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 2001 James Melough


“And after him (Elon) Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel,” Jgs 12:13

Abdon means servitude; Hillel, to be praised; and Pirathon, chieftaincy.  As a type of Christ, we see in Abdon a figure of the One Whose servitude was unto death, eternal praise to the Father being the result of that willing sacrifice offered at Calvary,   The idea of chieftaincy or leadership, however, reminds us that He Who stooped so low to glorify the Father, and redeem our souls, has been exalted to transcendent glory, and will return to the scene of His degradation and death, as King of kings, and Lord of lords.

“And he had forty sons and thirty nephews (or grandsons), that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years,” Jgs 12:14.

The sons remind us that the One he typifies has also begotten many “sons,” men and women who have trusted Him as Savior, see Heb 2:10,13, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings .... Behold I and the children which God hath given me.”

There being forty (number of testing) of Abdon’s sons, reminds us that Christ’s many “sons” are the result of the testing which manifested His perfection.  It should remind us that we too are subjected to testing, and the extent to which that testing reveals our failure, ought to impel the cry for grace to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called.  But our encouragement to obedience is revealed in what is written of Him, “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted (tested), he is able to succor them that are tempted (tested),” Heb 2:17-18

The thirty (number of resurrection) grandsons point to the fact that those who are Christ’s will participate in the resurrection of life, and will dwell for ever with Him in heaven, because He, “... was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,” Ro 4:25.

As has been noted also in previous studies, the ass represents the body as the servant of the old nature, but the ass’s colt (second generation, and speaking therefore of the new birth), represents the body under the control of the new nature.  And since Abdon’s sons and grandsons rode on seventy (number of perfection or completeness) ass colts, we learn that the degree to which we keep the body under the control of the new nature is the measure in which we will reflect the perfections of Christ.

The fact that he judged Israel for eight (biblical number of a new beginning) years points symbolically to the truth that we who are the spiritual sons of the true Abdon, have not only had a new beginning here on earth (we have had a new birth), but we will have another new beginning: following the Rapture we will receive new ageless bodies “fashioned like unto his glorious body,” Php 3:21.

“And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathon­ite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites,” 12:15.

The Lord Jesus Christ also died, and typologically was “buried in Pirathon (meaning chieftancy).”  His burial was that of a Conqueror, for by dying He vanquished death and every other foe of God and men, His resurrection being the proof of His victory, of His chieftancy.  He sits today on the throne of heaven, His second advent being, not as the Lamb, but as the mighty Lion of Judah, King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Ephraim, meaning double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful, speaks of abundant fruitfulness, so that Abdon’s being buried in the land of Ephraim, tells us of the more abundant life possessed by those who belong to Christ, for as the “corn of wheat” which fell into the ground and died, John 12:24, He has produced a vast harvest of redeemed men and women, all of them bearing His image; all of them possessed of His life and nature, the full manifestation of that miraculous transformation being given at the Rapture.  Not only has He Himself risen from among the dead, but so will everyone who dies having trusted Him as Savior.

The Amalekites represent the lusts of the flesh, and Abdon’s being buried in “the mount of the Amalekit­es” reminds us that this world where the Lord lived, died, and was buried, is the place where the flesh reigns; but only for a little while.  Its reign is almost ended, and an earth that has groaned under the misrule of the flesh, will soon enjoy the beneficent reign of the Prince of peace.


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