Judges 9:16
Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;
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(16) Now therefore.—Here follows the epimuthion. or application of the fable. Judges 9:16-18 are the protasis of the sentence, which is a long and parenthetic series of premisses; the conclusion, or apodosis, follows in Judges 9:19.

If ye have done truly and sincerely.—A bitterly ironical supposition with a side glance at the phrase used by the bramble (see Judges 9:15).

Jdg 9:16. Now therefore if ye have done truly and sincerely, &c. — In these and the following words, Jotham applies his parable to the Shechemites, and signifies, if they had dealt sincerely, and done that which was right to the family of Gideon, in slaying all his legitimate sons, and making the son of his concubine their king, that then he wished they might be happy in Abimelech as their king; but if they had done that which was unjust and ungenerous, (as they certainly had,) he prays that mutual jealousies might break out between them, and that they might plague, injure, and destroy each other. And this prayer, we find, was heard, for it is said expressly in the 23d verse, that within three years God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech.

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.These verses contain the interpretation of the fable. In them Jotham points out the base ingratitude of the people in raising Abimelech upon the ruin of Gideon's house, and foretells the retribution which would fall upon both parties. 13. wine, which cheereth God and man—not certainly in the same manner. God might be said to be "cheered" by it, when the sacrifices were accepted, as He is said also to be honored by oil (Jud 9:9). No text from Poole on this verse.

Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king,.... If they had done this conscientiously, and in the uprightness of their hearts, to take such a base man, and a murderer, and make him their king, which Jotham doubted, and put it in this manner to them, that they might consider of it themselves:

if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal, and his house; if they could think so, which surely they could not, when they reflected upon the murder of his family they had consented to:

and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; to his memory, and to his family, according to the merit of his works which he had performed on their account, next mentioned.

Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;
Verses 16-20. - Now therefore, etc. The fable being ended, now comes the forcible and bitter application. The simple reference to Gideon's great actions, and the juxtaposition of the base and bloody deed in which the Shechemites and the men of the house of Millo had made themselves accomplices by choosing Abimelech for their king, formed an indictment which could not be answered. With lofty scorn and irony he wishes well to them if they had acted honourably; but if not, he predicts the inevitable Nemesis of an alliance founded in bloodshed and treachery and wrong, viz., the mutual hatred and destruction of the contracting parties. Observe how "the house of Millo" is consistently spoken of as a separate community from "the men of Shechem." Judges 9:16In Judges 9:16-20 Jotham gives the application of his fable, for there was no necessity for any special explanation of it, since it was perfectly clear and intelligible in itself. These verses form a long period, the first half of which is so extended by the insertion of parentheses introduced as explanations (Judges 9:17, Judges 9:18), that the commencement of it (Judges 9:16) is taken up again in Judges 9:19 for the purpose of attaching the apodosis. "If ye have acted in truth and sincerity, and (i.e., when he) made Abimelech king; if ye have done well to Jerubbaal and his house, and if ye have done to him according to the doing of his hands ... as my father fought for you ... but ye have risen up to-day against my father's house, and have slain ... if (I say) ye have acted in truth and sincerity to Jerubbaal and his house this day: then rejoice in Abimelech ...." נפשׁו השׁליך, to throw away his life, i.e., expose to death. מנּגד, "from before him," serves to strengthen the השׁליך. Jotham imputes the slaying of his brothers to the citizens of Shechem, as a crime which they themselves had committed (Judges 9:18), because they had given Abimelech money out of their temple of Baal to carry out his designs against the sons of Jerubbaal (Judges 9:4). In this reproach he had, strictly speaking, already pronounced sentence upon their doings. When, therefore, he proceeds still further in Judges 9:19, "If ye have acted in truth towards Jerubbaal ... then rejoice," etc., this turn contains the bitterest scorn at the faithlessness manifested towards Jerubbaal. In that case nothing could follow but the fulfilment of the threat and the bursting forth of the fire. In carrying out this point the application goes beyond the actual meaning of the parable itself. Not only will fire go forth from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and the inhabitants of Millo, but fire will also go forth from them and devour Abimelech himself. The fulfilment of this threat was not long delayed, as the following history shows (Judges 9:23.).
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