-Chapter ten gives a quick word about the next two judges of Israel, Tola and Jair, after the death of Abimelech, the son of Gideon, before a prologue that led up to the next deliver for the nation. Tola was a man of Issachar who lived in the hill country of Ephraim in a city by the name of Shamir. He ruled Israel for 23 years before passing away and being buried there in Shamir. After him, Jair the Gileadite arose in an era that saw leadership come from the eastern side of the Jordan. Jair, interestingly enough, had 30 sons who the Bible describes as having 30 donkeys that they rode on with 30 cities under their control, which became known as Havvoth-jair. Jair ruled for 22 years, and then he died being buried in Kamon of Gilead (Judges 10:1-5).
-Then the prologue with commentary to the condition of the state of Israel is taken up in the rest of this brief chapter. The sons of Israel found themselves going back into evil in the sight of the LORD serving the Baals and Ashtaroth of the Canaanite land, and all the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philista. “They forsook the LORD and did not serve Him (Judges 10:6).” Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against His unfaithful people again, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the sons of Ammon. They “afflicted” and “crushed” the sons of Israel for some 18 years, especially in the land of Gilead of the Amorites to the east of the Jordan. The sons of Ammon actually crossed over and fought against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, which caused Israel as a whole to be “greatly distressed.” Then, as could be predicted by now, the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD confessing their sin against Him, their covenant God. They realized once more that serving the Baals and forsaking the Living God was fruitless and demoralizing. God reminded them at this point of His faithful deliverance from Egypt, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites who oppressed them. Now He replied, “Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer deliver you. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the times of your distress.” In other words, God was telling that they really could have things their own desired way if they wanted. The sons of Israel come back to Him though. They acknowledge their depravity and are willing to accept His punishments for their transgression. They say, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please deliver us this day.” They put away their foreign gods from among them and decided to serve the LORD. The Word says, as a result, “He could bear the misery of Israel no longer (Judges 10:6-16).”
-The last two verses of the chapter forecast the looming battle that the LORD will use to deliver His people in Gilead. The sons of Ammon were summoned and camped in Gilead, while the sons of Israel gathered together and camped at Mizpah (east of the Jordan near the Jabbok, or Zarqa, River). There, the leaders began to ask, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon?” Then they concluded, “He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead (Judges 10:17-18).”
-*Application* God has to get tired of the patterns of sin in our lives that tend to be cyclical just like the sons of Israel. We go from sin to slavery (or oppression) to supplication (petition, crying out to God for help) to His salvation. Then, for some strange reason, we hit replay and go back to our junk. His patience can run out, and when that happens we can be left to our own foolish devices. Thankfully, as we see here in the text today, He relents showing compassion and pity on our poor souls when we finally get serious about putting all else aside to be fully devoted to Him. He does not like to bear our misery. Let’s get ourselves serious about following God alone and serving only Him. Put away the foreign gods from our lives that set us back from living the blessed life in Christ Jesus by His Holy Spirit.
Verses to Memorize: Judges 10:6, 10, 13-14, 16