Judges 9:8
Parallel Verses
New International Version
One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.'

New Living Translation
Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king. First they said to the olive tree, 'Be our king!'

English Standard Version
The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’

New American Standard Bible
"Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us!'

King James Bible
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The trees set out to anoint a king over themselves. They said to the olive tree, "Reign over us."

International Standard Version
"Once upon a time the trees went out to consecrate a king for themselves. "So they told the olive tree, 'Reign over us!'

NET Bible
"The trees were determined to go out and choose a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king!'

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"The trees went to anoint someone to be king over them. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king!'

Jubilee Bible 2000
The trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

King James 2000 Bible
The trees went forth once to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign you over us.

American King James Version
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign you over us.

American Standard Version
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree, Reign thou over us.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The trees went to anoint a king over them: and they said to the olive tree: Reign thou over us.

Darby Bible Translation
The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive-tree, Reign over us.

English Revised Version
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

Webster's Bible Translation
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive-tree, Reign thou over us.

World English Bible
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.'

Young's Literal Translation
'The trees have diligently gone to anoint over them a king, and they say to the olive, Reign thou over us.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

9:7-21 There was no occasion for the trees to choose a king, they are all the trees of the Lord which he has planted. Nor was there any occasion for Israel to set a king over them, for the Lord was their King. Those who bear fruit for the public good, are justly respected and honoured by all that are wise, more than those who merely make a figure. All these fruit-trees gave much the same reason for their refusal to be promoted over the trees; or, as the margin reads it, to go up and down for the trees. To rule, involves a man in a great deal both of toil and care. Those who are preferred to public trust and power, must forego all private interests and advantages, for the good of others. And those advanced to honour and dignity, are in great danger of losing their fruitfulness. For which reason, they that desire to do good, are afraid of being too great. Jotham compares Abimelech to the bramble or thistle, a worthless plant, whose end is to be burned. Such a one was Abimelech.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 8. - The trees, etc. This is the earliest example of a fable in Scripture; indeed the only one except that in 2 Kings 14:9. It is remarked that in the Indian and Greek fables the animals are the dramatis personae, the fox, the lion, the ass, etc.; whereas in the only two specimens of Hebrew fable remaining to us, the members of the vegetable kingdom, the olive, the fig, the vine, the bramble, the cedar, the thistle, are the actors and speakers. The parable, of which Isaiah 5:1-7 is a beautiful example, is quite different in its structure. Like the inimitable parables of our Saviour in the New Testament, it sets forth Divine troth under an image, but the image and all its parts are in strict accordance with nature. In the Scripture allegory real persons and their actions prefigure the actions and the persons which they are intended to represent (see Matthew 12:39, 40; Galatians 4:21-31; Hebrews 11:19). Allegorical personages may, however, be fictitious, as in the 'Pilgrim's Progress.' The general meaning of this fable is clear. The trees worthy to reign for their intrinsic excellence refused the proffered kingdom one after another. The vilest and most unworthy accepted it. The result would be that a fire would burst out from the despicable bramble, and set fire to the lofty cedar tree. Thus Gideon refused the kingdom, and his sons had virtually refused it likewise. The base-born Abimelech had accepted it, and the result would be a deadly strife, which would destroy both the ungrateful subjects and the unworthy ruler.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them,.... This is an apologue or fable, and a very fine and beautiful one; it is fitly expressed to answer the design, and the most ancient of the kind, being made seven hundred years before the times of Aesop, so famous for his fables, and exceeds anything written by him. By the trees are meant the people of Israel in general, and the Shechemites in particular, who had been for some time very desirous of a king, but could not persuade any of their great and good men to accept of that office:

and they said unto the olive tree, reign thou over us; a fit emblem of a good man, endowed with excellent virtues and qualifications for good, as David king of Israel, who is compared to such a tree, Psalm 52:8, Jarchi applies this to Othniel the first judge; but it may be better applied to Gideon, an excellent good man, full of fruits of righteousness, and eminently useful, and to whom kingly government was offered, and was refused by him; and the men of Shechem could scarcely fail of thinking of him, and applying it to him, as Jotham was delivering his fable.



Judges 9:8 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jotham's Parable
7Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out. Thus he said to them, "Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8"Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us!' 9"But the olive tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?'…
Cross References
Judges 9:7
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.

Judges 9:9
"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?'

2 Kings 14:9
But Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah: "A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot.

2 Chronicles 25:18
But Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah: "A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot.
Treasury of Scripture

The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign you over us.

the trees. This is the most ancient fable or apologue extant; and is extremely beautiful, apposite, and intelligible.

2 Kings 14:9 And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying…

Ezekiel 17:3 And say, Thus said the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, …

Daniel 4:10 Thus were the visions of my head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree …

olive tree. The zayith or olive tree, in the Linnean system, is a genus of the diandra monogynia class of plants. It is of a moderate height, and grows best in sunny places. Its trunk is knotty; bark smooth, of an ash colour: wood solid and yellowish; leaves oblong, almost like those of the willow, of a dark green colour on the upper side, and whitish below. In June it puts forth white flowers, growing in bunches, each of one piece, widening towards the top, and dividing into four parts. After this succeeds the fruit, which is oblong and plump; first green, then pale, and when quite ripe, black. Within it is enclosed a hard stone, filled with oblong seeds. It was the most useful of all trees in the forest; as the bramble was the meanest and most worthless. reign

Judges 8:22,23 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule you over us, both you, …

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