The Trees and the Bramble

1.48. THE TREES AND THE BRAMBLE. The most worthless persons are generally the most presuming.
The Israelites, ever murmuring and discontented under the reign of Jehovah, were desirous of having a king, like the rest of the nations. They offered the kingdom to Gideon, their deliverer; to him, and to his posterity after him. He generously refused their offer, and reminded them that Jehovah was their king. When Gideon was dead, Abimelech, his son by a concubine, slew all his other sons to the number of seventy, Jotham alone escaping; and by the assistance of the Shechemites made himself king. Jotham, to represent to them their folly, and to shew them that the most deserving are generally the least ambitious, whereas the worthless grasp at power with eagerness, and exercise it with insolence and tyranny, spake to them in the following manner:
Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, so may God hearken unto you. The Trees, grown weary of the state of freedom and equality in which God had placed them, consulted together to choose and to anoint a king over them; and they said to the Olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the Olive-tree said unto them, Shall I quit my fatness wherewith God and man is honoured, to disquiet myself with the cares of government, and to rule over the Trees? And they said unto the Fig-tree, Come thou and reign over us. But the Fig-tree said unto them, Shall I bid adieu to my sweetness and my pleasant fruit, to take upon me the painful charge of royalty, and to be set over the Trees? Then said the Trees unto the Vine, Come thou and reign over us. But the Vine said also unto them, Shall I leave my wine which honoureth God and cheereth man, to bring upon myself nothing but trouble and anxiety, and to become king of the Trees? Ee are happy in our present lot: seek some other to reign over you. Then said all the Trees unto the Bramble. Come thou and reign over us. And the Bramble said unto them, I will be your king; come ye all under my shadow and be safe; obey me, and I will grant you my protection. But if you obey me not, out of the Bramble shall come forth a fire, which shall devour even the cedars of Lebanon. [more info]

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