New International Version
"Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, 'Come and be our king.'
King James Bible
Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.
Darby Bible Translation
Then said all the trees to the thorn-bush, Come thou, reign over us.
World English Bible
"Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'Come and reign over us.'
Young's Literal Translation
And all the trees say unto the bramble, Come thou, reign over us.
Judges 9:14 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Then said all the trees unto the bramble - The word אטד atad, which we translate bramble, is supposed to mean the rhamnus, which is the largest of thorns, producing dreadful spikes, similar to darts. See Theodoret on Psalm 58:10. There is much of the moral of this fable contained in the different kinds of trees mentioned.
1. The olive; the most profitable tree to its owner, having few equals either for food or medicine.
2. The fig tree; one of the most fruitful of trees, and yielding one of the most delicious fruits, and superior to all others for sweetness.
3. The vine, which alone yields a liquor that, when properly prepared, and taken in strict moderation, is friendly both to the body and mind of man, having a most direct tendency to invigorate both.
4. The bramble or thorn, which, however useful as a hedge, is dangerous to come near; and is here the emblem of an impious, cruel, and oppressive king.
As the olive, fig, and vine, are said in this fable to refuse the royalty, because in consequence, they intimate, they should lose their own privileges, we learn that to be invested with power for the public good can be no privilege to the sovereign. If he discharge the office faithfully, it will plant his pillow with thorns, fill his soul with anxious cares, rob him of rest and quiet, and, in a word, will be to him a source of distress and misery. All this is represented here under the emblem of the trees losing their fatness, their sweetness and good fruits, and their cheering influence. In short, we see from this most sensible fable that the beneficent, benevolent, and highly illuminated mind, is ever averse from the love of power; and that those who do seek it are the thoughtless, the vain, the ambitious, and those who wish for power merely for the purpose of self-gratification; persons who have neither the disposition nor the knowledge to use power for the advantage of the community; and who, while they boast great things, and make great pretensions and promises, are the tyrants of the people, and often through their ambition, like the bramble in the fable kindle a flame of foreign or domestic war, in which their subjects are consumed. The sleepless nights and corroding cares of sovereignty, are most forcibly described by a poet of our own, whose equal in describing the inward workings of the human heart, in all varieties of character and circumstances, has never appeared either in ancient or modern times. Hear what he puts in the mouth of two of his care-worn kings: -
"How many thousand of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep? - Sleep, gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse! how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
bramble. or thistle
LibraryHere, by Way of Objection, Several Questions are Raised. ...
Here, by way of objection, several questions are raised. Scripture relates that God sometimes complied with certain prayers which had been dictated by minds not duly calmed or regulated. It is true, that the cause for which Jotham imprecated on the inhabitants of Shechem the disaster which afterwards befell them was well founded; but still he was inflamed with anger and revenge (Judges 9:20); and hence God, by complying with the execration, seems to approve of passionate impulses. Similar fervour …
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith
The Hebrew Sages and their Proverbs
"But the vine answered, 'Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?'
"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!'
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