The Book of Jonah does not end with the repentance of Nineveh (Jon 4,5-11). Yahweh is still working to teach His missionary Jonah, His lessons. He did not catch the point of the storm, the sailors, the fish and Nineveh’s conversion because he did not want to. Now Yahweh tries one more approach – the miraculous plant. A plant springs up quickly, offers Jonah protection against the scorching sun, but quickly withers and dies, the victim of an attacking worm. Jonah is peeved.
At this point Yahweh again turns to Jonah, using the tree as His object lesson. The very God who directs the whole course of history, who rules the wind and the waves and turned Nineveh’s people to repentance, is now approaching Jonah with the example of a plant which sprouted suddenly and withered the next day (Jon 4,9-11). The message is Yahweh spares and rescues. Zion’s God is Nineveh’s as well. This missionary question is still a valid theme for reflection even to the present generation Christians with regard to the salvation of the world.