JUDGES 9: 8 - 9

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

But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, 
wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?"

Get out of here. Are you kidding? What kind of story is that? Trees going forth, looking for a king, having a conversation with each other. Trees can't talk. What in the world are we supposed to learn from these verses?

Obviously, this little tale is an analogy. It correlates to something. At this point, a person usually tries to figure out what the corresponding, intended lesson is. Then, having done that, they move on.

But, don't go so fast. Forget the lesson of the story for a moment and take a look at the corresponding "pieces" that make up the story. Look at the symbols that are being used. An important thing to notice here is this: Trees = people. Different kinds of trees = different kinds of people. A certain type of tree = a certain type of people.

Like a closed door, behind which lies heretofore unknown understanding, the knowledge of trees symbolizing people opens a small crack in the door and allows us to peer in. Other things we have not known, begin to be brought out into the light. As we search for more understanding by using this newfound knowledge, we arrive at Ezekiel, chapter 31.

It is a prophecy given to Ezekiel that he is to relay to the Pharaoh of Egypt concerning God's judgment of coming destruction. As we read through this narrative, we find that God labels Assyria as a "cedar of Lebanon" exalted above all the "trees of the field" (other nations). As we read on, we find reference made to trees in the "garden of God", such as Cedars, Fir trees, and Chestnut trees.

In verse 14, it talks about trees 'exalting themselves", a very human trait. Verse 16 mentions "all the trees of Eden."

The last verse of Ezekiel 31 ends this way:

"To whom art thou thus like in glory 
and in greatness among the trees of Eden? 

yet shalt thou be brought down with 
the trees of Eden unto the nether 
parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the 
midst of the uncircumcised with them 
that be slain by the sword. 

This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, 
saith the Lord GOD."

What about the trees of Eden? When we think of the "garden" of Eden, it's easy to think of the kind of garden that produces vegetables. However, that is not what God's garden looks like. God's garden is, in fact a tree orchard, in symbolism representing the people of the earth.

With this in mind, go back and read the creation account of Genesis chapter 2.

Verses 8-9:

"And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; 
and there he put the man whom he had formed."  

[God stuck Adam in the middle of all the other people that were already created. Adam was the "first man Adam", that is, the first fair complected, ruddy looking, able to blush, the first white man. See Strongs Hebrew concordance # 119 and # 120. More on this in the article called LIFE AFTER THE FIRST FLOOD.]

"And out of the ground made the LORD God to 
grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, 
and good for food; the tree of life also in the 
midst of the garden, and the tree 
of knowledge of good and evil."

Verses 15 - 17:

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him 
into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 
Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou 
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Remember, we're getting deep into symbolism here. This may, or it may not be, what really happened. I'm just sharing this with you to help you expand your thinking. Besides that, it is the Bible itself that brought up the subject of equating the different peoples of mankind with the various species of trees.

Any way, the Adam type of mankind was told he could partake of every tree in the garden, but not to get involved with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This immediately makes me think of this scripture:

"That the sons of God saw the daughters of 
men that they were fair; and they took them 
wives of all which they chose."  
(Genesis 6:2)

Could these particular "sons of God" be a wayward strain of God's Family Tree? Was mankind cautioned to avoid them?  If so, Who did the Tree of Life represent?  Mankind was not told to avoid the Tree of Life until after they had gotten involved with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Could the act of being involved with "trees" in any way,  be even remotely associated with a love affair between people ....... or beings of any sort?  Ok.  Now you've got to deviate a little on your own, and do some homework.  Get your Bible out. You need to read the entire eight chapters of the Song of Solomon (called the Song of Songs in some Bible translations). Read it slowly,  contemplating as you go. 

Wait a minute!  I really don't enjoy reading articles that just quote verse after verse after verse. And, I imagine you don't either.  However, this time, to make it easier ..... so you don't have quit reading to get your Bible, I'm going to copy and paste the entire book of the Song of Solomon in this article for you.  The entire book is only eight short chapters. You can either skim through it, or read the entire book.

Here it is; and notice how many times vines, shrubs, trees, fruit, and products of fruit (wine, etc.) are used to make comparisons to human life experiences.  I will highlight only a few of the many inferences. You judge the rest for yourself.  Many preachers avoid any reference to the Song of Solomon (called the Song of Songs also) because it calls for at least an "R" if not an "X" rating.

Song of Solomon

Chapter 1

"The song of songs, which is Solomon's.

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.

4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

7 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?

8 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.

9 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.

10 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.

11 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.

12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

13 A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.

14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.

16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.

17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir."

Chapter 2

"I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

2 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.

3 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.

5 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.

6 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.

7 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.

10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether."

Chapter 3

"By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?

4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

6 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

7 Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.

8 They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.

9 King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.

10 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.
11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart."

Chapter 4

"Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.

2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.

3 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.

4 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.

5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.

6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.

7 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

8 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.

9 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.

10 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

11 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.

12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

13 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,

14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

15 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.

16 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits."

Chapter 5

"I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.

5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

7 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

9 What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

10 My beloved is white and ruddy  [this is from the same root word translated as "Adam" in Genesis 2] , the chiefest among ten thousand.

11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

14 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

15 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem."

Chapter 6

"Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.

2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

3 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.

4 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.

5 Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.

6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.

7 As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.

8 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.

9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

10 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?

11 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded.

12 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.

13 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies."

Chapter 7

"How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

2 Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.

3 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.

4 Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.

5 Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.

6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.

8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;

9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

10 I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.

11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.

12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.

13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."

Chapter 8

"O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.

2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.

4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.

5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.

6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?

9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.

10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.

11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.

12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.  [According to I Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives of royal lineage, and 300 concubines.  That equals 1,000]

13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.

14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices."

You can draw your own conclusions on what has been shown so far concerning the use of Trees as symbols of something else in the Bible.

But, remember this: (Proverbs 14:)

"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: 
but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."

Over and over, the Bible uses trees to symbolize mankind.  Here's one during the time of Christ. It's recorded in the Book of Mark,  chapter 8, verse 24.

Jesus had just performed the miracle of the fish and bread, and now was on His way to Bethsaida when He encountered a blind man.  Here, read what happened; and what the healed blind man said:

" And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a 
blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out 
of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking."

Israel, in prophecy, has been symbolized as a "fig tree" in Jeremiah 24:1-8 and Matthew 21:18,19

Others have noticed the connection to mankind and the symbol of trees in the Bible.  Here are a few comments from the blog website Prophecy Network:

1) "The Bible starts with 2 trees by a river, and ends with 2 trees by a river. The tree’s dimensions penetrate every realm of God’s creation – branches to heaven, shades the earth, roots down to the abyss. Sin came to humanity as man partook of one tree, and we were expelled out of the Garden because of our access to the other. From here we see it as a significant metaphor through scripture, and our dear Lord was even crucified on a tree.

What interesting insights do you see from trees in scripture?"

2). "It's interesting how many times people are described as trees in scripture. The Jewish people are described like a garden that God was planting in Israel and this concept runs through scripture from Exodus 15:17 "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established." to 2 Samuel 7:10 & Isaiah 5:7. The garden God originally planted was from good seed, but it had turned defective (Jeremiah 2:21), so God would uproot them and plant them in a foreign land (Ezekiel 17). However, God promised He would re-plant the people back in Israel (Jeremiah 24:6) if they pray (Jeremiah 42:9, 10) and would fear Him (Jeremiah 32:39-41).

Men are compared to trees in: Jdg 9:10, Eze 17:24, Zec 11:2, Luk 3:9, Rev 11:4 - which makes you wonder when the man healed of blindness in Mark 8, and seeing men as trees vs. 24, he saw more clearly than he should. We are body soul and spirit, and like a tree, our spirit reaches up to heaven like the tree's branches, our body is confined to the physical reign like a tree's trunk, and our soul . . . tainted by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, reaches down to the abyss like a tree's roots.

This makes the promise of Jesus to the thief on the cross beside him very interesting! There they were, three formidable trees contrasted with the arid Judean landscape, and Jesus offers the one man entrance into the “paradeisos”, or the “orchard of God”, the promised restoration of Edenic paradise predicted in Isaiah 51:3 and Ezekiel 36:35. So . . . If Israel is an orchard planted in the Promised land, and men are trees, and work of Christ on the cross re-opened Eden – access into the presence of God, who were the tree's in the original garden of Eden?"

3). "For those who are interested, I’m close enough to finishing my article on the two trees in the Garden to request your review and feedback. Here are the first two paragraphs, and the rest of the article can be read by following the link provided just below:

The instigation of the Biblical record regarding God’s relationship with man begins in a setting in which we see two trees beside a river, and from the beginning to the end of the long course of redemptive history, the Bible then ends once again with two trees by a river (Revelation 22:2). Throughout the many pages in-between we see trees used as a persistent and profound metaphor woven into its’ narrative, defining the very purpose and providence of the kingdom of God.

The status quo of ignoring these trees in Eden, considering them to be too esoteric in their meaning, or comparing them to a simple Law / Grace analogy is inadequate! The tree of “the knowledge of good and evil” was not an androgynous participant in humanities fall from grace, as the patrons who dinned upon this cuisine were infected by an invasive and implacable ailment. Sin, we will contend, is not just the result of disobedience towards God’s command, but is a reflection of the nature and character of the one who knew good . . . only to choose evil. To understand the roles of these trees, we’ll first investigate the imagery of various trees throughout scripture. Once an appropriate overview is prepared, we’ll tender a paradigm of Eden’s trees and their roles in the sovereign plan and purposes of God."

The two end-time witnesses are symbolized as the two Olive Trees as illustrated on the website Tribulation.Com.

We even refer to our ancestral heritage as "Family Trees".  This exercise in seeing how trees has been used throughout the Bible is not intended to answer some great mystery. It is intended, however, to get you thinking. To get you interested in bible study, realizing that no one has learned it all.  

The Bible truly is a phenomenon.  It contains more information than a municipal library. Just when you think there's nothing new to learn ,  along comes a new area of study completely new to your thinking.

Go see what you can find out.

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