A Meditation: On Judges 9:8-15 // The Allegory Of The Trees //
by Matheus Yuhlung
“The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’ And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’ And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’ Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’” – Judges 9:8-15
What is the fate of bramble? It is that it will be burned. And the trees went over to bramble to lord him over themselves. Have you ever wondered why the olive tree, fig tree and the vine decline the invitation to become a king? Were they fools who couldn’t seize the opportunity of being the royal highness? No! They were wise in not accepting. They were mindful of their business. They were well aware that the throne belonged to the creator only.
This allegory is the first allegory ever to be presented in the Bible. It was spoken by Jotham; considering the corrupt way in which Abimelech was made king. But what relevance does it hold today?
The allegory was spoken in the same breath along with the ever recurring theme of the old testament i.e. of man’s propensity to substitute God with other inferior gods. The times haven’t changed much.
In this era of trust issues and bleak morality, I have often found myself running after friends. Bending the Bible one way or the other to suit my current comforts; often worrying that if I don’t blend along with people around me I’d end up being alone. But the truth is that all security (be it social, financial et cetera) is a false sense of security if God is not there.
Israel was very specifically instructed that the Lord was their God and they shall have no one beside Him; but they begged for a mortal king just like the other nations had. They wanted a king that would lead them into battle – but sadly they couldn’t understand that their king was of no use if God choose not to lead them in the first place.
It is sad, but true. But the heart is deceitful of all; so I keep checking it time in and time out that it won’t let a bramble lord over me. Let the fact that we are God’s property stay ever fresh in our minds. Let the bramble meet its own fate alone. We have a different calling all together. Let God be our only security.
Photo Credit: oaksavannas.org