Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel, Tola--that is, "to
save." Deliverance was necessary as well from intestine usurpation as
from foreign aggression.
the son of Puah--He was uncle to Abimelech by the father's side, and
consequently brother of Gideon; yet the former was of the tribe of
Issachar, while the latter was of Manasseh. They were, most probably,
dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim--As a central place, he made
it the seat of government.
3. Jair, a Gileadite--This judge was a different person from the
conqueror of that northeastern territory, and founder of Havoth-jair,
or "Jair's villages"
4. he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts--This is a
characteristic trait of Eastern manners in those early times; and the
grant of a village to each of his thirty sons was a striking proof of
his extensive possessions. His having thirty sons is no conclusive
evidence that he had more than one wife, much less that he had more
than one at a time. There are instances, in this country, of men having
as many children by two successive wives.
OPPRESSED BY THE
6. the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the
Lord--This apostasy seems to have exceeded every former one in the
grossness and universality of the idolatry practised.
7. Philistines, and . . . the children of Ammon--The predatory
incursions of these two hostile neighbors were made naturally on the
parts of the land respectively contiguous to them. But the Ammonites,
animated with the spirit of conquest, carried their arms across the
Jordan; so that the central and southern provinces of Canaan were
10. The children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned
against thee--The first step of repentance is confession of sin, and
the best proof of its sincerity is given by the transgressor, when he
mourns not only over the painful consequences which have resulted from
his offenses to himself, but over the heinous evil committed against
11. the Lord said . . . Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians--The
circumstances recorded in this and the following verses were not
probably made through the high priest, whose duty it was to interpret
the will of God.
12. Maonites--that is, "Midianites."
16. they put away the strange gods . . . and served the Lord; and his
soul was grieved for the misery of Israel--On their abandonment of
idolatry and return to purity of worship, God graciously abridged the
term of national affliction and restored times of peace.
17, 18. the children of Ammon were gathered together--From carrying on
guerrilla warfare, the Ammonites proceeded to a continued campaign.
Their settled aim was to wrest the whole of the trans-jordanic
territory from its actual occupiers. In this great crisis, a general
meeting of the Israelitish tribes was held at Mizpeh. This Mizpeh was
in eastern Manasseh