Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.
Jud 10:1-5. Tola Judges Israel in Shamir.
1. after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel, Tola—that is, "to save." Deliverance was necessary as well from intestine usurpation as from foreign aggression.
the son of Puah—He was uncle to Abimelech by the father's side, and consequently brother of Gideon; yet the former was of the tribe of Issachar, while the latter was of Manasseh. They were, most probably, uterine brothers.
dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim—As a central place, he made it the seat of government.
And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.
And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.
3. Jair, a Gileadite—This judge was a different person from the conqueror of that northeastern territory, and founder of Havoth-jair, or "Jair's villages" (Nu 32:41; De 3:14; Jos 13:3; 1Ch 2:22).
And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.
4. he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts—This is a characteristic trait of Eastern manners in those early times; and the grant of a village to each of his thirty sons was a striking proof of his extensive possessions. His having thirty sons is no conclusive evidence that he had more than one wife, much less that he had more than one at a time. There are instances, in this country, of men having as many children by two successive wives.
And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.
And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.
Jud 10:6-9. Israel Oppressed by the Philistines and Ammonites.
6. the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord—This apostasy seems to have exceeded every former one in the grossness and universality of the idolatry practised.
And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.
7. Philistines, and … the children of Ammon—The predatory incursions of these two hostile neighbors were made naturally on the parts of the land respectively contiguous to them. But the Ammonites, animated with the spirit of conquest, carried their arms across the Jordan; so that the central and southern provinces of Canaan were extensively desolated.
And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.
Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.
And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
Jud 10:10-15. They Cry to God.
10. The children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against thee—The first step of repentance is confession of sin, and the best proof of its sincerity is given by the transgressor, when he mourns not only over the painful consequences which have resulted from his offenses to himself, but over the heinous evil committed against God.
And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?
11. the Lord said … Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians—The circumstances recorded in this and the following verses were not probably made through the high priest, whose duty it was to interpret the will of God.
The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
12. Maonites—that is, "Midianites."
Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.
And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
Jud 10:16-18. They Repent; God Pities Them.
16. they put away the strange gods … and served the Lord; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel—On their abandonment of idolatry and return to purity of worship, God graciously abridged the term of national affliction and restored times of peace.
Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
17, 18. the children of Ammon were gathered together—From carrying on guerrilla warfare, the Ammonites proceeded to a continued campaign. Their settled aim was to wrest the whole of the trans-jordanic territory from its actual occupiers. In this great crisis, a general meeting of the Israelitish tribes was held at Mizpeh. This Mizpeh was in eastern Manasseh (Jos 11:3).
And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.