The Judge Abdon [Judges 12.13-12.15]
Scripture: Judges 12.13-15 (KJV)
13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.
14 And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.
15 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.
13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.—Judges 12.13 (KJV)
13 After Elon, Abdon, son of Hillel, from Pirathon judged Israel.—Judges 12:13 (GW)
And after him Abdon the son of Hillell, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.
“After him” is a reference to Elon, the judge who is the subject of Chapter 58. Abdon, whose name means “service,” is from Pirathon, where he was born, and which was in the tribe of Ephraim, according to Judges 12:15. Dalglish located this place as, "Some eight miles southwest of Nablus."
Under Abdon’s government, the tribe of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 27:14), thrived, and begins to retrieve its reputation, which suffered partially because there was no person of note from there since Joshua; since Abimelech the Shechemite caused somewhat of a scandal.
The 25 consecutive years, under the judgeship of Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, seem to have been very uneventful and prosperous, since the only record we have of them is preserved in the history of their country, and records flourishing families and peaceful successes of two of their number.
___________________________verse 13 notes_______________________
(1 Chronicles 27:14; KJV) “The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.”
14 And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years —Judges 12.14 (KJV)
14 He had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys. He judged Israel for eight years. —Judges 12:14 (GW)
And he had forty sons, and thirty nephews…
If not nephews, they were his grandchildren. He lived long enough to see his sons married, and his grandchildren grown up into men. This Abdon was famous for the large number of his offspring; he had forty sons and thirty grandsons; (Judges 11:14). It must have been quite a site when Abdon and his seventy offspring, mounted on donkeys, rode through Pirathon; I’ll bet they always drew a crowd.
that rode on seventy ass colts;
These riders are his children and grandchildren, and they rode on seventy ass-colts either as judges and officers or as gentlemen and persons of distinction (see (Judges 5:10). As judges, they functioned like the 19th Century and early 20th Century American circuit riding judges. They did not have a trade, and they were not concerned with husbandry, or feeding cattle, but were men with estates, and they rode about like gentlemen. It was very satisfying to Abdon to see his children's children, but all was not going well, because he feared the end of peace was descending upon Israel, because by this time the Philistines had begun to break in upon them.
and he judged Israel eight years;
Eusebius, who calls this judge Labdon, wrote that in his time the city of Troy was destroyed; but elsewhere he places it in the times of Eli.
_____________________________verse 14 notes______________________________
(Judges 11:14; NKJV) “Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys; they also had thirty towns, which are called "Havoth Jair" to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.” He had thirty sons, etc.—It appears that there was both peace and prosperity during the time that Jair governed Israel; he had, it seems, provided for his family, and given a village to each of his thirty sons; which were, in consequence, called Havoth Jair or the villages of Jair. Their riding on thirty ass colts seems to intimate that they were persons of consideration, and kept up a certain dignity in their different departments.—Adam Clarke's Commentary
(Judges 5:10; NKJV) "Speak, you who ride on white donkeys, Who sit in judges' attire, And who walk along the road.” Speak--that is, join in this song of praise. white asses--Those which are purely white are highly prized, and being costly, are possessed only by the wealthy and great. Ye that sit in judgment--has been rendered, "ye that repose on tapestries."—Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15 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. —Judges 12.15(KJV)
15 When Abdon died, he was buried in Pirathon, in the territory of Ephraim, in the mountains of Amalek.—Judges 12:15 (GW)
And Abdon the son of Hillell the Pirathonite died…
At the end of his eight years' of government, he died. He is only recorded to have been happy in his children; public affairs were so peaceable, and national security was such that he did not need to carry out any glorious military actions.
and was buried at Pirathon, in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites;
He was buried in the same city where he was born, and from where he got the title Pirathonite; it was in the city of Pirathon and the tribe of Ephraim, and the particular spot was Mount Amalek; either named for the person it belonged to, or because the Amalekites lived there at one time or because something remarkable happened there. Josephus says; this judge had a magnificent funeral. He had forty sons, and by them he left thirty grandchildren; and these seventy marched along side as he was moved in state to his burial tomb.
This place, where Abdon died and was buried after holding the office of judge for eight years, is mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:30 and 1 Chronicles 11:31 as the home of Benaiah the hero; and has been preserved in the village of Ferta, about two hours and a half to the S.S.W. of Nabulus.
It is very strange that in the history of all these judges, some of whose actions are related, there is not so much as one mention made of the high priest, or any other priest or Levite, that turn up either for counsel or to take action in any public affair, from Phinehas (Judges 20:28) to Eli, which may well traverse a period of 250 years. During that period, only the names of the high priests are preserved: (See (1 Chronicles 6:4-7). How can this strange obscurity of that priesthood last for such a long time, and especially since it began with a mighty splendor and the institution of it was of such significance in the Law of Moses? Surely it intimates that the institution of the priesthood was primarily intended to be typical, and that the great benefits that seemed to be promised by it were to be chiefly found in its antitype; the everlasting priesthood of our Lord Jesus. In comparison with His superior glory, that priesthood had no glory at all, 2 Corinthians 3:10.
______________________verse 15 notes_______________________
(2 Samuel 23:30; GW) “Benaiah from Pirathon, Hiddai from the Gaash ravines,”
(1 Chronicles 11:31; NKJV) “Ithai the son of Ribai of Gibeah, of the sons of Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite,”
(Judges 20:28; KJV) “And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.”
(1 Chronicles 6:4-7; GW) “Eleazar was the father of Phinehas. Phinehas was the father of Abishua. Abishua was the father of Bukki. Bukki was the father of Uzzi. Uzzi was the father of Zerahiah. Zerahiah was the father of Meraioth. Meraioth was the father of Amariah. Amariah was the father of Ahitub.”
(2 Corinthians 3:10; NKJV) “In the Most Holy Place he made two cherubim, fashioned by carving, and overlaid them with gold.”