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 (Tola) arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years,” Jgs 10:3.

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.

“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,” Jgs 10:4.

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 is clearly 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 sons.  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.

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

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.


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