Summary: Why does David compare himself to a olive tree? Olive trees have got lot of significance in early Israel. Olive trees are one of the most familiar trees in the entire Middle East. A bread and olive oil, often dipped first into a mixture of herbs and salt would make a simple Palestinian breakfast.

Psalm 52:8 - I am like a green olive tree in the house of God

Here, David declares of himself that he was a green olive tree in the house of God.

To understand this verse, we need to understand:

A. The background of the psalm

B. The significance of olive trees

A. Background of Psalm 52.

Psalm 52 is a painful prayer of David who felt responsible for the evil that was thrust upon others, leading to their death (1 Samuel 21:1-9; 1 Sam 22:6-23). When running away from Saul to the land of the Philistines, David visited a kind priest, Ahimelech, who fed him and unwittingly armed him (1 Sam 21:7-9). This was brought to the notice of Saul by Doeg the Edomite, the chief herdsmen of Saul. Saul then ordered Doeg to execute the priest, his family, and other known priests in the town of Nob, leading to the death of eighty-five priests. Only Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, escaped. If that wasn’t enough, Doeg also struck the men and women of the town, its children and nursing infants, and its oxen, donkeys and sheep. (1 Sam 22:18-22)

It was in this troublesome situation that David penned this intense, wrenching, and painful psalm, only psalm to cover the massacre at Nob. David was troubled by the boldness of the wicked people to boast of evil.

The title of the Psalm - To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of David when Doeg the Edomite went and told Saul, and said to him, “David has gone to the house of Ahimelech.”

Ps 52:5 – He was confident that God is righteous and would uproot the wicked from the land.

Psalm 37:6 - He will bring forth your righteousness like the dawn, your justice like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men prosper in their ways, when they carry out wicked schemes

However, he contrasts the fate of the wicked with the hope that he had.

Psalm 52: 8 - But I [am] like a green olive tree in the house of God

Why does David compare himself to the olive tree? Olive trees have got lot of significance in early Israel. Olive trees are one of the most familiar trees in the entire Middle East. A bread and olive oil, often dipped first into a spicy mixture of herbs and salt would make a Palestinian simple breakfast. Bible makes several mentions of the olive with about 25 references to the olive tree and more than 160 references to the oil.

Olives are very attractive trees

Hosea 14:6 - His branches shall spread; His beauty shall be like an olive tree, And his fragrance like Lebanon

Psalm 128:3 - Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table.

The olive tree with its green leaves contrasts the dry, brown hills during the dry seasons. Their leaves are evergreen - dark blue green above and grey beneath. In the dry season, a slight breeze makes the trees appear silverish and gleams the hillsides.

B. Significance of olive tree:

1. Long-lasting

Olive tree were one of the most abundant, valuable, and characteristic vegetation of Palestine - both in biblical times and even today. Almost every village owned an olive grove.

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land… a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey…”- Deuteronomy 8.7-8

Olive trees grow slowly but can easily live to many hundred years old. The age of the oldest verified trees is still debatable. Radiocarbon dating records an olive tree in Algarve, Portugal, as 2000 years old. It is believed that there are many 2000-year-old trees, including many in Israel and Galilee today which are nearly 3000 years old and still continue to produce fruit!

In Israel, sometimes guides will tell tourists in the Garden of Gethsemane that the olive trees next to the Church of All Nations are 2000 years old, and are standing there from the time Jesus prayed in that very garden.

Regardless, these trees certainly have very long lifespans! An olive tree easily attains an age of several centuries if left undisturbed.

The root system of an olive tree can be massive because these trees grow quite large and wide. In contrast to the weak plant of the wicked enemy, which is easily uprooted, there is nothing which is going to remove the massive olive tree!

This was the confidence that David had!

Matthew 13:43 - Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

2. Shoot out even if destroyed

Throughout the Bible, olive trees are featured prominently. Olive trees are first mentioned in Genesis 8.11, where the dove came with an olive leaf in its beak, signifying that dry land existed:

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