Judges 10


Tola judges Israel twenty-three years, 1, 2.

Jair is judge twenty-two years, 3-5.

After him the Israelites rebel against God, and are delivered

into the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites eighteen

years, 6-9.

They humble themselves, and God reproves them, 10-14.

They put away their strange gods, and gather together against

the Ammonites, 15-17.

The chiefs of Gilead inquire concerning a captain to head them

against the Ammonites, 18.


Verse 1. Tola the son of Puah] As this Tola continued

twenty-three years a judge of Israel after the troubles of

Abimelech's reign, it is likely that the land had rest, and that

the enemies of the Israelites had made no hostile incursions into

the land during his presidency and that of Jair; which, together

continued forty-five years.

Verse 4. He had thirty sons, &c.] It appears that there was both

peace and prosperity during the time that Jair governed Israel; he

had, it seems, provided for his family, and given a village to

each of his thirty sons; which were, in consequence, called Havoth

Jair or the villages of Jair. Their riding on thirty ass colts

seems to intimate that they were persons of consideration, and

kept up a certain dignity in their different departments.

Verse 6. And served Baalim] They became universal idolaters,

adopting every god of the surrounding nations. Baalim and

Ashtaroth may signify gods and goddesses in general. These are

enumerated: 1. The gods of Syria; Bel and Saturn, or Jupiter and

Astarte. 2. Gods of Zidon; Ashtaroth, Astarte or Venus. 3. The

gods of Moab; Chemosh. 4. Gods of the children of Ammon; Milcom.

5. Gods of the Philistines; Dagon. See 1Ki 11:33, and 1Sa 5:2.

These are called gods because their images and places of worship

were multiplied throughout the land.

Verse 7. The anger of the Lord was hot] This Divine displeasure

was manifested in delivering them into the hands of the

Philistines and the Ammonites. The former dwelt on the western

side of Jordan; the latter, on the eastern: and it appears that

they joined their forces on this occasion to distress and ruin the

Israelites, though the Ammonites were the most active.

Verse 11. And the Lord said] By what means these reproofs were

conveyed to the Israelites, we know not: it must have been by an

angel, a prophet, or some holy man inspired for the occasion.

Verse 15. We have sinned] The reprehension of this people was

kind, pointed, and solemn; and their repentance deep. And they

gave proofs that their repentance was genuine, by putting away all

their idols: but they were ever fickle and uncertain.

Verse 16. And his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.]

What a proof of the philanthropy of God! Here his compassions

moved on a small scale; but it was the same principle that led him

to give his Son Jesus Christ to be a sacrifice for the sins of the

WHOLE world. God grieves for the miseries to which his creatures

are reduced by their own sins. Be astonished, ye heavens, at this;

and shout for joy, all ye inhabitants of the earth! for, through

the love whence this compassion flowed, God has visited and

redeemed a lost world!

Verse 17. The children of Ammon were gathered together]

Literally, they cried against Israel-they sent out criers in

different directions to stir up all the enemies of Israel; and

when they had made a mighty collection, they encamped in Gilead.

Verse 18. What man is he that will begin to fight] It appears

that, although the spirit of patriotism had excited the people at

large to come forward against their enemies, yet they had no

general, none to lead them forth to battle. God, however, who had

accepted their sincere repentance, raised them up an able captain

in the person of Jephthah; and in him the suffrages of the people

were concentrated, as we shall see in the following chapter.

In those ancient times much depended on the onset; a war was

generally terminated in one battle, the first impression was

therefore of great consequence, and it required a person skillful,

valorous, and strong, to head the attack. Jephthah was a person in

whom all these qualifications appear to have met. When God

purposes to deliver, he, in the course of his providence, will

find out, employ, and direct the proper means.

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