Summary: Life is full of choices and the decision you make decides your destiny. We, as children of God, must learn to make wise choices.
7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: “Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you!
8 “The trees once 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, ‘Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’
10 “Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’
11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?’
12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us!’
13 But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men,
And go to sway over trees?’
14 “Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us!’
15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’
This is the first parable in the Bible.
There was a son of Gideon, the judge of Israel, named Abimelech who was born through the concubine of Gidoen. This fact that he was not among the 70 sons of Gideon who were the offspring of Gideon’s wife blocked his desire for rulership. He realized that if any of the 70 sons remained alive, he had no chance of becoming a ruler. He got support from the Shechemites, the people of his mother, and killed the 70 sons of Gideon on one stone (Judges 9:5). However, Jotham, the youngest one, escaped. Now, Abimelech was crowned the king by the Shechemites. When Jotham heard about this, he put forward the parable.
Trees decide to have a king over them. This decision itself was an unwise one since trees need no king over them.
They first approach a very valuable and important tree.
Olive tree – Olive was the main crop of ancient Israel. These olives were used to crush valuable olive oil out. Olive oil was used for cooking, fuel for lamps and soothing lotion for the skin. Kings and priests were anointed in ancient Israel with this oil. The emblem of Israel has two olive branches on both sides of the menorah.
However, the olive tree declines the offer.
Next, they approach the fig tree
Fig was an important fruit in ancient Israel. Amos 7:14 – It stands a symbol of peace and prosperity. It was a food to eat as well.
The fig also turns down the offer.
Next, the trees go the vine. Vine is a plant and not a tree. Now they left the trees and approach a plant to be a king over the trees.
Though a plant, vine had its own importance. Wine was pruned each spring. At the time of harvest, the grapes were picked to trodden out of wine press. Jesus refers to Himself as true vine and we, its branches (John 15:1) since the hearers of His time new the importance of it.
Here, in the parable, a temptation was set before an olive tree, fig tree and vine. Even the deep-rooted olive tree was not spared from temptation.
We too may be rooted deep spiritually and serve God in one way or other, but, remember that we are too subject to temptation.
Temptation by Satan mostly comes as sweet offers blinding us to the trap behind it. The temptation here was a kingdom, a throne, a crown, a sovereignty over other trees. There came a request from other trees, “Reign over us.” To rule over others is a very strong temptation. Many fall for power, fame and money.
Even today, we can see many Christians missing to give their time to God, to hear the Word and grow in His grace just to spend that time to make more money.
However, when the offer come to the olive tree, it gives a thought.
Judges 9:9 - But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I cease giving my oil, with which they honor God and men, and go to sway over trees?’
Should I? meaning Is it right? Is it wise? Is it God’s will?
There are 1000 things which may seem right in the world, but the question is: As a Christian, should I? One wrong decision in life (be it in marriage, job, business and contract) may make you regret it for the rest of your life.