Matthew Poole's 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.Tola judgeth Israel; and Jair, whose thirty sons had thirty cities, Judges 10:1-5. The people’s idolatry, Judges 10:6. The Philistines and Ammonites oppress them, Judges 10:7-9. They cry to God, who sendeth them to their false gods; but upon their repentance pitieth them, Judges 10:10-11. The Ammonites and Israelites encamp against one another, Judges 10:17,18.
There arose; not of himself, but either chosen by the people; or rather, raised by God, as the other judges were. To defend Israel, or, to save, which he did not by fighting against and overthrowing their enemies, but by a prudent and pious government of them, whereby he kept them from sedition, and oppression, and tyranny, as also from idolatry, as may be gathered from Judges 10:6, which if not restrained and purged out, would have brought certain ruin upon them.
In Shamir in Mount Ephraim;
which was in the very heart and midst of the land.
And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.No text from Poole on this verse.
And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.A Gileadite; of Gilead beyond Jordan
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.Rode on ass colts, because horses were scarce there, and were not to be multiplied by the king himself, Deu 17:16. Hence their kings and kings’ children used to ride upon mules, 2 Samuel 13:29 18:9 1 Kings 1:33,38,39. Compare Judges 5:10 12:14.
Object. These villages were called so before this time from another
Jair, Numbers 32:41 Deu 3:14.
Answ. They are not said to be now first called by that name, but to be still so called, because the old name was revived and confirmed upon this occasion; as Sheba is said to be called Beer-sheba, upon an occasion mentioned Genesis 26:33, though it was so called before upon a more ancient occasion, Genesis 21:31. Possibly this Jair had enlarged or fortified these towns, and so they were justly denominated from him, no less than from the former.
And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.He shows how they grew worse and worse, and so ripened themselves for the ruin which afterward came upon them. Before they worshipped God and idols together; now they utterly forsake God, and wholly cleave to idols.
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.The one on the west, the other on the east; so they were molested on both sides.
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.Or, that year they had vexed and oppressed the children of Israel eighteen years. Or, they vexed them in that year, that was the eighteenth year, to wit, of that vexation. This was the eighteenth year from the beginning of that oppression. And these eighteen years are not to be reckoned from Jair’s death, because that would enlarge the time of the judges beyond the just bounds, as may appear from 1 Kings 6:1; nor from Jephthah’s beginning to reign, because he reigned but six years, and in the beginning thereof put an end to this persecution; but from the fourth year of Jair’s reign; so that the greatest part of Jair’s reign was contemporary with this affliction. And although this oppression of the Ammonites and Philistines, and the cause of it, the idolatry of the Israelites, be not mentioned till after Jair’s death, because the sacred penman would deliver the whole history of this calamity entirely and together; yet they both happened before it; and Jair’s death is mentioned before that only by a prolepsis or anticipation than which nothing is more frequent in Scripture. The case of Jair and Samson seem to be much alike. For as it is said of Samson, that he judged Israel in the days of the tyranny of the Philistines twenty years, Judges 15:20, by which it is evident that his judicature and their dominion were contemporary; the like is to be conceived of Jair, that he began to judge Israel, and endeavoured to reform religion and purge out all abuses; but being unable to effect this, through the backwardness and baseness of the people, God would not enable him to deliver the people, but gave them up to this sad oppression; so that Jair could only perform one half of his office, which was to determine differences amongst the Israelites, but could not deliver them from their enemies.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Because, not contented to add idols to thee, we have preferred them before thee, and rejected thee to receive and worship them.
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 Lord said; either by himself, the Son of God appearing in a visible shape, which then was usual; or by some prophet whom he raised and sent to this purpose; or by the high priest, who was consulted in the case.
The Amorites; both Sihon and Og, and their people, Num 21, and other kings of the Amorites within Jordan, Joshua 10:5.
The children of Ammon were confederate with the Moabites, Judges 3:13,14.
The Philistines. See Judges 3:31.
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.The Zidonians also; for though we do not read of any oppression of Israel, particularly, by the Zidonians, yet there might be such a thing; as many things were said and done, both in the Old and New Testament, which are not recorded there; or they might join their forces with the king of Mesopotamia, Judges 3:8, or with some other of their oppressors; for it is certain these were left among others to prove Israel, Judges 3:1-3. Of
the Amalekites, see Judges 3:13 6:3.
Maonites; either, first, Those who lived in or near the wilderness of Maon, in the south of Judah, 1 Samuel 23:25 25:2, whether Edomites or other. Or, secondly, The Mehunims, a people living near the Arabians, of whom 2 Chronicles 26:7. For in the Hebrew the letters of both names are the same, only the one is the singular, the other the plural number. Or, thirdly, The Midianites, whose oppression he would not omit; it being usual for one and the same person or persons to have two names; although the Midianites may be comprehended under the Amalekites, with whom they were joined, Judges 6:3,33. Or, fourthly, Some other people now unknown, and not expressed elsewhere in Scripture.
Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.To wit, except you repent in another manner than you yet have done; which when they performed, God suspends the execution of this threatening. Compare Jeremiah 18:7.
Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.You have not been forced to worship those gods by your oppressors and tyrants; but you have freely chosen these gods before me.
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.Do not give us up into the hands of these cruel men, but do thou chastise us with thine own hand as much as thou pleasest, to wit, if we be not more faithful and constant to thee than we have hitherto been.
And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.They put away the strange gods: this was an evidence of the sincerity of their sorrow, that they did not only confess and bewail their sins, but also forsake them, and loathe themselves for them.
His soul was grieved; not properly, or as to inward affection; for God being infinitely happy, is not capable of grieving; but figuratively, and as to outward expression. He acted towards them like one that felt their sufferings; he had pity upon them, repented of his severe proceedings against them, and quite changed his carriage towards them, and punished their enemies as sorely as if they had grieved and injured his own person.
Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.That Mizpeh which was beyond Jordan in Gad or Manasseh; of which see Genesis 31:49 Joshua 18:26 Judges 10:17 11:11,29,34. There were other cities of that name in Scripture.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.