Judges Chapter 10

This period in the Israelites history, was a time when judges were raised to lead Israel. The last judge was Gideon, who led the Israelites to peace from the enemies. Gideon mistakenly led the people to the path of idolatry, through the creation of some kind of idol. At his death, one of his sons desired to become ruler of Israel. Through secret combinations and persuasion, he was made king of Israel. He ruled in wickedness for around three years and then was killed in a fight with his own people. This chapter begins:

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.

For 23 years, a man named Tola, judged Israel. Nothing more is said here, so it would seem that they lived in some amount of peace, at least from external enemies.

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 Havoth-jair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.
5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.

The next judge was Jair. He led them for 22 years. His 30 sons lived an elevated lifestyle among the Israelites in Gilead.

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.

Once again, the Israelites returned to the wickedness of idolatry. They turned from the Lord, which would teach us that during the time of the previous judge, Jair, they were living a life where they worshiped the Lord. The consequence for turning from the Lord, was that he allowed them to fall into the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites. For 18 years, the eastern Israelites were oppressed by their enemies. Eventually, the Ammonites crossed over the Jordan, and began to fight the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim as well.

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.

The Israelites remembered that the Lord had helped them in the past. They recognized that they had forsaken, or abandoned God and had served other gods. Because of their desire to worship the gods of other nations, the Lord was not quick to hear their cries and deliver them this time. Rather, they were also forsaken and told to ask the gods they worshipped to save them. They had been warned of this by prophets before this time.

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.

The Israelites recognized that they had sinned and pleaded that God would deliver them and give them punishment some other way. They repented, gave up their idolatry and began to serve the Lord once again. Their enemy, the Ammonites, gathered against them to fight. The Israelites in Gilead asked one another who would start the fight against the people of Ammon. Whoever did this, would be the leader in Gilead.

At this point, I think that the Israelites recognized that the Lord was not with them because of their wickedness. There may have been fear among them because of this, and they needed someone to stand forth with courage, if they were going to be successful in battle against the Ammonites.

Time and time again, the Lord was there waiting, while the people had forsaken Him and turned to false gods. God continued to deliver them every time they remembered him, which seemed to fall at times of trials and tribulation. There comes a point, when God must allow greater trials to come upon His people, in order to recommit them to living righteously. In Helaman 12:3 “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.” The promises remain for us in our time as well. When we live righteously and strive to follow the commandments of God, he will bless us with deliverance from our enemies and the adversary. The Lord will bless us with prosperity and with an abundance of His spirit. But, if we turn from him until we are faced with adversity and trials, He may be slow to hear our own cries. We may need to be chastened through great difficulties and suffering, before He will fight our battles, so that we can learn true repentance and humility. As the doctrine of the gospel teaches us, it is better for us to choose to remember the Lord and live righteously, especially in the better times of our lives, so that the Lord will be there for us in the harder parts of life.

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