Tola and Jair: When the Purpose gets Lost

Judges 10:1-16



My older sister Sue is panicked by mice. She lives in an old farm house, next door to the house we grew up in. One night she went into her kitchen and saw a mouse scury underneath the pantry door. Wanted it eradicated, she called Dad who went over the house to take care of the problem. He was armed with every handyman’s greatest fix it tool--Duct Tape.

Why not? People have used it to caulk windows, repairs leaks, fix shoes. You can use it to fix tile or do body work on your car. I understand it’s vital when moving. Apparently you can use it as a babysitter.

God is carrying out his fix for a broken world, His deliverance story. Though some might wish it was a quick fix, he is doing something much greater.


1. The Story

I am indebted to By Steve Zeisler whose sermon "Our Misery, His Mercy" was a catalyst for this message.

A. A New Cycle

Judg 10:1-5

10:1 After the time of Abimelech a man of Issachar, Tola son of Puah, the son of Dodo, rose to save Israel. He lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 He led Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.

3 He was followed by Jair of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys. They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.

„X Two new men rule as Judges among the tribes of Israel. Tola son of Puah, the Son of Dodo.

The total summation of his impact on the Tribes. He led Israel 23 years then he died. Not much of an epithath, not much of a legacy. He lived, he died.

„X The Second is Jair of Gilead. He leads for 22 years.

The most significant things that can be recorded about his time as a judge. He had thirty sons who had thirty donkeys who controlled thirty cities.

Two leaders who have little or no impact for Good at least on the tribes. It can be said because they did nothing, they contributed to the degrading spiritual life of the tribes. Look at their legacy. It’s the same old fault, accusation, stumbling block.

B. An Old Fault

Judg 10:6-10

6 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, 7 he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and the house of Ephraim; and Israel was in great distress.


Just as they have done in the past the people of Israel have abandoned Yaweh and turned to the Gods of the land. As a result they will be invaded from two directions.

From the east, the Ammonites attacked them and made their life miserable, and Jephthah’s story is of the breaking of the Ammonite oppression.

From the West it is the Philistines whose oppression will be dealt with by Samsom

C. A Severe Indictment

Apparently because of the poor leadership of Tola and Jair, Israel’s cycle into sin is worse than ever.

"Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD," and served in succession seven different idols or groups of idols. The end of the verse says: "...thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him."



the gods of Aram,

the gods of Sidon,

the gods of Moab,

the gods of the sons of Ammon,

and the gods of the Philistines

Seven is a number indicating completion in scripture; this is a full-blown and active rebellion.

And four times in this verse the author points that they abandoned the Lord.

The general note is made first: They did evil in the sight of the Lord. Then it says they served the Baals, they forsook the Lord, and (toward the end of the verse) they did not serve him.

Their rebellion was repeated, widespread, and whole-hearted.

D. The Trap of an easy Answer Fix

There is the question that begs answering. By this time Israel had seen God repeatedly deliver them. Ehud, Deborah, Baraak, Gideon. These are incredible stories of the greatness of God. Why do the tribes of Israel always seem to abandon a God as great as Yahweh and serve the Canaanite Gods? Why?

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion