Judges 10


‘After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died and was buried in Shamir.’ Judges 10:1-2

This chapter introduces us to the oppression by both the Ammonites and the Philistines.


Although we can’t be certain, Tola may have been named after the sons of his ancestor, Issachar, Genesis 46:13. He is the sixth judge whom God sent to deliver Israel. Although he served Israel as a judge for 23 years, this is the only information we have about him.


‘He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.’ Judges 10:3-5

Again, no one is sure who Jair was, and although he served as a judge for Israel for 22 years, this is the only information we have about him. It does appear though that he may have been very wealthy, with thirty donkeys and controlled thirty towns.

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim; Israel was in great distress. Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, “We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.” Judges 10:6-10

We have to wonder, when will Israel learn from her past mistakes? When are they going to realise that these pagan deities only offered ample opportunity to sin, but provided no means of salvation? Well, like we have seen time and time again, they’re only going to learn the hard way.

God became angry with them and punished them for 18 years by allowing them to be oppressed by the Philistines and the Ammonites. And notice they cried out to God again, why did Israel cry out to God? Because once again they’re in trouble.

In other words, the Israelites only want God when they need Him.

‘The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!” Judges 11:11-14

And so Israel once again call upon the God of convenience but notice God’s response, His response is almost sarcastic, he more or less says, ‘let the things you’ve trusted shelter you, since you’ve refused to trust in Me!’ When we rely on those gods instead of the True God, we find ourselves as lost as Israel in the distressing days of the Judges.

And unlike these other gods, our God doesn’t desert His people.

‘But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.” Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel’s misery no longer. When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead.” Judges 10:15-18

Notice Israel’s confession here, they say that they have sinned and worshipped the foreign gods, Judges 10:6. They had become unequally yoked with the nations around them, 2 Corinthians 6:14.

Their confession also implies repentance, as they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. 2 Corinthians 7:10.

After confessing their sins and repenting by getting rid of their idols, God’s misery so was great about what the surrounding nations were doing, He was moved to take action. We find Him doing so in the next chapter.

The Ammonites gathered their army to try and bring an end to the Israelite rebellion but in response to the Ammonite threat, Israel gathered together for defence. The problem was when Israel gathered together, they had no leader.

As we will see in the next chapter, God will indeed raise up another deliverer to help Israel in their time of distress and his name is Jephthah.

Go To Judges 11


"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:16