Judges 10:1

 

 

The Bible says in Judges 10:1-2, “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.[2] And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.” Tola was a judge about whom we are told almost nothing: only his family lineage and the fact that he judges Israel for twenty-three years. We are not told one thing that he did as a judge. But that same thing is true concerning most Christians through the ages. We do not know the names of most of them, and of course, we do not know the deeds that they did or that God did through them. That is one of the interesting things that we will experience in heaven: we will come to know every single believer as brothers and sisters, and we will hear their stories. We will hear how God worked in their hearts, what miracles God performed to lead them to the point of salvation, and then how God used them to glorify the name of Christ and to help spread the Gospel. Each story will be a fascinating story. There is a lot that we do not know now, but we will know in heaven.

 

The Bible says in Judges 10:3-6, “And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.[4] And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.[5] And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.[6] 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.” Not a lot is told us about the judge named Jair either. We are told that he had thirty sons and his sons also had responsibilities in their own cities, and so it appears that the Lord had given Jair success in the raising of children: turning boys into men. The fact that Israel turned away from the Lord after Jair died indicates that Jair was a good leader and a good influence on Israel during his lifetime. Sadly, most Israelites were not so dedicated to the Lord. As soon as Jair dies, they turn to the false gods.

 

The Bible says in Judges 10:7-9, “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.
[8] 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.
[9] 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.
” This is the pattern that we see all through the book of Judges. Most of the people just do not stay faithful to the Lord. Eventually, they turn away from their God and Savior because of the bad influences of the unbelievers around them. In this case the children of Israel were “vexed and oppressed” for eighteen years before they finally started turning back to the Lord. Why do people wait so long? The best course is to turn back to the Lord the moment you know that you have failed Him. Learn to apply First John 1:9 to you life every day. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus always forgives His children.

 

The Bible says in Judges 10:10-14, “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.[11] 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?[12] 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.[13] Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.[14] Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” Before God helps them, He reminds them that this has happened before. And so God tells them to go and ask the false gods for help. Interesting that the Israelites turn to God for help and not to the false gods that they had been worshipping. There is something built into human nature that a normal person will turn to the one true God if only they get motivated to do so. God definitely knows how to motivate. Some people will not turn to Christ until they are flat on their back or hurting in some way.

 

The Bible says in Judges 10:15-18, “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.[16] And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.[17] Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.[18] 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.” This time the children of Israel really did repent and turn to the Lord. This is shown by what they said to the Lord, and by what they did. Because they did both, God “was grieved for the misery of Israel.” God’s merciful nature gives hope to the worst of sinners and to the backsliding Christian. Jesus will forgive you. God begins to move in Israel. First, He gives the people wisdom to look for the right leader. God blesses a nation through the leadership that He gives. We see democracy in action. The people are going to choose their leader, and because they are blessed of God, they find the right one to lead them.

 

The Bible says in Judges 11:1-3, “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.[2] And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.[3] Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.” We are told quite a bit about Jephthah’s formation. He mother was not his father’s wife. His mother would have been the gossip of the town. Because of who his mother was, Jephthah was eventually an outcast from the rest of Gilead’s children. Jephthah became an outcast. We can imagine that Jephthah was a survivalist and very independent because he was able to survive and to thrive on his own. Also, Jephthah was a leader, and others were attracted to him and he was a leader of those men. The men that came to Jephthah were called “vain” men. The word “vain” means empty. They were either empty of character or empty of material substance, but they put themselves under Jephthah’s leadership.

 

The Bible says in Judges 11:4-8, “And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.[5] And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:[6] And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.[7] And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house? and why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress?[8] And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” It is very revealing that when they were attacked, the people went to Jephthah for help. That means they knew that he was a leader and a tough guy, and he was just what they needed in his situation. He also had a bunch of other tough guys who he was leading, and so it was the beginning of an army. Jephthah noticed their hypocrisy, but to make sure that he would be interested the people said to him in verse eight, “and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” They offered to make Jephthah judge. The Lord can always turn things around. You might be an outcast now, but keep doing what the Lord has led you to do, and wait and see what the Lord decides to do also. God knows, and God is able.

 

The Bible says in Judges 11:9-11, “And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?[10] And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.[11] Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.” These verses show us two more things about Jephthah: he had practical wisdom, and he served the Lord. Jephthah knew that he needed to get the elders to repeat their offer of making him head over the people. There would not be any misunderstanding. What a victory for Jephthah after he was cast out because of his family situation. When it says in verse eleven that “Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh,” we are told very clearly that Jephthah was dedicate to the Lord. Jephthah knew that God was working in life, and that God brought this opportunity to him, and that God made everything work together for good.

 

The Bible says in Judges 11:12-23, “And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?[13] And the king of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when they came up out of Egypt, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and unto Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably.[14] And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the king of the children of Ammon:[15] And said unto him, Thus saith Jephthah, Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:[16] But when Israel came up from Egypt, and walked through the wilderness unto the Red sea, and came to Kadesh;[17] Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.[18] Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not within the border of Moab: for Arnon was the border of Moab.[19] And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said unto him, Let us pass, we pray thee, through thy land into my place.[20] But Sihon trusted not Israel to pass through his coast: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and pitched in Jahaz, and fought against Israel.[21] And the LORD God of Israel delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they smote them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country.
[22] And they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok, and from the wilderness even unto Jordan.[23] So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it
?” Jephthah got into a discussion with the king of the Ammonites. The Ammonites wanted land that the Israelites possessed, because the Ammonites claimed that it was their land. But Jephthah knew history and the Word of God and the will of God. The Israelites took that land because they were attacked, and once the Israelites defeated the attacker, they claimed the land. That was the hand of God and the will of God. And so Jephthah asks the question, “So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?” The answer is obvious: no. The land now belongs to Israel. They did not start the war, they finished it. And the losers lost both the war and the land.

   

 

 

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Copyright; 2020 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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