Judges 10:1, 2: The Judgeship of Tola

[circa 1206 BC] Verse 1:[1] And after Abimelech there (Judg. 2:16) arose to defend (or, deliver; Heb. save[2]) Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.


[He arose] That is, having been stirred up by God (Piscator). Or, elected by the people (just as Jephthah, Ibzan [Judges 12:8], Elon, Abdon), to correct scandal and efface the tyranny of Abimelech (Lapide).


[לְהוֹשִׁיעַ follows in the Hebrew] So that he might cause it to be safe[3] (Pagnine); to save (Piscator); to preserve (Junius and Tremellius). Question: How did he save them? For the Scripture is silent concerning this. Response: He settled intestine commotions, and checked those that were setting new things in motion (Bonfrerius). He freed the Republic from tyranny (Lapide); and from idolatry (Lapide, Bonfrerius). He kept the people in the worship of God (Junius, Piscator), as is indicated in verse 6 without obscurity (Bonfrerius). Perhaps he actually defended them from enemies, although the Scripture does not mention it (Lapide).


There arose; not of himself, but either chosen by the people; or rather, raised by God, as the other judges were. To defend Israel, or, to save, which he did not by fighting against and overthrowing their enemies, but by a prudent and pious government of them, whereby he kept them from sedition, and oppression, and tyranny, as also from idolatry, as may be gathered from verse 6, which if not restrained and purged out, would have brought certain ruin upon them.


[The son of Puah, the uncle of Abimelech, בֶּן־פּוּאָ֛ה בֶּן־דּוֹד֖וֹ[4]] The son of Puah, that is, the son of the uncle of him (Septuagint, Munster), namely, of Abimelech (Bonfrerius, certain interpreters in Munster), concerning whom it immediately preceded (Bonfrerius). Evidently the Hebrews, on account of the merits of Gideon, willed to appoint a Judge from his lineage; and, since his sons had been killed, they took a son of his brother (Lapide). You will say, Gideon was of the tribe of Manasseh; how then were his brother Puah, and his son Tola, of the tribe of Issachar? Response: Gideon and Puah were uterine brothers, having one and the same mother, but different fathers, one from Issachar, the other from Manasseh (Lapide out of Augustine, Bonfrerius, Menochius, Tirinus). Others translate it, the son of Puah, who in turn was the son of his uncle (grandfather [Syriac]) (Jonathan). But it is impossible for one to be the son of his uncle (Bonfrerius). The son of Pual, who in turn was the grandson of that one (Arabic). [To others דּוֹדוֹ/Dodo is a proper name.] Thus it is taken by Cajetan, Mercerus, Marinus, a great many of the Hebrews, and the Spanish translator (Malvenda). Thus the English and the Dutch. The son of Puah, who in turn is the son of Dodo (Pagnine, Montanus); or, the son of Puah, that is, the son of Dodo (Tigurinus), or, a grandson of Dodo (Castalio).


[He dwelt in Shamir of mount Ephraim] For the convenience of ruling the people, as in the midst of the Cis-jordanian tribes, and not far from the Tabernacle of the covenant (Bonfrerius). In the midst of the more numerous tribes (Lapide). It was a town of Issachar, sharing a border with Ephraim. There is another Shamire in Judah, concerning which Joshua 15:48 (Junius, Piscator).


In Shamir in Mount Ephraim; which was in the very heart and midst of the land.


[circa 1183 BC] Verse 2:[5] And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.


[And he judged, etc.] That is to say, He ruled Israel, not after the likeness of a tyrant, but in the manner of a Judge (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּקָם֩ אַחֲרֵ֙י אֲבִימֶ֜לֶךְ לְהוֹשִׁ֣יעַ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל תּוֹלָ֧ע בֶּן־פּוּאָ֛ה בֶּן־דּוֹד֖וֹ אִ֣ישׁ יִשָּׂשכָ֑ר וְהֽוּא־יֹשֵׁ֥ב בְּשָׁמִ֖יר בְּהַ֥ר אֶפְרָֽיִם׃


[2] Hebrew: לְהוֹשִׁיעַ.


[3] The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.


[4] דּוֹד signifies uncle.


[5] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁפֹּט֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עֶשְׂרִ֥ים וְשָׁלֹ֖שׁ שָׁנָ֑ה וַיָּ֖מָת וַיִּקָּבֵ֥ר בְּשָׁמִֽיר׃

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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