Chapter 48
The Judge Tola [Judges 10.1-10.2]

Scripture: Judges 10.1-10.2 (KJV)

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

Commentary (Judges 10.1-2; KJV)
Commentary (Judges 10.1-2; GW)

    In this chapter we have:
I. The peaceable times Israel enjoyed under the government of two judges, Tola (See Article 10.1; below) and Jair, Judges 10:1-5.
II. The troublesome times that followed.
         a. Israel's sin that caused them trouble, Judges 10:6.
         b. The trouble itself they were in, Judges 10:7-9.
III. Their repentance and humiliation over sin, their prayers and reformation, and the mercy they found with God when they truly repented, Judges 10:10-16.
IV. Preparations made for their deliverance out of the hand of their oppressors, Judges 10:17, 18.

The overthrow of the men of Shechem and of Abimelech is followed by a period of temporary peace, after which the people resume the practice of idolatrous wickedness, and the wheel turns as Jehovah sells them into the hands of the nations whose gods they serve. And then they are deeply distressed by their enemies, and seeking relief, the children of Israel cry unto Jehovah, who rebukes them for their past conduct, and sends them back to the gods they had been worshipping. Then the people put away the strange gods from among them, and Jehovah is moved with compassion to give them a judge (Judges 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.—Judges 10:1 (KJV)
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.—Judges 10:1 (GW)

And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel…It was not only necessary to defend Israel; but such desperate times made it necessary to save, deliver, and protect Israel; which Abimelech did not do; since he was not a judge that God raised up, or a king that was the people's choice. Instead, he seized a kingly power over them; and rather than saving and defending them, he created for them an environment of trouble and distress, and imposed upon them a tyrannical government; but the worse thing he did was to allow the practice of idolatry to continue. After Abimelech’s embarrassing death at the hand of a woman, God raised up a judge in Israel, and although we do not read of any enemies in particular that he battled and delivered his people from in his days, it is not impossible or unlikely that there might have been such. But the likely case is that during his period of influence there was peace in the land, and that the enemies of the Israelites had made no hostile incursions into the land during his presidency; and that when Jair who followed Tola is included, Israel enjoyed forty-five years of peace with its neighbors. Besides, we might be able to say about Tola that he did save them, in a certain sense; that he was an instrument of God to bridge those differences and dissensions, which Abimelech had caused, and at some point he set them on the road to recovering them from the idolatry they had fallen into in his times, and of protecting them and their liberties, civil and religious. It is said of each of the judges, “he judged Israel;” but of Tola alone there is the record that he saved the nation. Salvation was certainly required after the collapse of both Gideon’s and Abimelech’s influence. Was Tola one of the great judges of the caliber of Gideon? Maybe yes! Maybe no! Only God knows.

Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar. He was of the tribe of Issachar, and he had the same name as the eldest son of Issachar, and his father Puah had the same name as the second son of Issachar: “The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron--four in all” (1 Chron 7:1; NKJV); and as for Dodo (seems to mean “chief.) his grandfather, a man with that name is mentioned in another place, “And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated… Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem” (2 Sam 23:9, 24; NKJV). This is supposed to refer to the war in which David slew Goliath.

the son of Puah— Some copies of the Targum, the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, render this expression, “the son of his uncle”, or “his father's brother”; meaning that his father Puah was the son of Abimelech's uncle, or father's brother, and so was one of the family which was raised up to be a judge after his death; but it is not likely that Gideon, the father of Abimelech, and Puah, the father of this man, should be brethren, since the one was of the tribe of Manasseh, and the other of the tribe of Issachar. He was uncle to Abimelech by the father's side, and consequently brother of Gideon; yet the former was of the tribe of Issachar, while the latter was of Manasseh. They were, most probably, uterine (having the same mother, but different fathers), brothers.

Article 10.1: The Judge Tola
TOLA to'-la (tola`, "worm" or "scarlet stuff") (one of the so-called “minor judges;” but they were no less important in delivering Israel during the period before the monarchy.):

(1) One of the four sons of Issachar (Genesis 46:13; 1 Chronicles 7:1), mentioned among those who journeyed to Egypt with Jacob (Genesis 46.8), and in the census taken by Moses and Eleazar, as father of the Tolaites (Numbers 26:23) whose descendants in the reign of David included 22,600 "mighty men of valor" (1 Chronicles 7:2).

But in the verses beginning Judges 10, he is:

(2) One of the Judges, “the son of Puah the son of Dodo, a man of Isaachar.” He dwelt in the hill country of Ephraim in the village of Shamir, where after judging Israel for 23 years (B.C. 1206-1183.) he was buried” (Judges 10:1, 2). In the order of succession he is placed between Abimelech and Jair. It is interesting to note that both Tola and Puah are names of colors, and that they occur together both in the case of the judge and in that of the sons of Isaachar. They may therefore be looked upon as popular typical or ancestral names of the Issachar tribe.

and he dwelt in Shamir in Mount Ephraim: that is, when he became judge in Israel he relocated to this central place in the midst of the tribes, and near the tabernacle of Shiloh, and so it was fit for a judge to reside in, to whom the people might apply from all parts to have justice and judgment administered to them. It is called Shamir in Mount Ephraim, to distinguish it from another of the same name in the mountain of Judah, (Joshua 15:48) it seems to have got its name from the thorns which grew about it. Shamir may be another name for Samaria. For another place with the same name, see Joshua 15.48: “And in the mountain country: Shamir, Jattir, Sochoh” (Josh 15:48; NKJV).

dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim--As a central place, and he made it the seat of government.

Defend—Here it means “to deliver.” The word is the same as in Judges 2:16, Judges 2:18; Judges 3:9, Judges 3:15, Judges 3:31, etc., and is the technical word applied to the judges. Compare Nehemiah 9:27 ("saviors who saved them," the King James Version).

The term "there arose," also marks Tola as one of the Judges, properly so called, raised by divine providence.

Tola and Puah - Both names of heads of houses in the tribe of Issachar 1 Chronicles 7:1; Genesis 46:13.

Shamir - Not the same as that mentioned in Joshua 15:48, which was in the hill country of Judah. Issaehar would seem from this to have extended into the northern part of mount Ephraim.

2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.—Judges 10:2 (KJV)
2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.—Judges 9:57 (GW)

And he judged Israel twenty three years, and died…He did not take it upon him to be king, as Abimelech had, but acted as a judge, in which office he continued twenty three years, and faithfully discharged it, and died in honor. We said earlier that a person can possess great power and still help his people.

Quiet and a feeling of peace, though it’s the best to live in, are the worst to write about, because they reveal very little in the way of variety that the historian can use to entertain his reader with. Tola and Jair, made small figures and take up very little room in this history. But, no doubt they were both raised up by God to serve their country as good judges, not pretending, as Abimelech had done, to possess the splendor of kings, or, like him, taking the honor belonging to others, and claiming it for him. It is said of Tola that he arose after Abimelech to defend Israel, Judges 10:1. After Abimelech had corrupted Israel by his wickedness, he annoyed and disturbed them by his restless ambition, and, by the misfortunes he brought on them, by exposing them to enemies from abroad. God animated this good man to work for reforming the abuses of the past, to put down idolatry, to sooth the disorderly agitations that were still around, and to heal the wounds created by Abimelech's bloody coup. Hence he saved them from themselves, and guarded them against their enemies. Many a man would like no better epitaph than to have written after their names that they rose to deliver Israel; too many men have written after their names the record of their destructive works.

He was of the tribe of Issachar, a tribe inclined to serve, for he bowed his shoulder to bear (Genesis 49:14,15), yet one of that tribe is raised up here to rule; for those that humble themselves shall be exalted. He bore the name of him that was an ancestor to the first family of that tribe; of the sons of Issachar Tola was the first, Genesis 46:13,Nu+26:23. It signifies a worm, yet, being the name of his ancestor, he was not ashamed of it. Though he was of Issachar, yet, when he was raised up to the government, he came and dwelt in Mount Ephraim, which was more in the heart of the country, so that the people might have a more convenient access to him for judgment. He judged Israel twenty-three years, kept things in good order, but did not do anything very memorable.

and was buried in Shamir;
the place where he executed his office. It is said, that in the first year of Tola, the son of Puah, Priamus reigned in Troy.


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