Judges 9:15
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade, but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’

King James Bible
And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

American Standard Version
And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And it answered them: If indeed you mean to make me king, come ye and rest under my shadow: but if you mean it not, let fire come out from the bramble, and devour the cedars of Libanus.

English Revised Version
And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

Judges 9:15 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

When Jotham, who had escaped after the murder, was told of the election which had taken place, he went to the top of Mount Gerizim, which rises as a steep wall of rock to the height of about 800 feet above the valley of Shechem on the south side of the city (Rob. iii. p. 96), and cried with a loud voice, "Hearken to me, ye lords of Shechem, and God will also hearken to you." After this appeal, which calls to mind the language of the prophets, he uttered aloud a fable of the trees which wanted to anoint a king over them-a fable of true prophetic significance, and the earliest with which we are acquainted (Judges 9:8-15). To the appeal which is made to them in succession to become king over the trees, the olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine all reply: Shall we give up our calling, to bear valuable fruits for the good and enjoyment of God and men, and soar above the other trees? The briar, however, to which the trees turn last of all, is delighted at the unexpected honour that is offered it, and says, "Will ye in truth anoint me king over you? Then come and trust in my shadow; but if not, let fire go out of the briar and consume the cedars of Lebanon." The rare form מלוכה (Chethib, Judges 9:8, Judges 9:12) also occurs in 1 Samuel 28:8; Isaiah 32:11; Psalm 26:2 : see Ewald, 228, b.). מלכי (Judges 9:10) is also rare (see Ewald, 226, b). The form החדלתּי (Judges 9:9, Judges 9:11, Judges 9:13), which is quite unique, is not "Hophal or Hiphil, compounded of ההחד or ההחד" (Ewald, 51, c), for neither the Hophal nor the Hiphil of חדל occurs anywhere else; but it is a simple Kal, and the obscure o sound is chosen instead of the a sound for the sake of euphony, i.e., to assist the pronunciation of the guttural syllables which follow one after another. The meaning of the fable is very easy to understand. The olive tree, fig tree, and vine do not represent different historical persons, such as the judges Othniel, Deborah, and Gideon, as the Rabbins affirm, but in a perfectly general way the nobler families or persons who bring forth fruit and blessing in the calling appointed them by God, and promote the prosperity of the people and kingdom in a manner that is well-pleasing to God and men. Oil, figs, and wine were the most valuable productions of the land of Canaan, whereas the briar was good for nothing but to burn. The noble fruit-trees would not tear themselves from the soil in which they had been planted and had borne fruit, to soar (נוּע, float about) above the trees, i.e., not merely to rule over the trees, but obire et circumagi in rebus eorum curandis. נוּע includes the idea of restlessness and insecurity of existence. The explanation given in the Berleb. Bible, "We have here what it is to be a king, to reign or be lord over many others, namely, very frequently to do nothing else than float about in such restlessness and distraction of thoughts, feelings, and desires, that very little good or sweet fruit ever falls to the ground," if not a truth without exception so far as royalty is concerned, is at all events perfectly true in relation to what Abimelech aimed at and attained, to be a king by the will of the people and not by the grace of God. Wherever the Lord does not found the monarchy, or the king himself does not lay the foundations of his government in God and the grace of God, he is never anything but a tree, moving about above other trees without a firm root in a fruitful soil, utterly unable to bear fruit to the glory of God and the good of men. The expression "all the trees" is to be carefully noticed in Judges 9:14. "All the trees" say to the briar, Be king over us, whereas in the previous verse only "the trees" are mentioned. This implies that of all the trees not one was willing to be king himself, but that they were unanimous in transferring the honour to the briar. The briar, which has nothing but thorns upon it, and does not even cast sufficient shadow for any one to lie down in its shadow and protect himself from the burning heat of the sun, is an admirable simile for a worthless man, who can do nothing but harm. The words of the briar, "Trust in my shadow," seek refuge there, contain a deep irony, the truth of which the Shechemites were very soon to discover. "And if not," i.e., if ye do not find the protection you expect, fire will go out of the briar and consume the cedars of Lebanon, the largest and noblest trees. Thorns easily catch fire (see Exodus 22:5). The most insignificant and most worthless man can be the cause of harm to the mightiest and most distinguished.

Judges 9:15 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

shadow

Isaiah 30:2 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh...

Daniel 4:12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it...

Hosea 14:7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine...

Matthew 13:32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree...

let fire

Judges 9:20,49 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo...

Numbers 21:28 For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it has consumed Ar of Moab...

Isaiah 1:31 And the strong shall be as wick, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them.

Ezekiel 19:14 And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which has devoured her fruit, so that she has no strong rod to be a scepter to rule...

the cedars

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

Psalm 104:16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he has planted;

Isaiah 2:13 And on all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and on all the oaks of Bashan,

Isaiah 37:24 By your servants have you reproached the Lord, and have said, By the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains...

Ezekiel 31:3 Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature...

Cross References
Judges 9:14
Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come and reign over us.'

Judges 9:16
"Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and integrity when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house and have done to him as his deeds deserved--

Psalm 29:5
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

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