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XXXVII. And he had a son by a concubine whose name was Abimelech; the same slew all his brethren, desiring to be ruler over the people.
Jud. 9:5

[A leaf gone.]

2.  2 Then all the trees of the field came together
Jud. 9:7 sqq.
unto the fig-tree and said: Come, reign over us. And the fig-tree said: Was I indeed born in the kingdom or in the rulership over the trees? or was I planted to that and that I should reign over you? And therefore even as I cannot reign over you, neither shall Abimelech obtain continuance in his rulership. After that the trees came together unto the vine and said: Come, reign over us. And the

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vine said: I was planted to give unto men the sweetness of wine, and I am preserved by rendering unto them my fruit. But like as I cannot reign over you, so shall the blood of Abimelech be required at your hand. And after that the trees came unto the apple and said: Come, reign over us. And he said: It was commanded me to yield unto men a fruit of sweet savour. Therefore I cannot reign over you, and Abimelech shall die by stones. 3. Then came the trees unto the bramble and said: Come, reign over us. And the bramble said: When the thorn was born, truth did shine forth in the semblance of a thorn. And when our first father was condemned to death, the earth was condemned to bring forth thorns and thistles. And when the truth enlightened Moses, it was by a thorn bush that it enlightened him. Now therefore it shall be that by me the truth shall be heard of you. Now if ye have spoken in sincerity unto the bramble that it should in truth reign over you, sit ye under the shadow of it: but if with dissembling, then let fire go forth and devour and consume the trees of the field. For the apple-tree was made for the chastisers, and the fig-tree was made for the people, and the vine[yard] was made for them that were before us.

4. And now shall the bramble be unto you even as Abimelech, which slew his brethren with wrong, and desireth to rule over you. If Abimelech be worthy of them (or Let Abimelech be a fire unto them) whom he desireth to rule, let him be as the bramble which was made to rebuke the foolish among the people. And there went forth fire out of the bramble and devoured the trees that are in the field.

5. After that Abimelech ruled over the people for one year and six months, and he died hard by

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a certain tower, whence a woman cast down upon
Jud. 9:10 sqq.
him the half of a millstone.

[A gap of uncertain length in the text.]


185:2 XXXVII. 2 seq. This adaptation of the parable of Jotham is singularly inept as it stands: possibly the lost beginning of it may have made it more plausible: possibly it may contain plays upon Hebrew words which I do not detect. Two sentences in it are particularly obscure: (1) Nascente spina, ueritas in specie praelucebat. Can there be here an allusion to Ps. 84 (85):12, ἀλήθεια ἐκ τῆσ γῆσ ἀνέτειλε? (2) quia malus facta est in castigatores, et ficus facta est in populum, et uinea jacta est in praecessores. Ought we to render facta est by "stands for" or "represents"?

Next: Chapter XXXVIII