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Judges 9:12

ESV And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’
NIV Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come and be our king.'
NASB Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You, come, reign over us!’
CSB Later, the trees said to the grapevine, "Come and reign over us."
NLT 'Then they said to the grapevine, ‘You be our king!’
KJV Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.

What does Judges 9:12 mean?

This is part of a fable told by Jotham, the only survivor of his brother's murderous ambition (Judges 9:1–5). He is shouting this parable from a mountainside, over Abimelech's coronation in the city of Shechem, below (Judges 9:6–11).

So far, in the story, the trees have failed to find a king of their own. They have been turned down by both the olive tree and the fig tree. Both indicated that their current work was more rewarding and more valuable than being a ruler of other trees. Neither were driven to seek power over others. Now the trees turn to the grape vine. As were olives and figs, grapes were a central product of ancient near eastern agriculture.

As they did with the others, the trees ask the grape vine to become their king; the vine will also refuse (Judges 9:13).
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