Sunday, May 2, 2010

Judges series - Judges 10

The way to read this article is that the orange underlined texts are the verses of the Bible (NIV, unless otherwise stated). The black texts following the Bible verses (and enclosed by square brackets) are my commentaries. At the end of these Bible texts and commentaries, I have inserted a section on "Points to take note/What we have learnt/can learn".
{For full listing of all articles in this series, click here}

[Preface: Judges 10 covered a period after Abimelech, who previously had got himself installed as King by the citizens of Shechem. Although he operated from his father’s hometown, Ophrah, he was not really recognized as a legitimate King of the Israelites. The King’s period of the Jews did not start until King Saul was made the first King. After Abimelech, 2 judges were recorded here in Chapter 10, before another judge called Jephthah was raised. This Jephthah, we will read in details, in 2 subsequent chapters. Right now, very briefly, 2 judges would be mentioned, and the rest are the background about Israelites’ going back to the evil ways of forsaking the Lord, and serving other pagans gods; so much so that, God was very angry and He gave the Israelites over to her enemies, before He finally raised up Jephthah.]


1 After the time of Abimelech a man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir. [After Abimelech, Tola, raised as a judge, was from the tribe of Issachar, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. He led Israel for 23 years before he died.]


3 He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon. [Gilead is part of the vast land before the crossing of the Jordan river into the Promised Land. From Numbers 32, 3 of the 12 tribes of Israel could have settled here. The 3 were Reuben, Gad and Manasseh. Drawing inference from Numbers 32:41, it was likely that Jair was a Manasseh, probably an old name got “resurrected” again by descendants of Manasseh. He led for 22 years.]
6 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, 7 he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 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. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and the house of Ephraim; and Israel was in great distress. 10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, "We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals." [The classic, history repeated itself scenario with the Israelites of the “Judges” period. Only thing was that it must be very evil, that it was put in full writing in Bible recordings. The more the Israelites forsook God, the more God got displeased, the more He was likely to take away his hands of protection/blessing on the people. It was disastrous to live without the hands of protection/blessing of God. We read here, a number of the 12 Israel tribes were attacked by the enemies. As usual, in desperation, the Israelites cried out to God, telling God that they had sinned, and had forsaken God and had served Baals.]
11 The LORD replied, "When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!" [This time God was really upset and reminded the Israelites that He had been doing the same, saving them, only to have the Israelites times and times again, turned to pagan gods, and forsook the Lord. God literally said, “Why don’t you go and ask those pagan gods to save you since you have chosen them over me.”]
15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, "We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now." 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer. [The Israelites decided to go into action, got rid of the foreign gods, and began to serve the Lord again. Meanwhile God noted the misery of the Israelites.]
17 When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, "Whoever will launch the attack against the Ammonites will be the head of all those living in Gilead." [When the Ammonites wanted to attack Gilead, the people of Gilead, looking for people to counter the Ammonites decided to entice warriors with the Gilead chief position.]

Anthony Chia – Turning away to worship other gods is to God, evil.

For I know that after my death {Moses} you {Israelites} are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall upon you because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD and provoke him to anger by what your hands have made." (Deu 31:29)

But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. (Judges 2:19)

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