Jotham’s Parable about the Trees

‘ The Parable of the Trees ‘ When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king. “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees? “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king. “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees? “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king. “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees? “Finally all the trees said to the thorn bush, ‘Come and be our king. “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

Gideon has 70 sons, and Jotham was the only survivor who wasn’t murdered by Abimelech. He spoke wholeheartedly to the people of Israel and told them this parable. His parabolic message was about his father, brothers, and half-brother, Abimelech, which he compared to the “thornbush. The group of trees (the Israelites) approached the Olive tree (Gideon) to rule over them. But the Olive tree refuses to rule over them. In Judges 8: 22-23, the Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us- you, your son and your grandson- because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you”. Gideon never lost sight of the importance of putting God first for both a nation and an individual. Gideon’s words about his sons (fig tree) and his grandsons (the vine) are that they will not rule over them. Then, here comes the thornbush (Abimelech), the son of the slave girl, who self-declared himself as king and did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Jotham told the parabolic story to the people of Israel for them to see what kind of king they’d appoint and choose to ask. He wanted the Israelites to know and realize that their chosen king was of low character with selfish motives such as power and prestige. Abimelech was the ruthless, cold-hearted, and overconfident self-declared king. He only ruled for 3 years before God made it known that evil ways wouldn’t last long. Later on, he was killed by a woman, and Jotham’s curse came onto the people of Israel (Judges 9:56, 57). Lesson: God is the ruler and the King of our lives. 

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