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The Trees Who Wanted a King – A Parable from Judges

Davis Carman|March 13, 2018

“The trees once went out to anoint a king over them…” (Judges 9:8)

The following is my paraphrase of an Old Testament parable that appears in Judges 9:7-15. Scripture is meant to be enlightening and thought-provoking, and this passage is something of a hidden treasure. Perhaps this story will make for some good bedtime reading and discussion with your kids:

Some children were walking through the forest one day. As they came upon a thick and very wooded part of the forest, they heard voices but saw no one. The chatter was not only coming from among the trees, it was the trees.

So the children asked a very old and tall tree, “What are you trees talking about?”
The tree replied, “We have decided that we want a king.”
“A king?” said the children. “And who will be your king?”
“Stay with us and you will find out very soon,” said the tree.
So the children stayed to learn who would be king of the trees.
The trees first said to the olive tree:
“O lovely tree, to you we sing.
With wood and leaves, please be our king.”
But the olive tree refused, saying: “Be your king?
Should I quit producing my olive oil
that blesses both God and man
just to be king of the trees?
Branches will wave when there’s a breeze,
but I will not sway as king of trees.”
So the trees said to the fig tree:
“O lovely tree, to you we sing.
With wood and leaves, please be our king.”
But the fig tree refused, saying: “Be your king?
Should I quit producing my sweet fruit
that pleases both God and man
just to be king of the trees?
Branches will wave when there’s a breeze,
but I will not sway as king of trees.”
Then the trees said to the grapevine:
“O lovely tree, to you we sing.
With wood and leaves, please be our king.”
But the grapevine refused saying: “Be your king?
Should I quit producing my juice
that cheers both God and man
just to be king of the trees?
Branches will wave when there’s a breeze,
but I will not sway as king of trees.”
Finally, the trees said to the thorn bush:
“O lovely tree, to you we sing.
With wood and leaves, please be our king.”
The thorn bush thought about this a moment and said:
“If you really want me as your king,
gather in my shade and to me sing.
But if you’re found to be a liar,
then all of us will burn with fire.”
The olive tree.
The fig tree.
The grapevine.
The thorn bush.
Whom will you ask to be your king?

Lord of lords and King of kings, please forgive me for desiring any other king besides you. You alone are worthy of my praise and adoration. I bow before you humbly and look forward to the day when I forever will be in your glorious presence. Then I will sing a new song with the heavenly host. You are the only king for me, now and forevermore! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this devotional by Davis Carman, read some of his other devotionals –  Are Your Plants Stuck in Their Pots? and Are You Teaching in a Pre- or Post 1963 Home School?

Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!
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Davis Carman
© 2017 Davis Carman
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Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, Godbased on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Pathan ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.

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