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Judges 9:10, 11: Jotham's Allegory, Part 4

Verse 10:[1] And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.

The fig tree: This, as also the vine, verse 12, signifies the same thing with the olive tree; but here are various expressions used, either for the decency of the parable; or because Gideon refused this honour, both for himself and for his sons; or to signify that the sons of Gideon, whom Abimelech had so cruelly slain, upon pretence of their affecting the kingdom, were as far from such thoughts as their father, and therefore were unjustly and wickedly murdered.

Verse 11:[2] But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?

[And my altogether sweet fruit] Figs are commended especially on account of sweetness. And so the fig is a symbol of sweetness in the writings of Pierius[3] (Bonfrerius). Οὐδὲν γὰρ, οὐδὲν γλυκύτερον τῶν ἰσχάδων, nothing, absolutely nothing is sweeter than figs; Aristophanes the Athenians[4] Works 14, πλὴν μέλιτος, with the exception of honey, Julian’s[5] Epistles 24 (Gataker).

My sweetness; for which that fruit is particularly commended.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ הָעֵצִ֖ים לַתְּאֵנָ֑ה לְכִי־אַ֖תְּ מָלְכִ֥י עָלֵֽינוּ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ הַתְּאֵנָ֔ה הֶחֳדַ֙לְתִּי֙ אֶת־מָתְקִ֔י וְאֶת־תְּנוּבָתִ֖י הַטּוֹבָ֑ה וְהָ֣לַכְתִּ֔י לָנ֖וּעַ עַל־הָעֵצִֽים׃

[3] Pierius (died after 309 in Rome) was the head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria, and was an Origenist.

[4] Aristophanes (c. 448-c. 385 BC) was an Athenian comic playwright.

[5] Julian the Apostate (331-363) was the last pagan Emperor of Rome. He was raised as a Christian, but he rejected Christianity in favor of Theurgy, a form of Neoplatonism. He sought to revive paganism and to reduce the influence of Christianity. He died after a battle with Persian forces, and it is said that his dying words were, Vicisti, Galilæe, Thou hast conquered, O Galilean.

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