For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2000 James Melough

10:1.  “And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim."

The meaning of Tola a worm from which is produced crimson or scarlet dye (e.g., as used in the  Tabernacle furnishings), reminds us of what is written of the Lord in Ps 22:6 “But I am a worm, and no man,” and assures us that this Tola, like all the judges, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As has been noted by others, the brief periods of earthly peace occupy little space in our history books.  It is the times of war and trouble that fill the pages.  And so here, the paucity of detail relative to the eras of Tola and Jair may indicate that they were times of relative peace; further confirmation that both of them portray Him Who is the Prince of Peace.  The very fact of their being raised up to deliver Israel, however, indicates that the peace probably followed the deliverances which they brought to Israel.

It is to be noted that in Tola, God would have us see a figure or type of Christ as the One Who procured our peace through His death at Calvary; but in Jair He would have us see, not only Christ reigning in the coming Millennium, but also the peace that every believer can enjoy here and now in the midst of earthly circumstances.  Nor should we miss the significance of its being said that the time of their judgeship came after the disastrous rule of Abimelech.  It was after the Lord’s defeat of Satan at Calvary that peace has been made available to men; and it will be after Satan’s imprisonment in the abyss that the earth will enjoy a thousand years of peace.  It is the Lord’s soon-coming return in power and glory that will bring to an end the misrule of all earth’s “Abimelechs,” each one being but the minion of him who robbed the earth of peace long ago when he persuaded Adam to disobey God.

God’s introduction of Tola begins with the statement that he “arose to defend Israel.”  In him, God would have us see the One Who is not only the Defender of Israel, but of all who trust Him as Savior.  No man can pluck the believer out of His hand.

Tola’s brief genealogy is also meant to instruct us, for Puah means he was scattered, the scattering being associated with the blowing or scattering of the breath in speech.  Can the application be to anyone except Him Who is the Living Word?  Never man spoke as He did.  But like seed scattered in sowing, He was the corn of wheat that was “sown” in the earth in death, so that there might be a vast harvest of men and women redeemed for God’s eternal glory.

Dodo meaning his beloved needs no comment.  There is only One of Whom God could say, “This is my beloved Son.”

Further instruction comes from its being said that he was of the tribe of Issachar, meaning he will be hired: there is reward: he will bring reward.  This points to the servant character of the true Tola, Who came to do His Father’s will, to occupy the place of a Servant so that we who were the unwilling slaves of sin, might be delivered, and given the privilege of yielding willing service to the God of heaven.

The emphasis upon reward reminds us that Christ also had the reward in view, for He is the One, “... who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame ....” (Heb 12:2).  But what is that joy?  It is the joy of having multitudes of redeemed men and women with Him for ever in heaven. 

But this Tola, who was of the tribe of Issachar, dwelt “in mount Ephraim” meaning double ash heap: I shall be doubly fruitful.  This unites service and fruitfulness, and reminds us of the transcendent fruitfulness that has sprung from the Lord’s willing service.  It is God’s desire that the same fruitfulness should attend our service.

And the name of the place where he dwelt in Ephraim was Shamir keeping: guarding, the thought of guarding being connected with a thorn hedge.  We should never forget that He Who is the Guardian of our souls, the “Hedge” around us, is He Who became what the thorns represent: sin, as it is written, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Co 5:21).

10:2.  “And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.”

Because he was only a man, he must die, and be buried in Shamir, symbol of the earth bearing the thorns which are the emblem of the curse.  The true Tola was also buried here in “Shamir,” but He arose, Victor over death, His resurrection the assurance that all who die in faith will also have a part in the resurrection of life, He being the Firstfruits of that resurrection.

As with all of the judges, however, Tola is a figure, not only of Christ, but of what any believer may be, and the first lesson to be learned is that if Christ is to be reproduced in us, then we too must be willing to occupy the same place as He, i.e., the place of a “worm.”  “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister: and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mt 20:26-28).

There must be also what is represented by Puah.  We must be willing to be “scattered” among men as God’s ambassadors, our lips bringing to men and women the words of life.  And our lives are to be the living demonstration of what is represented by Dodo, i.e., that as God loves us, and has given His Son to redeem our souls, so must we also love men, that love being demonstrated, not in the shallow sentimentality that passes in the world for love, but in a faithful proclamation of the Gospel, warning men of their danger, and imploring them to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

We too are to have our eyes on the reward, not on the worthless baubles of earth.  We are to live as did Christ, and as did Paul who declared, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Ph 3:13-14).

Even as we dwell here in “Shamir,” a world of sin and death, we are to manifest that we are spiritual Ephraimites, producing fruit for God’s glory, and our own eternal enrichment and honor.

Tola’s death, however, reminds us that we too have but a brief time here on earth.  He is a wise man who lives his life in the consciousness of its brevity and uncertainty, and in the knowledge that “the deeds done in the body” are fraught with eternal consequences.  We will be eternally rich or poor depending on whether we lived for Christ or self.

10:3.  “And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.”

Jair means he will enlighten; and Gilead, heap of witness: rolling for ever.  No one will have difficulty seeing in Jair a figure of the true “Enlightener,” “the light of men .... the light of the world.”  Nor is it difficult to read the lesson of his being a Gileadite, for Gilead was the name of a person as well as a place, and while the place Gilead is a figure of Calvary (itself the eternal witness to God’s love), the person Gilead is an equally clear figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, the living and eternal Witness to that love.

He and Jephthah are the only judges mentioned in relation to the east side of Jordan; and since that east side speaks of our literal experiences here in the body (as the western side does of our spiritual experiences here on earth), the lessons appear to have primary application to our daily lives in the midst of earthly circumstances.

10:4.  “And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havoth-Jair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.”

Inasmuch as thirty is a multiple of three (the number of resurrection), the repeated references to thirty assure us that the spiritual lesson is related to resurrection.  The picture, clearly, is of Christ in resurrection glory, Jair’s thirty sons (the perpetuation of his own life) being the symbolic figure of the eternal perpetuation of the Lord’s life.

As noted in earlier studies, the ass represents the body as the servant of the old nature, the wild ass portraying it without moral restraint; the bridled or saddled ass portraying it under some measure of moral restraint, as in the case of the moral, but unconverted man. 

It is to be noted, however, that these thirty asses upon which Jair’s thirty sons rode were colts, i.e. they were young second generation asses, but the second born is always the figure of the converted man, as the first born is of what we are by natural birth.  These sons represent Christ’s “sons,” i.e., believers (those who are spiritually “second generation,” those who have had a second birth).  The same truth is emphasized in that the sons were themselves second generation.

Their having thirty cities over which they ruled, continues to remind us that Jair is a figure of Christ ruling, today over the churches; tomorrow, over the world.  The rule of Jair’s sons, however, was but the extension of his rule.  In those sons men saw the representatives of Jair.  The spiritual lesson is easily read.  The world is to see in us those who are Christ’s representatives.  As they, the second generation of Jair, rode on second generation ass colts, so are we who are the “second generation” of Christ, to manifest that fact in our lives.  The “deeds done in the body” are to confirm the testimony of the lip.  It is dishonoring to Christ when a spiritually “second generation” man is found “riding” on a “first generation ass,” i.e., when a believer allows himself to be carried along by the dictates of the old nature rather than the new.

It is interesting to note that the Lord Himself rode into Jerusalem, not on an ass, but on an ass’s colt (Mk 11:1-10).  As that ass’s colt carried Him into Jerusalem, which represents peace, so will the man who “rides on the ass’s colt,” that is, keeps the body in subjection to the new nature rather than the old, also be brought into the enjoyment of the peace of God which passeth all understanding.

The collective name of the thirty cities, Havoth-Jair means villages of Jair: lives of Jair, it being generally recognized that the latter meaning is the more accurate.  This confirms what we have been considering relative to ourselves as being the representatives of Christ.  Each believer’s life is to be the living expression of Christ’s, as it is written, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Ga 2:20).  The fact that the cities were also in “the land of Gilead” continues to remind us that here on earth we are to be witnesses for Christ.

10:5.  “And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.”

Jair’s death, like that of Tola, continues to warn of the brevity and uncertainty of life, and of the need to live that life for Christ.

As might be expected in a section that so strongly emphasizes resurrection, His burial place has special significance, for Camon means rising up: standing.  All who die in faith will rise again at the resurrection of life, but only because Christ, by dying, conquered death, emerging from that dread realm to assure His servant John, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Re 1:18).

10:6.  “And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord, and served not him.”

Israel continued to manifest that innate tendency of the human heart to rebel against God, for as noted already, Israel is but the mirror in which God bids us see the professing church, and ourselves individually.  Nor should we forget that that rebellion is the more reprehensible in view of God’s gracious dealings with Israel and with us.

The very number (seven) of the nations whose gods Israel worshipped, declares not only the fullness of their rebellion, but also the variety of its forms.  We are reading the record unintelligently, however, if we fail to see that this is simply a foreshadowing of the state of the professing church today.  And it is to be noted that their sin was compounded by reason of the fact that God had delivered them from seven oppressors, see vv., 11-12.

The names of these nations and gods, like all Biblical names, have meanings, and it is in those meanings that we find revealed the varied character of Israel’s sin.  Baalim means simply the lords or idols, and its appearing first on the list is to remind us of the variety of the idols worshipped by apostate Israel.

Ashtaroth, the goddess of love and fertility, means mind readers: thought searching, meanings which alert us to the fact that the evil portrayed here is that which has to do with the intellect, and no one will deny that it is doubtful if there has ever been a time when men’s minds have been more thoroughly corrupted and depraved than today.  Connected with the worship of this goddess was utter sexual depravity, and only those who are themselves depraved will refuse to acknowledge that the same moral corruption marks the present day world, and to a large extent, also the professing, but largely apostate church.

Syria, meaning exalted, speaks of pride, pride that exalts man and debases God; and again, no one can refuse to admit that that same pride marks men today.

Zidon means a hunting: a fishery, reminding us that this world which is the scene of man’s rebellion against God, is also the place of spiritual hunting and fishing.  Christ’s first disciples were fishermen.  When He called them He declared, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19).  Every believer is given the same work.  But the very same world in which we are to fish for men’s souls with the Gospel, is the place in which the arch enemy is “hunting” for those same souls in order to destroy them.  There is an ominous significance in the fact that in the meaning of Zidon we find hunting and fishing brought together.  They are found together also in the professing church, for the popular “gospel” being preached today simply facilitates Satan’s deadly “hunting.”  That false “gospel” will save no one, but rather bring the delusion of salvation which lulls the deceived man into the false belief that he is saved when he isn’t.  That false “fishing” is simply a subtle form of “hunting.”  It brings death!

That false “gospel” omits any mention of man’s ruined state; it calls for no repentance; it omits any reference to the blood of Christ, any mention of hell and the lake of fire; and it fails to declare the absolute necessity of being born again.  It simply invites men to “receive Jesus” as the Panacea for earthly problems, rather than what men need: a Savior Who can deliver them from hell, and fit them for heaven.  But that false “gospel” is “worshiped” today, for it seems to be achieving the same results as did the true Gospel preached by the Apostles.  There is a vast difference, however, both as to the gospel, and as to the motive that impelled the Apostles.  Their concern was for men’s souls.  The concern of the apostles of today’s false “gospel” is the multiplication of earthly congregations, but with never a thought as to whether any of those “converts” will ever occupy a seat in heaven.

Apostate Israel worshiped also “the gods of Moab,” and as noted already, Moab represents that religious profession which accommodates all the lusts of the flesh.  The worship of these Moabitish gods therefore speaks of that mingling of religious profession and immorality which characterizes the professing church today.

Their worship of the gods of the Ammonites depicts the truth that in the professing church today genuine faith has been replaced with a religious profession that makes faith a mere intellectual thing which gives assent to the historicity of Christ, but that doesn’t know Him as Savior and Lord, for that is what Ammon represents - empty profession based on an intellectual knowledge of Christ, but apart from the new birth.

Significantly, one of the gods of the Ammonites was Molech, the god to whom the Israelites were guilty of sacrificing their children, see e.g., Le 18:21; 20:2-5.  Solomon was guilty of encouraging the worship of Molech (1 Ki 11:7), and this abominable worship is mentioned in Jer 32:35.  And today it is not just the world, but also professing Christians who are sacrificing their children to the evil represented by the ancient god Molech.  It is deemed better by many to have their children taught the knowledge of the world, than it is to have them filled with the knowledge of God. 

“... and the gods of the Philistines.”  The Philistine, as noted already, means wallowing, and represents the great apostate system that calls itself the true church, for just as the Philistines gave their name to the land that God had given Israel, so has the harlot church impressed her image on Christianity, so much so that when the world thinks of Christianity, it is the great apostate system that comes to mind. 

The significance of wallowing (the meaning of Philistine), is declared in 2 Pe 2:22 “But it is happened unto them (apostates) according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”

The apostate abandons the Word of God, and feeds again on the filth which was his spiritual food before professed conversion; and abandoning his temporary morality, he returns to wallowing in sin.

The degree to which the “Philistine” image has been impressed on the professing church today needs no comment, but what is sadder is the extent to which genuine believers allow the dictates of that apostate system to govern their lives also.

“... and forsook the Lord, and served not him,” shows us how Israel’s idolatry began.  There was first a forsaking of the right way.  That was the negative aspect of their sin.  Then there was the active pursuit of evil.  That was the positive aspect.  Man cannot live in a literal vacuum, nor can he exist in a spiritual vacuum.  He either serves God or Satan!  The sure way to total departure from God is to begin by forsaking the daily reading of and meditation on the written Word, neglect of prayer, failure to tell others the Gospel, and failure to meet with God’s people at the scheduled meetings of the assembly.  That negative evil is quickly followed by positive evil, and the wrecked testimonies strewn along the roadway of life ought to be sufficient warning against being guilty of such folly.  Who can tell what terrible consequences may attend that first small step of disobedience - failure to read the Word and meditate upon it?

10:7.  “And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon.”

That word sold is instructive, for it raises the question, What was given to God that induced Him to deliver Israel into the hands of their enemies?  It was their own disobedience, and our minds are dull indeed if we fail to see the application to ourselves.

Although Israel had turned to worship the idols of seven of the nations around them, we note that God delivered them into the hands of just two of those nations: the Philistines and the Ammonites, who, as we have seen, represent apostate Christianity, and religious intellectualism respectively.  While the professing church lies under the dominion of the modern equivalents of all of the false gods worshiped by Israel, those who rule most oppressively are the evils represented by the Philistine and the Ammonite.

10:8.  “And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan, in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.”

As noted already, Israel’s territory east of Jordan represents what we have literally here on earth, whereas what lay west of Jordan represents what we are privileged to enjoy in spirit here on earth.  “... in the land of the Amorites” indicates that what Israel had taken from Sihon and Og had once belonged to the Amorites, but since Amorite means sayer, the truth being declared is that what believers have today is what once lay in the domain of mere empty profession: we were part of the godless system that claims to be in a right relationship with God, but is in reality at enmity with Him.  As believers, our relationship with God is no longer that of mere empty profession, but the reality which belongs only to faith.

“... which is in Gilead heap of witness: rolling for ever.”  Calvary is the true heap of witness, a witness that will endure for ever.  Our lives here on earth are to be lived in the light of our relationship to Calvary.  In Christ, we too have been crucified to the world, and are to live accordingly, our lives being the witness that we are men and women who have become dead to the world by the cross of Christ.

10:9.  “Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.”

Had Israel been guarding the fords of Jordan as they ought, Ammon’s invasion would have been less likely, if not in fact impossible.  But since Jordan represents death, Israel’s failure to guard that border is the warning that when we cease to guard that boundary that lies spiritually between faith and unbelief, unbelief will soon invade what God has given us.  We have noted already that Ammon represents religious intellectualism, the intrusion of mere earthly wisdom into the realm of faith, so that Ammon’s oppression, and invasion of the three tribes west of Jordan, is the symbolic announcement of the intrusion of mere human wisdom into the spiritual areas represented by the three tribes mentioned, that is, Judah, which represents praise or worship; Benjamin, which speaks of warfare against the forces of evil; and Ephraim, which represents fruitfulness.

Few will deny that this is what we have in the professing church today.  True praise is seldom heard, and worship is nothing more than a cold formal ritual.  Our warfare (what little there is of it) is conducted according to the dictates of mere earthly wisdom, it being forgotten that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual (2 Co 10:4).  And spiritual fruitfulness is a mere withered thing claiming the name, but long ago having lost the power.  The “Ammonite” has indeed “crossed Jordan,”  Spiritual Israel, the Church, is as “sore distressed” today as was literal Israel in the days of the Judges.

10:10.  “And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.”

The sin of omission had been followed, as so often, by the sin of commission.  First there was sin in its negative form: they had forsaken God; but then there was the positive evil: they had given to Baalim what they had taken away from God.  The pattern never changes.  Sins of omission are quickly followed by sins of commission.  The terrible sins that have blighted some Christian lives, began by simple neglect of Bible reading and prayer.  Nor should we fail to note the perversity that marks all too many of us.  We forget God in the midst of prosperity, and call upon Him only in adversity.  Small wonder we experience so much of the latter, so little of the former.

10:11.  “And the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?”

Their deliverance from the Egyptians was on the night of the Passover, a night they should surely never have forgotten; but they obviously had forgotten, and that implies that either they had ceased to keep the annual feast of Passover, or it had become a mere empty ritual divorced from all spiritual meaning.

That deliverance, however, is a type of the greater deliverance enjoyed by every believer; and the commemorative feast of Passover is itself the foreshadowing of the better feast that has superseded it: the Lord’s Supper.  All too many professing Christians have also forgotten that great deliverance; and the Lord’s supper which commemorates it, and which is to be observed on the first day of each week, has been reduced to an annual ritual devoid of all spiritual significance, the very mode of observance being a travesty of the Scriptural order.

The deliverance from the Amorites is generally agreed to have been at the time when God delivered Sihon, king of the Amorites, into their hands (Nu 21:21-35), but that victory was symbolically the defeat of mere empty profession (talk without fruit), and is the foreshadowing of the deliverance granted us from that same evil power through Christ’s victory at Calvary. 

The deliverance from Ammon is generally accepted as being that which is recorded in Jg 3:13.  There Ammon was the confederate of Eglon the king of Moab, but Ammon represents empty profession linked with earthly wisdom, so that that deliverance portrays our deliverance from mere earthly wisdom. 

The deliverance from the Philistines is generally taken to be that of Shamgar (Jg 3:31), but since the Philistine represents the apostasy of the great false church, that deliverance is itself the figure of the deliverance God intends believers to enjoy from the thraldom of that evil system which rules Christendom today.

10:12.  “The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.”

There doesn’t appear to be a specific reference to Israel’s deliverance from the Zidonians, though it has been suggested that it may have been in connection with Barak’s defeat of Jabin as recorded in Jg 4.  If this is correct, then the typical picture continues to be of the deliverance from mere earthly wisdom, for Jabin, meaning he will understand, is clearly a type of that wisdom.

Since, however, it is uncertain that the Zidonians were involved in that conflict, it seems better to attempt to find the spiritual lesson in connection with what Zidon represents.  But what does it represent?  As always, the clue is found in its meaning, which is a hunting: a fishery; and as discussed already, it is a figure of the apostate church, for there too, hunting and fishing are found together.  Fishing is clearly a figure of activity in the Gospel, for Christ, calling the first disciples, assured them, “I will make you fishers of men” (Mt 4:19). 

The fishing done by the apostate church, however, is by means of a false gospel which lulls men into the believe that they are saved, when, in fact, they are still on the way to hell and the lake of fire.  That delusion accomplishes the work of Satan, for he is the evil “hunter” who stalks the earth in pursuit of men’s souls.  That false gospel delivers men into his hand!  (It is significant that hunting in Scripture always has an evil connotation).  It is from that evil system that we have been delivered.

The deliverance from the Amalekites is generally taken to be that accomplished by Ehud in Jg 3, for the Amalekites are there said to have been confederate with Eglon, king of the Moabites, whom Ehud slew.  It may, however, have reference to Israel’s first encounter with Amalek when they first came out of Egypt.

Amalek is a type of the flesh in all its bitter animosity against the Spirit, so that Israel’s deliverance from Amalek is the picture of our deliverance from the dominion of the flesh, that deliverance, of course, being through Christ’s victory at Calvary, not through any power in us.  

There is no Scriptural reference to Israel’s having been delivered from the Maonites, the word Maon meaning habitation, the spiritual significance of which I regret being unable to read.

Many Bible scholars believe that the reference is to the Midianites, and if correct, then the notable deliverance wrought by Gideon (Jg 6-8) comes to mind, and inasmuch as Midian means contention: strife, that deliverance is the type of our deliverance from the same evil.  It is not certain, however, that Maonite is the same as Midianite, even though in the LXX the word is rendered Midianites. 

10:13.  “Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.”

In spite of God’s responses to their cries, Israel had all too quickly forgotten His goodness - which should have begotten greater devotion to Him - and, forsaking Him, had turned to worship the idols of the nations around them.

The fact that He did deliver them is not to be understood as indicating that He had eventually changed His mind.  The statement has to be understood in the context of the rest of Scripture.  God would not deliver them unless there was genuine repentance; and this is a principle governing Him in all His dealings with men.

10:14.  “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.”

This confirms what we have considered in the preceding verse: they had not yet abandoned their false gods, and until they did, God would not deliver them, for that would have been to condone sin, something He will not do.

10:15.  “And the children of Israel said unto the Lord, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.”

This is the repentance God sought.  There was full confession of sin, and complete submission to His will.  These are the prerequisites of blessing for saint and sinner alike.

Their plea, “Do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee” reminds us that it is infinitely better to be in God’s hand than in the hand of the enemy.  God smites for our healing: the enemy, for our destruction.  David was well aware of this, when having sinned in numbering the people, and being offered three choices of punishment, he responded, “Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man” (1 Ch 21:13).

10:16.  “And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.”

Their repentance was complete for it went beyond mere words: “They put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord.”  God isn’t satisfied with mere words.  The life must confirm the testimony of the lip.  But His compassion is great.  In spite of all their sin, it grieved His heart to see them suffering the consequences of their folly; nor is He any less grieved by the misery which His people endure today as a result of their folly.  And the remedy remains the same.  If there is to be deliverance, there must be repentance and abandonment of the sin that has brought the chastisement.

10:17.  “Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead.  And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.”

As noted already, Ammon, meaning tribal: peoplish, represents the evil of mere profession linked with human intelligence - an evil which lords it over the professing church today, just as did Ammon over Israel in the days of the Judges.  Gilead, meaning heap of witness: rolling for ever, represents, not only Calvary, but also the sphere of testimony, and he is blind indeed who fails to see that “Ammon” today is “encamped in Gilead,” for effective testimony in the Gospel is presently maintained by a pitifully small handful out of the masses professing faith in Christ.

Mizpeh, meaning watch tower, speaks of the watchfulness of God, not only over His own, but also over every activity of the enemy.  A distressed Israel could have assembled in no better place, nor can we assemble in a better place than that which Mizpeh represents.  Where our lives are open to His scrutiny, and there is nothing we desire to be hidden from Him, is the place of safety and blessing, the place where the enemy can do nothing more than God permits.

10:18.  “And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

Commentators are disagreed as to whether this consultation was proper, or indicative of failure to wait upon God.  Those contending for failure, point to the fact that the deliverer is not specifically said to have been called by God; those who insist that it was right, point to the fact that the Spirit of God came upon him.  In Hebrews 11:32, however, he is listed with Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, and Samuel as one of the worthies of faith, indicating that possibly this consultation was approved by God.

[Judges 11]



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough