a special treasure of the Church in the Eyes of God.
"How much greater the mercy of God than that even of a holy man; how far better to flee to the judgment-seat of God than to the tribunal of man. Had Jonah been judge in the cause of the Ninevites, he would have passed on them all, although penitent, the sentence of death for their past guilt, because God had passed it before their repentance. So David said to God 2 Samuel 24:14; "Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; and let me not fall into the hand of man." Whence the Church professes to God, that mercy is the characteristic of His power ; 'O God, who shewest Thy Almighty power most chiefly in shewing mercy and pity, mercifully grant unto us such a measure of Thy grace, that we, running the way of Thy commandments, may obtain Thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasure. '"
"Again, God here teaches Jonah and us all to conform ourselves in all things to the Divine Will, that, when He commandeth any work, we should immediately begin and continue it with alacrity and courage; when He bids us cease from it, or deprives it of its fruit and effect, we should immediately tranquilly cease, and patiently allow our work and toil to lack its end and fruit. For what is our aim, save to do the will of God, and in all things to confirm ourselves to it? But now the will of God is, that thou shouldest resign, yea destroy, the work thou hast begun. Acquiesce then in it. Else thou servest not the will of God, but thine own fancy and cupidity. And herein consists the perfection of the holy soul, that, in all acts and events, adverse or prosperous, it should with full resignation resign itself most humbly and entirely to God, and acquiesce, happen what will, yea, and rejoice that the will of God is fulfilled in this thing, and say with holy Job, "The Lord gave, The Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord" Ignatius had so transferred his own will into the will of God, that the said, 'If perchance the society, which I have begun and furthered with such toil, should be dissolved or perish, after passing half an hour in prayer, I should, by God's help, have no trouble from this thing, than which none sadder could befall me.' The saints let themselves be turned this way and that, round and round, by the will of God, as a horse by its rider."
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth Matthew 5:5 We are now got to the third step leading in the way to blessedness, Christian meekness. Blessed are the meek'. See how the Spirit of God adorns the hidden man of the heart, with multiplicity of graces! The workmanship of the Holy Ghost is not only curious, but various. It makes the heart meek, pure, peaceable etc. The graces therefore are compared to needlework, which is different and various in its flowers and colours (Psalm 45:14). …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
'Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast.
"For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh.
So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk.
When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
Then 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.
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