Sunday, January 6, 2008

 

Here's a Bible story from Judges 10 that I just learned about. Abimelech killed all his brothers, who were the rulers of Shechem, except for Jotham. Jotham told this story to the men of Shechem before he fled.
[7] And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.

[8] 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? [10] And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. [11] But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? [12] Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. [13] And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? [14] Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. [15] And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

Jotham says more to connect this to Abimelech, implying that Abimelech is the bramble and that he and the men of Shechem will come to blows later, which they do.

The main point, I think, is that you have to worry about the motives of anybody who wants to be king. It is Plato's problem of the Philosopher King stated some centuries earlier.

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