Judges 12:9
And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.
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(9) Thirty sons, and thirty daughters.—Implying polygamy, wealth, and state (Judges 8:30).

Whom he sent abroad—i.e., whom he gave in marriage “out of his house” (Vulg., quas emittens foras maritis dedit). The only reason for recording the marriage of his sons and daughters is to show that he was a great man, and sought additional influence by intermarriages with other families. It showed no little prosperity that he lived to see his sixty children married.

Jdg 12:9. Took in thirty daughters — That is, took them home for wives to his sons. What a difference between his and his predecessor’s family! Ibzan had sixty children, and all married; Jephthah but one, and she dies unmarried. Some are increased, others diminished; all is the Lord’s doing. 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.Ibzan of Bethlehem - Some have fancied him the same as Boaz Ruth 2:1 of Bethlehem-Judah. Others, from the juxtaposition of Elon the Zebulonite Judges 12:11, understand Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulon Joshua 19:15. 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]. Took in thirty daughters, i.e. took them home for wives to his sons. See Genesis 24:67 31:50 Deu 21:12 2 Samuel 11:27. And he had thirty sons and thirty daughters,.... Which was a very uncommon case for a man to have so many children, and those as to their sex to be equal. Between the former judge and him there was a great difference, in respect of this circumstance of children; he had but one daughter, an only child; and she, by reason of his vow, not suffered to marry. Such a difference does God, in his all wise Providence, make even among good men: nor is this any certain characteristic of a good man. Danaus had fifty daughters, and his brother Egyptus fifty sons, who were married to each other; and the husbands were all slain by their wives but one, on the wedding night, and so far from being happy in them: but it was otherwise with this judge:

whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons; his daughters he sent abroad, or married them, to persons not of another nation, nor of another tribe, but of another family of the same tribe, and these he dismissed from him to live with their husbands; and he took in daughters of families in the same tribe to be wives to his sons, and who seem to have dwelt together; it being the custom then for sons, though married, to abide with their father, and their wives with them; as Abarbinel says is the custom at Zenobia unto this day:

and he judged Israel seven years; and in his days the wars of Troy are said (z) to begin; but they began in the times of Jephthah his predecessor, and ended in his (a).

(z) Juchasin, fol. 136. 1.((a) Gerard. Vossii Isagoge Chron. dissert. 1. p. 4.

And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.
Verse 9. - He had thirty sons, etc. From no record of Ibzan's judgeship being preserved, except this domestic incident, we may infer, as in the case of Jair, that no important events took place in his time. Jephthah's War with the Ephraimites, and Office of Judge. - Judges 12:1. The jealousy of the tribe of Ephraim, which was striving after the leadership, had already shown itself in the time of Gideon in such a way that nothing but the moderation of that judge averted open hostilities. And now that the tribes on the east of the Jordan had conquered the Ammonites under the command of Jephthah without the co-operation of the Ephraimites, Ephraim thought it necessary to assert its claim to take the lead in Israel in a very forcible manner. The Ephraimites gathered themselves together, and went over צפונה. This is generally regarded as an appellative noun (northward); but in all probability it is a proper name, "to Zaphon," the city of the Gadites in the Jordan valley, which is mentioned in Joshua 13:27 along with Succoth, that is to say, according to a statement of the Gemara, though of a very uncertain character no doubt, Ἀμαθοῦς (Joseph. Ant. xiii. 13, 5, xiv. 5, 4; Bell. Judg. i. 4, 2, Reland, Pal. pp. 308 and 559-60), the modern ruins of Amata on the Wady Rajb or Ajlun, the situation of which would suit this passage very well. They then threatened Jephthah, because he had made war upon the Ammonites without them, and said, "We will burn thy house over thee with fire." Their arrogance and threat Jephthah opposed most energetically. He replied (Judges 12:2, Judges 12:3), "A man of strife have I been, I and my people on the one hand, and the children of Ammon on the other, very greatly," i.e., I and my people had a severe conflict with the Ammonites. "Then I called you, but ye did not deliver me out of their hand; and when I saw that thou (Ephraim) didst not help me, I put my life in my hand" (i.e., I risked my own life: see 1 Samuel 19:5; 1 Samuel 28:21; Job 13:14. The Kethibh אישׂמה comes from ישׂם: cf. Genesis 24:33), "and I went against the Ammonites, and Jehovah gave them into my hand." Jephthah's appeal to the Ephraimites to fight against the Ammonites it not mentioned in Judges 11, probably for no other reason than because it was without effect. The Ephraimites, however, had very likely refused their co-operation simply because the Gileadites had appointed Jephthah as commander without consulting them. Consequently the Ephraimites had no ground whatever for rising up against Jephthah and the Gileadites in this haughty and hostile manner; and Jephthah had a perfect right not only to ask them, "Wherefore are ye come up against me now (lit. 'this day'), to fight against me?" but to resist such conduct with the sword.
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