Judges 12:14
And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on three score and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.
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(14) Thirty nephews.—The Hebrew has “sons of sons” (benî bhanîm), and the word nephews in our version always means “grandsons” (nepoles), e.g., in Job 18:19, Isaiah 14:22, 1Timothy 5:4, as in old English generally; similarly nieces means “granddaughters” in Wiclif’s Bible (Genesis 31:43, &c). “The Emperor Augustus . . . saw ere he died the nephew of his niece, that is to say, his progenie to the fourth degree of lineal descent” (Holland’s Pliny, vii. 13; Bible Word Book).

That rode on threescore and ten ass colts.—Riding on asses’ foals in trappings of state implies that they were all wealthy and distinguished persons (Judges 10:4)—perhaps, like the Turkish pennon on the horsetail, that they commanded a division (Ewald, 2:38, 39). Again the LXX. euphemise the ass-colts into the grand and poetic word pōlous. Josephus says that Abdon used to ride in state with his seventy sons and grandsons, “who were all very skilful in riding horses.”

12:8-15 We have here a short account of three more of the judges of Israel. The happiest life of individuals, and the happiest state of society, is that which affords the fewest remarkable events. To live in credit and quiet, to be peacefully useful to those around us, to possess a clear conscience; but, above all, and without which nothing can avail, to enjoy communion with God our Saviour while we live, and to die at peace with God and man, form the substance of all that a wise man can desire.A Pirathonite - He was, therefore, an Ephraimite 1 Chronicles 27:14. Its name still lingers in "Feratah," 6 miles west of Shechem. The 25 years, apparently consecutive, occupied by the judgeship of Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, seem to have been very uneventful and prosperous, since the only record of them, preserved in the annals of their country, relates to the flourishing families and peaceful magnificence of two of the number. 7. Jephthah died—After a government of six years, this mighty man of valor died; and however difficult it may be for us to understand some passages in his history, he has been ranked by apostolic authority among the worthies of the ancient church. He was followed by a succession of minor judges, of whom the only memorials preserved relate to the number of their families and their state [Jud 12:8-15]. No text from Poole on this verse. And he had forty sons, and thirty nephews,.... Or sons' sons, that is, grandsons; so that he lived not only to see his sons married, but his grandchildren grown up to men's estate; since it follows:

that rode on seventy ass colts; who were either employed by him to ride about on these animals, which in those times were honourable; see Judges 5:10 to administer justice throughout the nation in their circuits; or rather, not following any trade, or being concerned in husbandry, or feeding cattle, but being men of estates, rode about like gentlemen:

and he judged Israel eight years; in his time it is said (b) the city of Troy was destroyed; so Eusebius (c), who calls this judge Labdon, though he elsewhere (d) places it in the times of Eli; See Gill on Judges 12:9.

(b) Juchasin, ut supra. (fol. 136. 1.) (c) Evangel. Praepar. l. 10. c. 11. p. 484. (d) Evangel. Praepar. l. 10. c. 11. p. 503.

And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.
Verse 14. - Nephews. Rather, grandsons. Hebrew, son's son. The number of his family, and their being all mounted on asses, are indications of his wealth and state (see above, Judges 8:30; Judges 10:4), and perhaps also of peaceful and prosperous times. Of these three judges no particular deeds are related, just as in the case of Tola and Jair (see the remarks on Judges 10:1). But it certainly follows from the expression אחריו ויּשׁפּט (Judges 12:8, Judges 12:11, Judges 12:13) that they were one after another successors of Jephthah, and therefore that their office of judge also extended simply over the tribes on the east of the Jordan, and perhaps the northern tribes on this side.

Judges 12:8-10

Ibzan sprang from Bethlehem,-hardly, however, the town of that name in the tribe of Judah, as Josephus affirms (Ant. v. 7, 13), for that is generally distinguished either as Bethlehem "of Judah" (Judges 17:7, Judges 17:9; Ruth 1:2; 1 Samuel 17:12), or Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:1), but probably Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 9:15). He had thirty sons and thirty daughters, the latter of whom he sent away החוּצה (out of his house), i.e., gave them in marriage, and brought home thirty women in their places from abroad as wives for his sons. He judged Israel seven years, and was buried in Bethlehem.

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