Judges 9:12, 13: Jotham's Allegory, Part 5

Verse 12:[1] Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.


Verse 13:[2] And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, (Ps. 104:15) which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?


[Which cheereth God] But God does not drink wine; how then does it cheer Him? Responses: 1. This is able to be understood of the gods of the Gentiles, whom antiquity believed to drink a certain celestial drink (Bonfrerius). Jotham speaks according to the sense of the people (Estius), to the Shechemites already made idolaters (Bonfrerius). 2. I translate אֱלֹהִים/Elohim as gods, that is, Judges, and those that are in magistracy. But the undifferentiated masses call them men. For Adam is in the Hebrew text (Drusius’ Concerning Inquiries by Epistle[3] 4). So I formerly thought, but I change my opinion; because obviously it is not אָדָם/Adam, but אֲנָשִׁים/men (Drusius’ Elohim, or Concerning the Name of God[4]). 3. It cheers God, because in sacrifices it was poured out to God, Numbers 15:5, 7, 10 (Junius, Malvenda, Lapide, Menochius). Add that on feast days men made use of festive meats and wine, exulting in joy unto the glory of God (Bonfrerius).


Which cheereth God: Wherewith God is well-pleased, because it was offered to God, Numbers 15:5, 7, 10. See also Psalm 104:15; Proverbs 31:6.


[And men] Psalm 104:15; Proverbs 31:6; Jeremiah 16:7 (Malvenda). Bacchus is the giver of joy in Virgil.[5] The vine is the herald of joy in Nonnus’ Dionysiaca 7 (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ הָעֵצִ֖ים לַגָּ֑פֶן לְכִי־אַ֖תְּ מְלוֹכִ֥י עָלֵֽינוּ׃


[2] Hebrew: וַתֹּ֤אמֶר לָהֶם֙ הַגֶּ֔פֶן הֶחֳדַ֙לְתִּי֙ אֶת־תִּ֣ירוֹשִׁ֔י הַֽמְשַׂמֵּ֥חַ אֱלֹהִ֖ים וַאֲנָשִׁ֑ים וְהָ֣לַכְתִּ֔י לָנ֖וּעַ עַל־הָעֵצִֽים׃


[3] De Quæsitis per Epistolam.


[4] Elohim, sive de Nomine Dei.


[5] Æneid 1:734.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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