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Judges 10. Abimelech, part 7: The judgeships of Tola, Jair, and Jephthah. The Canaanization of Israel increases.

JUDGES-10-170517
length: 64:38 - taught on May, 17 2017
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Title: Judges 10. Abimelech, part 7: The judgeships of Tola, Jair, and Jephthah. The Canaanization of Israel increases.

 

The Judgeship of Tola

 

Tola is one of those judges for whom there is not a lot of detail.

 

JDG 10:1 Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim.

 

JDG 10:2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.

 

 

Issachar is in the north and it is likely that Tola's influence centered around that area. We cannot determine who he saved Israel from, but as Israel returned to Baal worship, God would have allowed a nation or nations of peoples around them to oppress them.

 

JDG 8:33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god.

 

The whole mess with Abimelech only lasted a little over three years. Israel would have been weak and that would have allowed foreign people to oppress them and God would have opened the door for this as He had done several times.

 

Seven cycles of oppression and deliverance:

Oppressor           Deliverer     Year (approx.)

Mesopotamia     Othniel        1373

Moab                  Ehud            1316

Philistines          Shamgar      1265

Canaanites         Deborah      1237

Midianites          Gideon         1198

Ammonites         Jephthah     1087

Philistines          Samson        1069

 

In between Gideon and Jephthah there is Abimelech, who was not a judge, and Tola and Jair who were judges but of whom almost nothing is known.

 

The judgeships of Jephthah and his successors are in the north and the judgeship of Samson is in the south. Their judgeships overlap, occurring at the same time and also, during this time the high priest Eli and Samuel, the last judge/first prophet is also occurring. Ruth and Boaz also occur around the time of Gideon's judgeship, but they live in the south before the time of the Philistine oppression.

 

1170 BC                                                                           1070 BC

Gideon       Ruth          AbimelechTola/Jair   Samuel born      Jephthah/Samson

 

JDG 10:1 Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim.

 

JDG 10:2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.

 

Tola and Puah seem to be common names in the tribe of Issachar. Shamir was a place in the mountains of Ephraim and is likely where he set up his judgeship. 

 

Tola means worm, and it is a title for the Lord during His sacrifice.

 

PSA 22:6

But I am a worm, and not a man,

A reproach of men, and despised by the people.

 

 

The Crimson worm [coccus ilicis] is a very special worm that looks more like a grub than a worm. When it is time for the female or mother Crimson worm to give birth (which she does only one time in her life), she finds the trunk of a tree, a wooden fencepost or a stick. She then attaches her body to that wood and makes a hard crimson shell.  She is so strongly and permanently stuck to the wood that the shell can never be removed without tearing her body completely apart and killing her. The Crimson worm then lays her eggs under her body and the protective shell. When the baby worms (or larvae) hatch, they stay under the shell. Not only does the mother’s body give protection for her babies, but it also provides them with food - the babies feed on the living body of the mother. After just a few days, when the young worms grow to the point that they are able to take care of themselves, the mother dies. As the mother Crimson worm dies, she oozes a crimson or scarlet red dye which not only stains the wood she is attached to, but also her young children. They are colored scarlet red for the rest of their lives.

 

The crimson dye is made from the crushed bodies of the females. The males go through a complete metamorphosis and develop wings.

 

Jacob/Israel is also titled the tola worm. Christ would take their curse upon Himself.

 

ISA 41:14

"Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel;

I will help you," declares the Lord, "and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

 

The judgeship of Jair

 

Nothing further is related of him than that he had thirty sons who rode upon thirty asses, which was a sign of distinguished rank in those times.

 

JDG 10:3 And after him, Jair the Gileadite arose, and judged Israel twenty-two years.

 

JDG 10:4 And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair [towns of Jair] to this day.

 

JDG 10:5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

 

 

Gilead was a prominent family in the tribe of Manasseh and this area, which is likely where his family expanded was often called by his name. Part of the territory lies in Gad, but being called a Gileadite, Jair was most likely from the tribe of Manasseh.

 

Jair had wealth and status. Having thirty sons he was a polygamist. Donkeys were highly esteemed and so he was wealthy and his family prominent, owning thirty cities.

 

It would seem that his judgeship was a time of peace and prosperity.

 

The next section opens with a statement of rebellion of the people against God yet again. The judgeship of Jephthah is given with some detail.

 

Judgeship of Jephthah. The tragedy of hanging on to pagan ways.

 

JDG 10:6 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him.

 

After forty-five years of peace under Tola and Jair, Israel rebelled again and worshipped seven different cult religions. Israel's Canaanization, with some pauses, continues to increase.

 

The ephod worship that began under Gideon's judgeship in Ophrah has faded and it has been replaced by the worship of all the gods of seven foreign nations.

 

The people of Israel are called to be set apart unto the Lord and the first generation that entered the land, Joshua's generation, was sanctified as they should have been. At the oak in Shechem that first generation pledged to keep the law and follow the Lord. With subsequent generation, the process of becoming more and more like Canaanites (Canaanization) was in a more or less constant progression. At times a generation would return to the Lord after sever oppression the deliverance through a judge, but then the next generation would be even worse, on step forward and three steps back. Roughly 300 years have gone by and now the Canaanization process has come to the point where Israel doesn't only worship one false god, but all of the false gods. They don't discriminate evil.

 

Israel made a pantheon out of all of the gods of their neighbors:

Baals and Ashtaroth - main gods of Canaan

Aram (Syria) - Hadoth, Baal, Moath, and Anath

Sidon - same as Syria plus Phoenician Astarte

Moab - Chemosh

Ammon - Molech

Philistines - Dagon

 

JDG 10:7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon.

 

JDG 10:8 And they afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites.

 

JDG 10:9 And the sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.

 

The anger of the Lord burned against Israel. God has not been "angry" since 3:8. His anger was in the summary of the period written at the beginning of the book.

 

JDG 2:13 So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.

 

JDG 2:14 And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.

 

Hence, the Lord allowed the foreign nations to remain in the area, since Israel would not get with it.

 

Here the anger of the Lord resulted in handing Israel over to two nations. Jephthah will deal with Ammon and Samson with Philistia.  

 

This beginning, JDG 10:6-18 serves as the introduction to both the judgeships of Jephthah and Samson.

 

JDG 10:7 And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon.

 

The oppression of the Philistines and Ammon are simultaneous. The historian will first deal with the Ammonite oppression and then the Philistine.

 

JDG 10:8 And they afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites.

 

"afflicted" - ratsats = crushed. Used of the millstone crushing Abimelech's head. "crushed" - raats = to destroy, shatter, or vex.

 

They sound very similar and the both are prefixed with a vav-consecutive which is a way of linking them in a sequence, i.e. "they first crushed and then they shattered the sons of Israel." To the reader the impact is great: "vayirtzuw vayrotztzuw." It is meant to jump off the page, almost like a big "BEWARE" sign.

 

For this they were warned, for in Deu 28, under the list of curses given if they were to disobey God, this very thing is stated.

 

DEU 28:33

A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you shall never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually.

 

One wonders at the fact that God here gets angry. Certainly the Lord's anger is not the same as ours. Theologically we label such things as anthropopathisms, which means ascribing to God a human characteristic. This instance of God's anger would certainly qualify as an anthropopathism.

 

While we can say for sure that God does not act like man, I personally have never felt comfortable stating that God is not something that the scripture says that He is. If it says that He is angry then we should accept it while knowing it is not sinful anger or human anger since God is never sinful or humanistic in character. And, added to that, is the fact that the Bible states that there is an anger that is not sinful. It is actually commanded of us in EPH 4:26. We can only know about God through His revelation and never through human intuition or deduction.

 

God's discipline is as painful as it needs to be. In this case it is severe due to the hearts in Israel that are so hard.

 

We should be very appreciative of the discipline of God. How severe it may be is the result of God's perfect and eternal knowledge. He knows exactly what we need and when. He is for us and not against us. He disciplines only for our benefit.

 

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