Judges 10

Stability Restored

1After Abimelech’s death,
The word “death” has been supplied in the translation for clarification.
Tola son of Puah, grandson
Heb “son.”
of Dodo, from the tribe of Issachar,
Heb “a man of Issachar.”
rose up to deliver Israel. He lived in Shamir in the Ephraimite hill country.
2He led
Traditionally, “judged.”
Israel for twenty-three years, then died and was buried in Shamir.

3 Jair the Gileadite rose up after him; he led Israel for twenty-two years. 4He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys and possessed thirty cities. To this day these towns are called Havvoth Jair
The name Habboth Jair means “tent villages of Jair” in Hebrew.
– they are in the land of Gilead.
Heb “they call them Havvoth Jair to this day – which are in the land of Gilead.”
5Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

The Lord’s Patience Runs Short

6 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight.
Heb “in the eyes of the Lord.”
They worshiped
Or “served;” or “followed.”
the Baals and the Ashtars,
The Ashtars were local manifestations of the goddess Ashtar (i.e., Astarte).
as well as the gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, the Ammonites, and the Philistines.
Heb “the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines.”
They abandoned the Lord and did not worship
Or “serve”; or “follow.”
7The Lord was furious with Israel
Or “the Lord’s anger burned [or “raged”] against Israel.”
and turned them over to
Heb “sold them into the hands of.”
the Philistines and Ammonites.
8They ruthlessly oppressed
Heb “shattered and crushed.” The repetition of similar sounding synonyms (רָעַץ [raats] and רָצַץ [ratsats]) is for emphasis; רָצַץ appears in the Polel, adding further emphasis to the affirmation.
the Israelites that eighteenth year
The phrase שְׁמֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה (shemoneh esreh shanah) could be translated “eighteen years,” but this would be difficult after the reference to “that year.” It is possible that v. 8b is parenthetical, referring to an eighteen year long period of oppression east of the Jordan which culminated in hostilities against all Israel (including Judah, see v. 9) in the eighteenth year. It is simpler to translate the phrase as an ordinal number, though the context does not provide the point of reference. (See Gen 14:4–5 and R. G. Boling, Judges [AB], 191-92.) In this case, the following statement specifies which “Israelites” are in view.
– that is, all the Israelites living east of the Jordan in Amorite country in Gilead.
9The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight with Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim.
Heb “the house of Ephraim.”
Israel suffered greatly.
Or “Israel experienced great distress.” Perhaps here the verb has the nuance “hemmed in.”

10 The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord: “We have sinned against you. We abandoned our God and worshiped
Or “served”; or “followed.”
the Baals.”
11The Lord said to the Israelites, “Did I not deliver you from Egypt, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12the Sidonians, Amalek, and Midian
The translation follows the LXX which reads “Midian”; the Hebrew text has “Maon.”
when they oppressed you?
The words “Did I not deliver you” are interpretive. The Hebrew text simply reads, “Is it not from Egypt…when they oppressed you?” Perhaps the incomplete sentence reflects the Lord’s frustration.
You cried out for help to me, and I delivered you from their power.
Heb “hand.”
13But since you abandoned me and worshiped
Or “served”; or “followed.”
other gods, I will not deliver you again.
14Go and cry for help to the gods you have chosen! Let them deliver you from trouble!”
Heb “in your time of trouble.”
15But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. You do to us as you see fit,
Heb “according to all whatever is good in your eyes.”
but deliver us today!”
You do to us as you see fit, but deliver us today. The request seems contradictory, but it can be explained in one of two ways. They may be asking for relief from their enemies and direct discipline from God’s hand. Or they may mean, “In the future you can do whatever you like to us, but give us relief from what we’re suffering right now.”
16They threw away the foreign gods they owned
Heb “from their midst.”
and worshiped
Or “served”; or “followed.”
the Lord. Finally the Lord grew tired of seeing Israel suffer so much.
Heb “And his spirit grew short [i.e., impatient] with the suffering of Israel.” The Hebrew noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) also appears as the subject of the verb קָצַר (qatsar) in Num 21:4 (the Israelites grow impatient wandering in the wilderness), Judg 16:16 (Samson grows impatient with Delilah’s constant nagging), and Zech 11:8 (Zechariah grows impatient with the three negligent “shepherds”).

An Outcast Becomes a General

17 The Ammonites assembled
Or “were summoned;” or “were mustered.”
and camped in Gilead; the Israelites gathered together and camped in Mizpah.
18The leaders
Heb “the people, the officers.”
of Gilead said to one another, “Who is willing to lead the charge
Heb “Who is the man who will begin fighting.”
against the Ammonites? He will become the leader of all who live in Gilead!”

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