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Judges chapter 10

New International Version

1 After the time of Abimelek, a man of Issachar named Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.
3 He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.
6 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim; Israel was in great distress. 10 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, 'We have sinned against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.'
11 The LORD replied, 'When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!'
15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, 'We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.' 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the LORD. And he could bear Israel's misery no longer.
17 When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, 'Whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head over all who live in Gilead.'
English Standard Version

1 After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.
3 After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
6 The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the LORD and did not serve him. 7 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, 8 and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.
10 And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the LORD said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? 12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the LORD, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.
17 Then the Ammonites were called to arms, and they encamped in Gilead. And the people of Israel came together, and they encamped at Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
King James Version

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. 2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir. 3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years. 4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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? 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. 13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. 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. 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. 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. 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.
New American Standard Bible

1 Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, rose up to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He judged Israel for twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 After him, Jair the Gileadite rose up and judged Israel for twenty-two years. 4 And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair to this day. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
6 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; so they abandoned the LORD and did not serve Him. 7 And the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon. 8 And they afflicted and oppressed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they oppressed all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan, in Gilead in the land of the Amorites. 9 And the sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was in great difficulty.
10 Then the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, 'We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have abandoned our God and served the Baals.' 11 And the LORD said to the sons of Israel, 'Did I not save you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? 12 And when the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I saved you from their hands. 13 Yet you abandoned Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.' 15 Then the sons of Israel said to the LORD, 'We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please save us this day.' 16 So they removed the foreign gods from among them and served the LORD; and He could no longer endure the misery of Israel.
17 Then the sons of Ammon were summoned, and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, 'Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.'
New Living Translation

1 After Abimelech died, Tola son of Puah, son of Dodo, was the next person to rescue Israel. He was from the tribe of Issachar but lived in the town of Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He judged Israel for twenty-three years. When he died, he was buried in Shamir.
3 After Tola died, Jair from Gilead judged Israel for twenty-two years. 4 His thirty sons rode around on thirty donkeys, and they owned thirty towns in the land of Gilead, which are still called the Towns of Jair. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.
6 Again the Israelites did evil in the LORD's sight. They served the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia. They abandoned the LORD and no longer served him at all. 7 So the LORD burned with anger against Israel, and he turned them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 who began to oppress them that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites east of the Jordan River in the land of the Amorites (that is, in Gilead).
9 The Ammonites also crossed to the west side of the Jordan and attacked Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. The Israelites were in great distress. 10 Finally, they cried out to the LORD for help, saying, 'We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.'
11 The LORD replied, 'Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. 13 Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!'
15 But the Israelites pleaded with the LORD and said, 'We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.' 16 Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the LORD. And he was grieved by their misery.
17 At that time the armies of Ammon had gathered for war and were camped in Gilead, and the people of Israel assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The leaders of Gilead said to each other, 'Whoever attacks the Ammonites first will become ruler over all the people of Gilead.'
Christian Standard Bible

1 After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah, son of Dodo became judge and began to deliver Israel. He was from Issachar and lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 Tola judged Israel twenty-three years and when he died, was buried in Shamir.
3 After him came Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys. They had thirty towns in Gilead, which are still called Jair's Villages today. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.
6 Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him. 7 So the Lord's anger burned against Israel, and he sold them to the Philistines and the Ammonites. 8 They shattered and crushed the Israelites that year, and for eighteen years they did the same to all the Israelites who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites in Gilead. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim. Israel was greatly oppressed, 10 so they cried out to the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against you. We have abandoned our God and worshiped the Baals."
11 The Lord said to the Israelites, "When the Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, 12 Sidonians, Amalekites, and Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, did I not deliver you from them? 13 But you have abandoned me and worshiped other gods. Therefore, I will not deliver you again. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them deliver you whenever you are oppressed."
15 But the Israelites said, "We have sinned. Deal with us as you see fit; only rescue us today! " 16 So they got rid of the foreign gods among them and worshiped the Lord, and he became weary of Israel's misery.
17 The Ammonites were called together, and they camped in Gilead. So the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The rulers of Gilead said to one another, "Which man will begin the fight against the Ammonites? He will be the leader of all the inhabitants of Gilead."

What does Judges chapter 10 mean?

This chapter comes after the death of Gideon and the short rule of his son Abimelech over Shechem and the surrounding region (Judges 9). Perhaps to calm the chaos of Abimelech's reign of terror, two more judges rise to save Israel. Little is revealed about either of them. The first is Tola of the tribe of Issachar. Tola saves Israel in some way, perhaps resolving the power struggles that would have resulted from Abimelech's actions. He rules over Israel as judge for twenty-three years from his home in a town called Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim (Judges 10:1–2).

Jair the Gileadite rules as judge next, for twenty-two years. He operates from his home east of the Jordan River in the region of Gilead. Jair has thirty sons, each of whom rides a donkey and rules over a city in an area called by the title Havvoth-jair, which literally means "the settlements of Jair" (Judges 10:3–5).

Following Jair's rule, Israel returns to the typical pattern of the book of Judges (Judges 2:11–19). They ignore God to worship false idols, forsaking the Lord. This time, their worship includes more than just the Canaanite gods known as Baals and Ashtaroth (Judges 3:7; 8:33). Israel also embraces the deities associated with the nations around Israel, including Syria, Sidon, Moab, the Ammonites, and the Philistines. God is furious. He "sells" them—meaning He allows them to be taken (Deuteronomy 30:15–19; Judges 2:1–3)—into oppression under the Ammonites (Genesis 19:36–38; Judges 3:13) and the Philistines (Genesis 10:13–14; Exodus 13:17). These foes crush Israel, in their respective regions, for eighteen years (Judges 10:6–8).

The Ammonites oppress those living east of the Jordan River in the region of Gilead, but they also push over the river to attack the territories of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Finally, the suffering of Israel grows painful enough that they once more cry out to the Lord. This time, though, their plea for mercy takes the form of a confession. They admit to sin through idolatry and all the depravity that came with it (Deuteronomy 12:29–31). Rather than immediately promising deliverance, God responds by listing many of the nations from whom He has saved Israel over the years (Judges 10:9–12).

In a shocking statement, the Lord then flatly refuses to save Israel again. Instead, in a suggestion brimming with sarcasm, God tells Israel to turn to their idols and false gods for help. To their credit, the people seem to understand the greater point, and they prove their true repentance through action. They again confess to their sinful ways and get rid of the idols. They begin to serve the Lord again, asking for His deliverance but agreeing that He can do with them as He chooses. God's intent was never for Israel to suffer forever, and He prepares for their next rescue (Judges 10:13–16).

The Ammonites begin to mount another attack against the Israelites from Gilead. The Israelites in Gilead assemble their own fighting force and encamp against the Ammonites. A battle is clearly coming. However, the leaders of Gilead admit they have nobody to lead their army against the Ammonites. They announce an incentive: whomever takes the job will become a "captain" or "chief" over all of Gilead (Judges 10:17–18).

God ultimately sends an unlikely answer: Jephthah (Judges 11:1–3), an outcast warrior with questionable friends.