Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
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.Jdg 10:6; Jdg 10:10
The dark and the bright sides of the history shift with a rapidity unknown in the latter times of the story—'The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord,' and 'The children of Israel cried unto the Lord'. Never was there a better instance than in these two alternate sentences, ten times repeated, that we need not pronounce any age entirely bad or entirely good.
It is possibly to this passage that Luther was alluding loosely in the following fragment of his Table-Talk: 'As I sometimes look through my fingers, when the tutor whips my son John, so it is with God; when we are untruthful and disobedient to His word and commandments, He suffers us, through the devil, to be soundly lashed with pestilence, famine, and such-like whips; not that He is our enemy, and to destroy us, but that through such scourging He may call us to repentance and amendment, and so allure us to seek Him, run to Him, and call upon Him for help. Of this we have a fine example in the book of Judges, when the angel, in God's person, speaks thus: I have stricken you so often, and ye are nothing the better for it. And the people of Israel said, Save Thou us but now: we have sinned and done amiss. Punish Thou us, O Lord, and do with us what Thou wilt, only save us now. Whereupon He struck not all the people to death.'
I often went to bed with tears; and after a sleepless night arose again with tears: I required some strong support; and God would not vouchsafe it me, while I was running with the cap and bells.
—Goethe in The Confessions of a Fair Saint.
There was some juggling among the officials to avoid direct taxation; and Pepys, with a noble impulse, growing ashamed of his dishonesty, designed to charge himself with £1000; but finding none to set him an example, 'nobody of our ablest merchants' with their moderate liking for clean hands, he judged it 'not decent'; he feared it would 'be thought vain glory'; and, rather than appear singular, cheerfully remained a thief. One able merchant's countenance, and Pepys had dared to do an honest act! Had he found one brave spirit, properly recognized by society, he might have gone far as a disciple.
—R. L. Stevenson, Men and Books, p. 321.
The key to all ages is—Imbecility; imbecility in the vast majority of men, at all times, and even in heroes, in all but certain eminent moments; victims of gravity, custom, and fear. This gives force to the strong,—that the multitude have no habit of self-reliance or original action.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
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.