Judges 12:8-10: Minor Judge: Ibzan of Beth-lehem

Verse 8:[1] And after him (he seems to have been only a civil Judge to do justice in North east Israel) Ibzan of Beth-lehem judged Israel.


[Ibzan of Beth-lehem] Of that Beth-lehem that was in the tribe of Judah, not that which was in the tribe of Zebulon (Lapide, Bonfrerius, Menochius). Thus all everywhere, except Maldonatus[2] on Matthew 1 (Menochius). This Absan, or Ibzan, is Boaz (Vatablus, Hebrews in Bonfrerius). But this is bare conjecture, and a reckoning of the time is against it (Bonfrerius).


Of Beth-lehem; either that in Judah, of which Matthew 2:6; or that in Zebulun, Joshua 19:15.


Verse 9:[3] And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.


[Taking into his house, הֵבִ֥יא לְבָנָ֖יו מִן־הַח֑וּץ] He brought to his sons from abroad (Pagnine, Montanus); he brought in for his sons abroad (Junius and Tremellius); he brought from elsewhere (Munster); from foreign parts he summoned (Tigurinus). This language of bringing in is everywhere used of wives, Genesis 24:67;[4] 31:50; Deuteronomy 21:12;[5] 2 Samuel 11:27. Hence the Latins say uxorem ducere, to lead a wife, from this leading into the house of the husband. And this leading was more necessary to the Jews, since the sons born of this matrimony would pertain to the tribe of the husband (Bonfrerius). Hence the husband is said to take the wife, Matthew 1:20,[6] properly from abroad, that is, from other families (Drusius).


Took in thirty daughters, that is, took them home for wives to his sons. See Genesis 24:67; 31:50; Deuteronomy 21:12; 2 Samuel 11:27.


Verse 10:[7] Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Beth-lehem.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁפֹּ֤ט אַֽחֲרָיו֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אִבְצָ֖ן מִבֵּ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃


[2] John Maldonatus (1534-1583) was a learned Spanish Jesuit. Pope Gregory XIII had such confidence in his learning that he appointed him to superintend the publication of the Septuagint. He wrote Commentarii in Quatuor Evangelistas.


[3] Hebrew: וַיְהִי־ל֞וֹ שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים בָּנִ֗ים וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים בָּנוֹת֙ שִׁלַּ֣ח הַח֔וּצָה וּשְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים בָּנ֔וֹת הֵבִ֥יא לְבָנָ֖יו מִן־הַח֑וּץ וַיִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל שֶׁ֥בַע שָׁנִֽים׃


[4] Genesis 24:67a: “And Isaac brought her (וַיְבִאֶ֣הָ יִצְחָ֗ק) into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife…”


[5] Deuteronomy 21:12: “Then thou shalt bring her (וַהֲבֵאתָהּ) home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails…”


[6] Matthew 1:20b: “…Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take (παραλαβεῖν) Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”


[7] Hebrew: וַיָּ֣מָת אִבְצָ֔ן וַיִּקָּבֵ֖ר בְּבֵ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃

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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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