The Fable Of The Trees
In Judges 9:7-15, Jotham gave the men of Shechem a fable to rebuke them for their actions in making Abimelech king over them. In this fable, the trees decided to anoint one of their own to be their king. First they went to the olive tree, vs. 8-9, which refused to leave its fatness. Olive oil is a rich oil which God and man honor. Next they went to the fig tree, vs. 10-11, which refused to leave its “sweetness”, or good fruit. Then the (grape) vine was offered the post, vs. 12-13, but it too refused. So, the trees said to the bramble, vs. 14, how about if you come and reign over us? The bramble is a thorn bush that has very few leaves. The bramble said, OK, if you make me king, then “come and put your trust in my shadow”. The irony was unmistakable. How can you find shade under a thorn bush that hardly has any leaves? So, when all the trees said I don’t want to lead, the people had to settle for what they got. Today, like back then, we see we often get the leaders we deserve. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Christians can pay a heavy price for indifference to their community, national, or church affairs when they refuse to get involved. So, we see in the fable, the apostasy of an unthankful people, the arrogance of an ungodly leader, and the apathy of an uncommitted people. That would preach about America today! There were prophetic implications for Israel in this fable. First, the three trees represented here were the three most common trees of Israel. The olive tree represented Israel’s salvation. Romans 11 speaks of the olive tree representing salvation, and of how God has not cast off Israel, and of how we as Gentiles can be “grafted into the tree” through Jesus. The fig tree represented Israel as a nation. When the fig tree is spoken of in scripture it is always speaking of Israel as a nation. The grape vine represented Israel’s spiritual state, as Isaiah 5 describes. God desired to be Israel’s king. He gave them the privilege to worship Him through prescribed religious practices (pictured in the olive tree). He gave them the privilege of being a nation in His sight (pictured in the fig tree). And finally, He gave them the privilege of having a personal relationship with Him (pictured in the vine). Jesus now describes Himself in John 15:5 as “the vine”, and said “we are the branches”. He was the “true vine” who fulfilled the destiny to which Israel was called. The trees, meaning Israel, were meant to rule over the world under God’s absolute authority. But sadly they wanted an earthly king just like the rest of the world and refused to take their place of authority in any capacity offered by God. Their rebellion resulted in their expulsion from the land God gave them and of centuries of being dispersed before being called back to their God-given land in these last days. They are now in the land of Israel to stay until Jesus returns. Now, consider the bramble, or thorn. It bears no fruit, and is the product of the curse in Genesis 3:18 pronounced by God on mankind after the fall in the Garden. It is so low to the ground that one has to bow down to get under its shadow. And think of the false gift it boasts of. You can almost hear the devil speaking those words when the bramble said, “Then come and put your trust in my shadow”. What shadow? What kind of shelter can be found under a tree that hardly has any leaves, only thorns? It is more likely to hurt, injure, and suppress than to comfort, heal or protect! It is a worthless plant whose ambition was to dominate. I believe the bramble was a fore-shadow of the antichrist, the one Israel will eventually accept as their king. Jesus, when speaking about the antichrist, said in John 5:43 to Israel, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Can you see the symbolism of the crown of thorns being placed on Jesus’ head, as the devil’s ruler, the thorn tree, tries to destroy Israel’s true King? Israel will accept the antichrist as their king during the tribulation when he comes, because Romans 11:25 says that, “blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in”. They will finally get their eyes opened, and accept their King, Jesus, but not until He comes to rescue them from certain destruction at the end of the tribulation period, at what we call the Second coming. What king are you going to allow to rule you; Jesus, or the devil’s soon coming counterfeit, the antichrist? If you won’t accept Jesus as your Savior and King now, you will be deceived into accepting the false one that will soon come on the scene! We are ripe to be deceived again. Don’t believe me! Consider we were blind enough to elect Barak Obama as our leader twice!