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).
This strange parable, told by Gideons youngest son, Jotham, focused on the chaotic conditions in Israel after the death of Gideon who had led them in a brief spiritual revival after his defeat of the Midianites. One son of Gideon, Abimelech, had slain all his 70 halfbrothers in order to take the kingdom for himself (even though Gideon had refused to be made a king while he was alive), and then had led the people back into gross idolatry.
In the parable, the olive tree and the fig tree and the vine (productive, fruit-bearing plants taken later to symbolize the nation Israel) had refused to be made king, preferring to serve God and man in the fruit-bearing roles for which they were created (v.9). But the bramble had no such compunction (Judges 9:15), threatening, in fact, to destroy the other trees if they did not submit to his rule.
This parable was fulfilled explicitly in Abimelechs short and lethal reign of three years before he was slain, taking thousands with him into godless graves. In principle, this same parable has seen many later fulfillments, as ungodly men suddenly find that God has allowed an even more ungodly ruler to arise and lead them into destruction, that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men (Daniel 4:17).
The ultimate fulfillment will come when the most vicious king of all will arise, speaking . . . blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months (Revelation 13:5). He also, like the rest, will be destroyed by the true King, the Lamb, for the Lamb alone is King of kings (Revelation 17:14). HMM