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This chapter relates a pleasant, but short interval to the wars of Israel, under the peaceable government of two of its Judges; Tola, the son of Puah, and Jair a Gileadite. A renewal of Israel's transgression succeeds; and, in consequence, a renewal of troubles. God's anger and visitation: Israel's sorrow and humiliation; these are enumerated in this chapter.
There is somewhat significant in the name of Tola; it signifies in the original, a worm. Perhaps it was descriptive of the humility of this man's mind, for, though he governed Israel twenty-three years, yet we hear nothing ostentatious of him. Reader! doth it not serve, in the view of this man ' s name, to remind thee of him, who in the unequalled humility of his soul, called himself the worm. Psalms 22:6 . And was it not to him, as our great surety and representative, Jehovah spake, in that memorable scripture, Isaiah 41:14 . Perhaps the Reader doth not know, that Jesus was called by way of reproach, the Tolah: meaning, the hanged one, after his crucifixion; and all his followers branded with being disciples of the Tolah: the hanged one. Precious Redeemer! in humbleness as well as glory, it behoveth thee to have the preeminence.
There was an illustrious Jair before this man. Numbers 32:41 . Though Jair reigned twenty-two years, and was eminently distinguished as a father, with a numerous progeny, and provided for them nobly, yet all his history is contained in a small compass; that he was a Gileadite, that he had thirty sons, which rode elegantly; which possessed thirty cities, and after reigning twenty-two years, that he died. Alas! and what is the inscription of every man ' s tomb but like it. Oh! how precious it is, to belong to him who liveth forever, and hath said, Because I live, ye shall live also. John 14:19 .
Let the Reader, while he reads this sad account of the defection of Israel, call to mind the melancholy state of nature void of grace, in all ages. What a tender expostulation is that of God by the prophet, in the view of it. Jeremiah 2:11-12 .
How close upon the heels of sin is the Lord's chastisement. But Reader, do not overlook God's love in all his judgments. Sweet is the confession of the Psalmist upon this subject, considered in his personal character. It will be well if both writer and reader in all their afflictions, can do the same. Psalms 119:75 , etc.
It was a gracious promise of God, that if his people under his judgments, accepted the punishment of their iniquity, God would remember his everlasting covenant. See Leviticus 26:40-42 . Reader! do not overlook, in this promise, the salvation by Jesus. God's covenant with Abraham was typical of the everlasting covenant of redemption. See Genesis 17:7 . How else could it be called an everlasting covenant? And what else could be implied in being a God to him and to his seed, but the blessings of Jesus, in whom all the families of the earth are alone blessed.
These strong, but gracious expostulations, are all leading to repentance. They all convey, what would be justice indeed, but by grace accompanying them, they prepare for mercy. Oh! how precious is that rich, and complete salvation, in which the Lord, in the person of our Great Representative, hath taken vengeance of our sins, while sparing in him the sinner. Hence the assurance of that blessed doctrine. Romans 3:26 .
Reader, do not overlook, in this acknowledgment of Israel, the characters of true repentance. They lie low in the dust, acknowledging God's sovereign right to do as he pleased; and while they supplicate mercy, confess that they have no pretensions to it. Certainly the Holy Ghost prepares the souls of true penitents for all the riches of Jesus' grace, in thus stripping the heart of everything, that Jesus may be more precious.
The expression here made use of, that the Lord's soul was grieved for the misery of Israel, is so very striking, that I would wish the Reader to pause over the perusal of it. There is a similar one in the prophecy of Ezekiel, in which the Lord saith, I am broken with their whorish heart. Ezekiel 6:9 . Was it not meant to convey to us, (for I do not presume to speak decidedly upon so solemn a passage) the human nature of Jesus, of whom it is said, that in all the afflictions of his people, he was afflicted. Isaiah 63:9-10 . The God-head of Jesus is not subject to such passions. If this be the meaning of the passage, how very sweet is it thus to trace the outlines of Jesus in his love to his people, in all their circumstances.
When the Lord is about to appear for the deliverance of his people, he soon raiseth instruments for the purpose. That is a blessed scripture, for the encouragement of God's afflicted ones in all ages, when the Lord hath prepared their minds for his mercy; we may be sure that the mercy is prepared for them. For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy; now will I arise, saith the Lord. Psalms 12:5 .
PAUSE, my soul! over the perusal of this chapter, and behold once more a renewed instance of human corruption, and divine grace triumphing over it, in the richest display of that glorious testimony; that where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord.
But chiefly my soul, remark in this chapter, what is said of his unequalled love, and tender sympathy with his people; whose soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Yes! dearest Jesus, here I fully recognize thee! It is Jesus' soul that was grieved. It is the same, of whom it is said, that in all their affliction he was afflicted. In his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit. Oh! sweet and precious view of the humanity of Jesus! Sweet and precious evidence, that he hath indeed taken our nature upon him! Sweet and precious assurance of his being the same Jesus, yesterday, and today, and forever: when, in an age so long before his incarnation, and the eternal purposes of salvation came to be fulfilled, Jesus' soul participated in the miseries of his people. And shall not my soul find a growing confidence in this unequalled view of his love? Shall I not rest assured, that if my adored Redeemer took a part, and so decided a part in the sorrows of his people, before redemption-work was finished; will he not now feel an interest, and concern in all that relates to them? Did the Son of God indeed come down from heaven; did he leave the bosom of the Father, and tabernacle in substance of our flesh, on purpose to accomplish salvation; and was his soul grieved for those miseries he came to do away; and will he now relax in his regard, and overlook the miseries of his Israel, when he is exalted at the right hand of the Father, and all power is His in heaven and earth? Will not Jesus, of whom it is said, having loved his own which are in the world, he loveth them unto the end; will he not commiserate our distresses, soften their asperity, and overrule them to his own glory, and his people's welfare? Oh! thou dear Redeemer! convinced as my soul is, that amidst all the hallelujah's of the blessed, the care of thy church below, attracts thy unceasing concern; nor can all the , joys of heaven cause thee to remit one moment thy participating in all the circumstances of the humblest and poorest of thy tried family: may my soul feel the Spirit ' s constraining influence in drawing me nearer to the view, and to the enjoyment of thee my God and Saviour; till from conducting me through all troubles, and sympathizing with me in all needful afflictions, thou shalt bring me safe to that blessed place, where as the Lamb in the midst of the throne, thou feedest thy redeemed, leadest them to living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Judges 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19