Hebrew History Part 10

Contact: David Parham 940-322-4343


We continue our studies this week as we study "Judges and Oppressing Nations – Part 2"


Last week we studied about how the Judges came to rule in the nation of Israel. This week we will look at the judges and the nations that oppressed the people during the time after Gideon’s death. As we ended our study last week, we saw one of the greatest victories ever as Gideon took a handful of men and conquered the Midianites. With only 300 men, a great nation was conquered. Let’s read those verses again before we begin this week’s study.

Judg 7:4 And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

Judg 7:5 So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

Judg 7:6 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

By those 300 men, the Midianites were defeated. The battle was clearly God’s, not the power of men.

We see in Judges 8:27 that Gideon made an ephod and put it in his city and it became a snare unto Gideon and his house.

Judg 8:27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.

This should be a lesson to us, that even if the Spirit of the Lord is upon us, unless we stay close and keep our eyes on God, we can come from a great victory and turn around and face defeat in our personal lives.

Soon after the death of Gideon, we find the people of Israel openingly worshipping Baal, forgetting the God who had delivered them from the many oppressing nations. We talked about last week how they had this horrible pattern of turning away from God again and again. We need to realize how we are creatures of habit and tend to repeat things over and over. Pray that God will let us make those things good things, not negative things like the Hebrew children of those days. After Gideon’s death, Abimelech, a son of Gideon’s concubine, asserted himself as King at Shechem for 3 years.

Judg 9:22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,

Judg 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

Abimelech gained the support and following of the Shechemites by slaying all of the 70 seons of Gideon except Jotham.

Judg 9:1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,

Judg 9:2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.

Judg 9:3 And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.

Judg 9:4 And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.

Judg 9:5 And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.

In our recent studies of the Kings of Israel we found that many times the brothers would kill off the others in order to maintain their superiority to the kingdom. What a horrible way to live where only consideration of one’s self is considered. We see that in many people’s lives today. They may not kill one another, but they show little regard for one another. We are commanded as Christian’s to put our brother and sisters best interests before our own.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

In the course of the civil strife that followed the killing of the 70 sons of Gideon, Abibelech was finally killed by a millstone which a woman dropped on his head when he approached a fortified tower within the city.

Judg 9:53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.

Judg 9:54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

If we tend to live by the sword, odds are we will die that way also. We need to be about God’s work, and let the strife of the world not affect us in our day to day walk. After Abimelech’s death, this ended all attempts to establish kingship in Israel during the days of the Judges.

  1. The 7th Judge… Tola

    Judg 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.

    Judg 10:2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.

    Little is know about Tola. He had not great deeds or feats recorded about him. We see from the verses in Chapter 10 that he was from the tribe of Issachar and he dwelt in Shamir in Mt. Ephraim. His judgship lasted 23 years over Israel, which was a considerable reign for no mention of deeds. As Christians, we should ever be looking to do things for the honor and glory of God. Paul said we should run for the prize that is set before us.

    1 Cor 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    1 Cor 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

    1 Cor 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    1 Cor 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

    1 Cor 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

    1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

  2. The 8th Judge was Jair

    Jair judged almost as long as Tola. He judged Israel for 22 years.

    Judg 10:3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.

    Judg 10:4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.

    Judg 10:5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.

    We see that this judge had many sons. 30 sons that had 30 cities.

  3. The 9th Judge was Jephtah and he was oppressed by the Philistines and Ammonites

    Apostasy again prevailed as Israel turned again to worship Baal and other pagan dieties.

    Judg 10:6 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.

    I do not understand how these people were so dense to not see the importance of serving the true and righteous God. Because they turned their backs, oppression came from 2 directions. The Philistines came down from the southwest and the Ammonites from the east.

    Judg 10:7 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.

    Judg 10:8 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.

    We see that the Ammonites oppressed Israel for 18 years. God does not ignore sin, and there is a penalty that we pay. As a saved child of the Lord, we can ask for forgiveness, and we may not have tremendous consequences. But if we stay in sin and refuse to repent, the sin will bring down much penalty. When we studied the life of David, we saw how merciful God was to him even when he sinned. God was longsuffering after he sinned and took Bathsheba for his own wife aftering having Uriah put to death in battle. If David had forsook that sin and admitted it, perhaps the child would not have died. But because he hid the sin, Nathan the Prophet told him that the sword would never depart from his house.

    Jephthah was the deliverer and judge at this time.

    Judg 11:4 And it came to pass in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel.

    Judg 11:5 And it was so, that when the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob:

    Judg 11:6 And they said unto Jephthah, Come, and be our captain, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.

    We see that Jephthah was the son a harlot and he had been cast from his home community early in life. When the Gileadites looked for a leader, he was invited back. Notice how in verse 9 that Jephthah made a deal with the people that if he was successful, he would continue to be their leader.

    Judg 11:9 And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?

    Judg 11:10 And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.

    Judg 11:11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and captain over them: and Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.

    When Jephthah appealed for help from the Ammonites, they responded with force.

    Judg 11:28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.

    Judg 11:29 Then the spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.

    Judg 11:30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

    Judg 11:31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

    Judg 11:32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands.

    Judg 11:33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

    Judg 11:34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

    Judg 11:35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.

    We see in verse 30 that Jephthah mad a vow unto God before going into battle. Making vows to God is serious business. We should live by those vows or never make them. Note that he conquered the Ammonites, and then came to Mizpeh unto his house. His daughter came to dance before him, and it appears that he sacrificed his daughter to fulfill his vow of a burnt offering. Nowhere in God’s Word is anyone ever commanded to give a human sacrifice. We know Abraham was tested by God to offer his only son Isaac, but the angel of the Lord stayed his hand and God provided a ram in the bush for the substitute. If he did fulfill the vow by offering his daughter, God was not pleased with him. Because he stood strong to the test and did deliver the nation Israel from the oppressors, he is mentioned as a hero of faith in Hebrews 11:32.

    Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

    Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

    Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

  4. The 10th Judge of Israel was Ibzan

    Ibzan judged Israel for 7 years. He had 30 sons and 30 daughters indicating that he had a position of wealth and influence.

    Judg 12:8 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.

    Judg 12:9 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.

    Judg 12:10 Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem.

  5. The 11th Judge was Elon

    Elon judged for 10 years in Ajalon, the land of Zebulon. This was his home and place of service to his people.

    Judg 12:11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.

    Judg 12:12 And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun.

  6. The 12th Judge of Israel was Abdon

    Judg 12:13 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel.

    Judg 12:14 And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.

    Judg 12:15 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.

    We see the 12th judge Abdon lived in Ephraim. Apparently he had a position of power since he had the ability to furnish 70 members of his family with asses during his 8 year reign.

  7. The 13th Judge was Samson who overcame the opressing nation Philistia

God delivered the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines because they did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Judg 13:1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

Judg 15:20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

We know that the story of Samson is a great story, but he was one that did not control his own desires very well. He was a Nazarite which was announced to his parents before his birth. A Nazarite was one set aside and consecrated to the work of God.

Judg 13:5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

We know by many verses in the Bible that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Samson.

Judg 13:25 And the spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Judg 14:5 Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him.

Judg 14:19 And the spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house.

Judg 15:14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

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