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Judges 9:7-19

Context
Jotham’s Parable

9:7 When Jotham heard the news, 1  he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim. He spoke loudly to the people below, 2  “Listen to me, leaders of Shechem, so that God may listen to you!

9:8 “The trees were determined to go out 3  and choose a king for themselves. 4  They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’ 5  9:9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘I am not going to stop producing my oil, which is used to honor gods and men, just to sway above the other trees!’ 6 

9:10 “So the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and be our king!’ 7  9:11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘I am not going to stop producing my sweet figs, my excellent fruit, just to sway above the other trees!’ 8 

9:12 “So the trees said to the grapevine, ‘You come and be our king!’ 9  9:13 But the grapevine said to them, ‘I am not going to stop producing my wine, which makes gods and men so happy, just to sway above the other trees!’ 10 

9:14 “So all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘You come and be our king!’ 11  9:15 The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to choose 12  me as your king, then come along, find safety under my branches! 13  Otherwise 14  may fire blaze from the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

9:16 “Now, if you have shown loyalty and integrity when you made Abimelech king, if you have done right to Jerub-Baal and his family, 15  if you have properly repaid him 16 9:17 my father fought for you; he risked his life 17  and delivered you from Midian’s power. 18  9:18 But you have attacked 19  my father’s family 20  today. You murdered his seventy legitimate 21  sons on one stone and made Abimelech, the son of his female slave, king over the leaders of Shechem, just because he is your close relative. 22  9:19 So if you have shown loyalty and integrity to Jerub-Baal and his family 23  today, then may Abimelech bring you happiness and may you bring him happiness! 24 

1 tn Heb “And they reported to Jotham.” The subject of the plural verb is indefinite.

2 tn Heb “He lifted his voice and called and said to them.”

3 tn Heb “Going they went, the trees.” The precise emphatic force of the infinitive absolute (“Going”) is not entirely clear. Perhaps here it indicates determination, as in Gen 31:30, where one might translate, “You have insisted on going away.”

4 tn Heb “to anoint [with oil] over them a king.”

5 tn Or “Rule over us!”

6 tn Heb “Should I stop my abundance, with which they honor gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?” The negative sentence in the translation reflects the force of the rhetorical question.

7 tn Or “and rule over us!”

8 tn Heb “Should I stop my sweetness and my good fruit and go to sway over the trees? The negative sentence in the translation reflects the force of the rhetorical question.

9 tn Or “and rule over us!”

10 tn Heb “Should I stop my wine, which makes happy gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?” The negative sentence in the translation reflects the force of the rhetorical question.

11 tn Or “and rule over us!”

12 tn Heb “are about to anoint [with oil].”

13 tn Heb “in my shade.”

14 tn Heb “If not.”

15 tn Heb “house.”

16 tn Heb “if according to the deeds of his hands you have done to him.”

17 tc Heb “threw his life out in front,” that is, “exposed himself to danger.” The MT form מִנֶּגֶד (minneged, “from before”) should probably be read as מִנֶּגְדּוֹ (minnegdo, “from before him”); haplography of vav has likely occurred here in the MT.

18 tn Heb “hand.”

19 tn Heb “have risen up against.”

20 tn Heb “house.”

21 tn The word “legitimate” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarification.

22 tn Heb “your brother.”

23 tn Heb “house.”

24 tn Heb “then rejoice in Abimelech, and may he also rejoice in you.”



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