Judges 9:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:8, NIV: One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.'

Judges 9:8, ESV: The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’

Judges 9:8, KJV: The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.

Judges 9:8, NASB: Once the trees went to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’

Judges 9:8, NLT: Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king. First they said to the olive tree, 'Be our king!'

Judges 9:8, CSB: The trees decided to anoint a king over themselves. They said to the olive tree, "Reign over us."

What does Judges 9:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jotham, the only survivor of a massacre perpetrated by his brother, Abimelech (Judges 9:1–5), is shouting out a poetic story of trees choosing a king. This is accurately described as a fable: a common form of parable or storytelling. These short tales involve creatures from nature, speaking and acting as persons, to deliver a specific moral lesson. This story will also deliver a dire prophecy (Judges 9:20, 57).

Jotham has begun by warning the city's leaders to listen to him if they want God to ever listen to them (Judges 9:7). The rest of his speech takes the form of a fable and its prophetic explanation. In Jotham's fable, the trees wanted a king, so they approached the olive tree and asked it to reign over them. The tree will decline, for its own reasons (Judges 9:9).