He believed that because of their decision to repent they were given a postponement of the disaster, but that the effects of the wrath would occur if they did not display works of repentance commensurate with their sins. After all, why should three days effort benefit people who were buried in every form of wrongdoing and guilty of such dreadful sins? It was probably with thoughts like this within him that he left the city, waiting to see what would happen to them. He expected, in fact, that it perhaps be shaken and collapse, or be burnt to the ground like Sodom.
Jonah understood that Israel would be destroyed. For the Lord did not say, "You are angered evilly," lest He seem to blame the saddened man; on the other hand, He did not say, "You are angered rightly," lest He be contrary to His own sentence. Therefore, He questions him concerning the causes of his grief, in order that he may answer, or if he were silent, he may by his silence confirm the judgment of God.
LXX: 'The Lord replied to Jonah, are you so much afflicted?' The Hebrew word hara lach can be translated as 'are you annoyed?' and are you afflicted?'. And each one pertains to the prophet and to the Lord: either he is annoyed and fears appearing a liar to the inhabitants of Nineveh, or he is afflicted, knowing that Israel is going to be destroyed. And with reason God does not say to him: 'you are wrong to get angry' or 'to be afflicted', not wanting to reprehend one suffering, nor does he say, 'you have reason to be angry or afflicted', so as not to contradict his former sentence. But he asks him whether he is angry or afflicted so that he replies the causes of his anger or suffering, or even, if he remains quiet, so that God's truth can be proved by his silence.