Tola and Jair judge Israel. (1-5) The Philistines and
Ammonites oppress Israel. (6-9) Israel's repentance. (10-18)
Quiet and peaceable reigns, though the best to live in,
yield least variety of matter to be spoken of. Such were the
days of Tola and Jair. They were humble, active, and useful men,
rulers appointed of God.
Now the threatening was fulfilled, that the Israelites
should have no power to stand before their enemies, Le
26:17,37. By their evil ways and their evil doings they
procured this to themselves.
God is able to multiply men's punishments according to
the numbers of their sins and idols. But there is hope when
sinners cry to the Lord for help, and lament their ungodliness
as well as their more open transgressions. It is necessary, in
true repentance, that there be a full conviction that those
things cannot help us which we have set in competition with God.
They acknowledged what they deserved, yet prayed to God not to
deal with them according to their deserts. We must submit to
God's justice, with a hope in his mercy. True repentance is not
only for sin, but from sin. As the disobedience and misery of a
child are a grief to a tender father, so the provocations of
God's people are a grief to him. From him mercy never can be
sought in vain. Let then the trembling sinner, and the almost
despairing backslider, cease from debating about God's secret
purposes, or from expecting to find hope from former
experiences. Let them cast themselves on the mercy of God our
Saviour, humble themselves under his hand, seek deliverance from
the powers of darkness, separate themselves from sin, and from
occasions of it, use the means of grace diligently, and wait the
Lord's time, and so they shall certainly rejoice in his mercy.