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God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, capital of Assyria, and tell the people to repent or He will destroy them. Jonah keeps refusing and escaping, but God steers him back to his mission every time. Finally he warns Nineveh and they repent, so God spares them.

Jonah is displeased and wishes he were dead!

O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. [Jonah 4:1-3]

Why? Is it because Assyria was the cruel warlike enemy of Israel and Jonah wanted it destroyed? Or because Jonah did not believe in repentance and wanted Nineveh destroyed for their misdeeds? This would explain his reluctance to take on the mission in the first place.

Is this discussed anywhere?

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Yonah didn't want to tell Nineveh to do teshuva, because he knew that if they would do teshuva (as they ended up doing), and then if the Jews don't do teshuva (and they had multiple prophets), they would get punished.

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  • Thanks. Does he cite sources? Jun 12, 2020 at 14:00
  • Midrash Tanchuma (Vayikra, 8). Jun 12, 2020 at 14:20
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(1)Is it because Assyria was the cruel warlike enemy of Israel and Jonah wanted it destroyed? (2)Or because Jonah did not believe in repentance and wanted Nineveh destroyed for their misdeeds?

Most of the Rishonim give the explanation. as being (1). Yonah realized that their Teshuva would cause them to remain around and ultimately fight against and cause destruction to Klal Yisroel.

There is also an opinion that says a variation of (2).Of course Yonah believed in and valued Teshuva. However he pointed out that in certain ways their Teshuva had been deficient, (they were still idolaters and enemies of Israel) Therefore he was upset that Hashem accepted their Teshuva which would ultimately allow them to cause destruction to Klal Yisroel

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  • Why "of course"? Do you have any sources/references for your assertions?
    – magicker72
    Jun 12, 2020 at 16:20
  • Do I need a source for something so obvious? Does it make any sense at all that Hashem would have sent someone who doesn't believe in and value Teshuva to tell the people in Ninveh to do it?Did he become a Navi without believing and valuing something in the Torah?etc?
    – Schmerel
    Jun 12, 2020 at 16:32
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    It's sensible that Yonah knows that God forgives with repentance, but it's not obvious that he believes that it's correct to do so. Why God picks a particular prophet is out of scope, here.
    – magicker72
    Jun 12, 2020 at 17:24

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