Tola, the Judge
After Abimelech died, God sent another judge to save the Israelites. His name was Tola. He was the son of Puah, who was the son of Dodo. Tola was from the tribe of Issachar and lived in the city of Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. Tola was a judge for the Israelites for 23 years. Then he died and was buried in the city of Shamir.
Jair, the Judge
After Tola died, God sent another judge. His name was Jair, and he lived in the area of Gilead. He was a judge for the Israelites for 22 years. Jair had 30 sons who rode 30 donkeys.* These 30 sons controlled 30 towns in the area of Gilead. These towns are called the Towns of Jair to this very day. Jair died and was buried in the city of Kamon.
The Ammonites Fight Against Israel
Again the Israelites did what the LORD said was wrong. They began worshiping the false gods Baal and the Ashtoreth. They also worshiped the gods of the people of Aram, the gods of the people of Sidon, the gods of the Moabites, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. The Israelites left the LORD and stopped serving him.
So the LORD became angry with the Israelites and allowed the Philistines and the Ammonites to defeat them. In that same year those people destroyed the Israelites who lived on the east side of the Jordan River, in the area of Gilead. That is the land where the Amorites had lived. The Israelites suffered for 18 years. The Ammonites then went across the Jordan River to fight against the people of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. The Ammonites brought many troubles to the Israelites.
10 So the Israelites cried to the LORD for help. They said, “God, we have sinned against you. We left our God and worshiped the false god Baal.”
11 The LORD answered the Israelites, “You cried to me when the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, and the Philistines hurt you. I saved you from these people. 12 You cried to me when the people of Sidon, the Amalekites, and the Midianites hurt you. I also saved you from those people. 13 But you left me and started worshiping other gods, so I refuse to save you again. 14 You like worshiping those gods, so go call to them for help. Let them save you when you are in trouble.”
15 But the Israelites said to the LORD, “We have sinned. Do whatever you want to do to us, but please save us today.” 16 Then the Israelites threw away the foreign gods and began to worship the LORD again. So he felt sorry for them when he saw them suffering.
Jephthah Is Chosen as a Leader
17 The Ammonites gathered together for war. Their camp was in the area of Gilead. The Israelites gathered together. Their camp was at the city of Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people living in the area of Gilead said, “Whoever leads us in the attack against the Ammonites will become the head of all the people living in Gilead.”
* 10:4 30 sons who rode 30 donkeys This showed that these men were important leaders, possibly the mayors of the 30 towns in Gilead. 10:12 Midianites This is from the ancient Greek version. The standard Hebrew text has “The Maonites.”