Judges 10
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.
1. to save Israel] Cf. Jdg 2:16; Jdg 2:18, Jdg 3:9 f.

Tola the son of Puah] According to Genesis 46:13, Numbers 26:23 (P), 1 Chronicles 7:1, Tola and Puah were brothers, ‘sons,’ i.e. clans of Issachar. Tola means ‘the crimson worm,’ ‘cochineal,’ and Puah probably ‘madder,’ a plant from which a red dye was obtained, in Arab, fûh; the coincidence can hardly be accidental; see Deuteronomy 33:19.

the son of Dodo] The name again in 2 Samuel 23:9; 2 Samuel 23:24, 1 Chronicles 11:12; 1 Chronicles 11:26; varieties of it are David, Dodavahu, Eldad; the Babyl. form Dûdu occurs in the Amarna letters, e.g. 44 and 45; on the Moab. St. l. 12 Daudoh, apparently a local god worshipped by the Israelites E. of Jordan. Dod = lit. ‘loved one,’ then ‘kinsman,’ ‘uncle’; so LXX and Syr. render here ‘the son of his [Abimelech’s] uncle.’

in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim] Site unknown; not the Shamir of Joshua 15:48, which was in Judah. LXX. A and Luc. read Samaria, replacing a strange name by a familiar one. In historical times the territory of Issachar lay to the N.E. of the Plain of Jezreel; from this verse we learn that at least one clan of the tribe had its seat further south. There may have been some connexion between Shamir and Shimron, a clan of Issachar (Genesis 46:13, Numbers 26:24).

Ch. Jdg 10:1-5. The Minor Judges: Tola and Jair

The five Minor Judges, Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon (Jdg 12:8-15), are so called because, unlike the other Judges, they fill but a small place in the general history; no record of their exploits has been preserved. Sometimes Shamgar is grouped with them, but see the notes on Jdg 3:31. These five Judges are regarded as carrying on the succession (and after … there arose, Jdg 10:1; Jdg 10:3 etc.), and, according to the view adopted in the Introduction § 2 a, the 76 years assigned to them (with Jephthah’s 6) are included in the chronological scheme of the book. In each case the few bare particulars are cast into the same form, clearly by the same hand, which is not that of the Deuteronomic editor; the latter uses quite a different formula to conclude each period (Jdg 3:30, Jdg 5:31, Jdg 8:28). It seems probable that these notices were in existence before the Dtc. editor set to work; their general character is early rather than late; they appear to be founded on ancient traditions, like the somewhat similar details embedded in the genealogies of 1 Chron. (e.g. 1 Chronicles 1:46, 1 Chronicles 2:7; 1 Chronicles 2:22 f., 1 Chronicles 4:9 f., 1 Chronicles 4:27; 1 Chronicles 4:39 ff. etc). Out of the five names, three, Tola, Jair, Elon, occur elsewhere as the names of clans; the other two were probably clan-names also: but it would be rash to conclude that these names were never borne by individuals.

And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.
2. And he judged] Jdg 10:3; see Jdg 3:10 n.

and was buried, in Shamir
] ‘We are probably to infer that the tomb of the eponymous ancestor of the clan was in later times shewn at Shamir’ (Moore). This applies, with different names, to similar notices of the other Minor Judges.

And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.
3. Jair, the Gileadite] Called ‘the son of Manasseh’ in Numbers 32:41, Deuteronomy 3:14, cf. Joshua 13:30; in 1 Chronicles 2:21 ff. he is the great-grandson of Machir. Gilead was the name applied generally to the country E. of the Jordan, between the south end of the Sea of Tiberias and the north end of the Dead Sea.

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] Cf. Jdg 12:9; Jdg 12:14. The ‘sons’ are expressly connected with the thirty settlements of the clan. Numerous descendants indicated power and wealth.

that rode on thirty ass colts] A mark of rank; cf. Jdg 12:14, 2 Kings 4:22, Zechariah 9:9; see on Jdg 5:10.

Havvoth-jair] i.e. tent-villages (LXX ἐπαύλεις) of Jair; cf. Arab. ḥiwâ = ‘a group of tents near together.’ Long after the tents of nomads had given place to permanent dwellings or ‘cities’ the old name still survived. The Havvoth-jair are frequently mentioned, but the accounts of them are not all consistent. Here and in Numbers 32:41 they are said to have been situated in Gilead; 1 Kings 4:13 (prob. borrowed from Num. l.c.) and 1 Chronicles 2:22 agree with this. But according to Deuteronomy 3:14, followed by Joshua 13:30, they lay in Bashan; the statement, however, seems to be due to an attempt to harmonize Deuteronomy 3:13 f. with Numbers 32:39; Numbers 32:41 (Driver, Deut., p. 55). Again, the capture and naming of these towns is dated in different periods, in the time of Moses according to Num. l.c., and in the time of the Judges here. But the inconsistency lies only on the surface. Numbers 32:39-42 is an ancient fragment incorporated into a later account (JE and P) of the conquest of E. Jordan, apparently for the purpose of bringing Manasseh’s occupation of this district within the Mosaic period; the fragment closely resembles the brief traditions preserved in Judges 1 and may be taken to refer to the same period, viz. that of the Judges, to which the present verse assigns the episode. Later on the Havvoth-jair seem to have passed into the hands of another race, cf. 1 Chronicles 2:23 (RV.), which probably reflects the conditions of a subsequent age. The difference in the numbers of the villages, thirty, thirty-two (LXX here), twenty-three (1 Chronicles 2:22), is not important.

And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.
5. Kamon] Probably E. of Jordan, and perhaps identical with the Kamûn mentioned by Polybius next after Pella as taken by Antiochus the Great (10:70, 12). Buhl thinks of Ḳumçm, W. of Irbid (Geogr., p. 256).

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.
6. again did that which was evil etc.] Cf. Jdg 2:11; Jdg 2:13, Jdg 3:7, Jdg 4:1, Jdg 6:1, Jdg 13:1; phrases of the Dtc. editor.

the gods of Syria … Philistines] i.e. of all the surrounding nations; cf. Jdg 2:12 Strictly speaking, the mention of ‘the gods of the Ammonites’ alone is appropriate to the narrative Jdg 10:17 to Jdg 11:33. The sentence appears to be a generalizing expansion from the hand of the latest editor, like the list of oppressors in Jdg 10:11.

6–8. Introduction to the story of Jephthah

Apostasy followed by oppression, the cry for help by deliverance: such is the religious interpretation of the succeeding period given by the Dtc. editor in his accustomed manner. His phrases appear in Jdg 10:6-7, cf. Jdg 2:11; Jdg 2:13, Jdg 3:7 etc. This summary is much longer than usual, and resembles Jdg 2:6 to Jdg 3:6 in its general character and scope (see Introd. § 2 b). The Dtc. editor seems to have expanded an earlier and shorter preface which is probably contained in Jdg 10:10-16, and shews signs of relationship with the source E. Jdg 10:6 b, Jdg 10:8 (in part), the end of Jdg 10:11 and the beginning of Jdg 10:12, appear to be still later expansions. It is surprising to find such a long introduction in the middle of the book; perhaps it was expanded, first by the Dtc. editor and then by a later hand, in order to cover not only the Ammonite, but the Philistine oppression, in fact all the remaining portion of the history. The last two verses (17 and 18) appear to be simply derived from the following chapter (as Jdg 8:33-35 from ch. 9), and intended to connect the passing reference to the Ammonite invasion in Jdg 10:7-8 with the more detailed narrative which follows.

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. sold them … Philistines] As the history stands, this did not happen till after the Ammonite oppression, Jdg 13:1. The reference to the Philistines may be due to the editorial process which aimed at making the present introduction cover both oppressions. See above.

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.
8. they vexed] The subject is ‘the children of Ammon’ (see on Jdg 10:17).

that year: eighteen years] cannot be right; either that year (marking the beginning of the oppression, Jdg 11:4) has slipped in from some other place, or eighteen years belonged originally to the end of Jdg 10:7, cf. Jdg 3:14. The extension of the oppression to all the children of I. on both sides of the Jordan is probably due to the latest editor.

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.
9. was sore distressed] Cf. Jdg 2:15.

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.
10. The oppression is followed by the cry for help; cf. Jdg 3:9; Jdg 3:15, Jdg 4:3, Jdg 6:6-7. For the confession cf. Jdg 10:15, 1 Samuel 12:10.

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. not … from the Egyptians] The missing verb is supplied by the RV., cf. Exodus 14:30; did not I bring you up would be better—the verb usually found with from Egypt, Jdg 2:1, Jdg 6:8; then the rest of the verse must be an editorial expansion. But if the restoration of the RV. be kept, the whole verse can be regarded as a conventional summary; no distinct oppression by the Amorites is recorded.

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. The Zidonians … Amalekites … Maonites] The generalizing list of oppressors is continued. The Zidonians, i.e. Phoenicians (Jdg 3:3 n.), do not appear elsewhere in this character; perhaps the name was suggested by Jdg 10:6. The Amalekites are mentioned as allies of Moab in Jdg 3:13, and of Midian in Jdg 6:3 (see note); cf. Exodus 17:8-16 E. The Maonites (Maon is the form here) probably = the Meunim, 1 Chronicles 4:41, 2 Chronicles 20:1 (RVm.), 2 Chronicles 26:7—all late passages; the Meunim, who are referred to as hostile to Israel, were an Arab race inhabiting the Edomite country; their name survives in Ma‘ân, 6 hours S.E. of Petra. Perhaps the post-exilic editor included Maon in this list as being an enemy familiar to later times. On the supposed connexion between the Maonites (Meunim) and the Minaeans see HDB. s.v. The LXX reads Midian here, and many scholars adopt the correction; but it is suspiciously obvious.

Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
13. forsaken me] Cf. Jdg 10:10, Jdg 2:12-13.

other gods] D’s expression: Deuteronomy 7:4; Deuteronomy 11:16 etc., cf. Joshua 24:2; Joshua 24:16.

Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
14. For the thought cf. Deuteronomy 32:37-38, Jeremiah 2:28.

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.
15. For the submission to Jehovah’s will cf. 1 Samuel 3:18, 2 Samuel 15:26.

And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
16. The first half of the verse resembles Genesis 35:2 E, Joshua 24:20-23 E, 1 Samuel 7:3.

strange gods] i.e. foreign gods, E’s expression: Joshua 24:20; Joshua 24:23, etc.; contrast other gods, Jdg 10:13.

was grieved] lit. was shortened, cf. Jdg 16:16, Exodus 6:9, Numbers 21:4, Zechariah 11:8; i.e. He lost patience, He could bear Israel’s distress no longer. Jehovah’s impatience (cf. Micah 2:7 RVm.) is aroused by mingled pity and indignation.

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. On this and the following verse see above. The Ammonites occupied the district which lay to the N.E. of Moab, bordered by the eastern desert. Their chief city was Rabbath-ammon, in Greek Philadelphia, now ‘Ammân, near the source of the Jabbok; their other cities (Jdg 11:33, 2 Samuel 12:31) were insignificant. Like the Moabites, the Ammonites were regarded as akin to Israel, but with feelings of repugnance, Genesis 19:36 ff.; probably also, like the Moabites, they spoke a language closely allied to that of Israel. In the days of Saul (1 Samuel 11) and David (2 Samuel 10-12) their hostility broke out afresh. The Bedouin on the edge of the Syrian desert have always been ready to plunder the agricultural country within reach.

encamped in Gilead] Here apparently a city, cf. Hosea 6:8, perhaps the modern Jal‘ûd, on the high ground a little S. of the Jabbok.

encamped in Mizpah] Cf. Jdg 11:11; Jdg 11:34, apparently = Mizpeh of Gilead Jdg 11:29; the name (which belongs to several places) means ‘outlook point,’ LXX here ἡ σκοπιά, and implies a situation commanding a view; Jebel Ôsha‘, near es-Salt, not far S. of Jal‘ûd, would suit the conditions. Among other sites proposed, that of Ḳal‘at er-Rabaḍ, N. of Jal‘ûd and of the Jabbok, may be mentioned. At Mizpah was a sanctuary of Jehovah, and the home of Jephthah (Jdg 11:11; Jdg 11:34). The Israelites gathered to the camp, but as yet they had no leader.

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.
18. the people, the princes of Gilead, said] The apposition is unusually harsh; perhaps the princes of Gilead was inserted on the strength of Jdg 11:5-11, where the elders of G. are the persons concerned with looking out for a leader.

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