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Summary: Some very valuable lessons come from looking at the traits of the ageless olive tree.

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Judges 9:8-9 KJV The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. [9] But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

I. INTRODUCTION—BACKGROUND OF THE PARABLE

-Leading up to the text that we read is a miserable tale. Gideon is dead and Israel almost immediately reverts back to her idolatrous ways. Prior to Gideon’s death, his victory made the people offer to him the role of a king. However he insisted that Israel remain a theocracy instead of becoming a monarchy (8:22) and then promptly went and acted like a king.

• He amassed a fortune—8:26.

• He acquired royal robes and took an ephod to consult God—8:27.

• He made his worst mistake when he formed a large harem and begin to have children—8:30.

-Gideon’s ephod was what created the difficulty. You would think that after Gideon had torn down his father’s altar to Baal, he would have recognized the danger of putting something before Israel that could be served for idolatrous purposes.

-His dangerous device was formed from gold and contained all of the trappings of the ephod. His son, Abimilech, was carefully taking notice of his actions and what his father took in moderation; the son took in excess and took Israel a long way down the wrong path.

-Abimilech sets himself up as an impromptu leader over his seventy brothers. There is a maddening hungry ambition about him to be a king. He will resort to all manner of mayhem to capture the place of ruler-ship that his father had achieved.

-To eliminate the competition from his brothers, he hires some mercenaries and they go out to kill his brothers and manage to wreak a bloody calamity on them. All of the brothers are slain except for one named Jotham who manages to barely escape.

-Jotham takes flight to Mount Gerizim which had been a place to pronounce blessings but on this day the opposite would occur. Apparently an amphitheater of sorts, Jotham climbs its eight hundred feet to the summit and then uses the great acoustics to address Israel.

-He tells them a story of the trees in the forest that want a king. They approach the olive tree that turns it down, and then fig tree that turns it down, and then the grape vine turns it down leaving only a bramble bush to be the king over the forest.

-The bramble is a far lesser plant than all of the other trees. In fact it is a menace to agriculture and its only good use was to be burned. Yet it was to be crowned as the king of the trees.

-The point of Jotham’s parable became clear in that all of the other brothers would have served in the role Gideon had vacated rather than Abimilech who had bramble bush qualities about him. But despite that speech, Abimilech became the “bramble king” for a short period of time over Israel.

-Just in passing, notice that the least qualified are generally the most ambitious. It is the under-equipped who often think they have the capacity and power to rule those who really ought to be leading them. Small men are often the most ambitious and for what they lack in character they make up in noise and overt displays of raw power.


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