Judges 10-12

Sunday Evening Bible Study

November 18, 2001


The book of Judges chronicles the history of Israel in that period between the time of Joshua conquering the land and the coming of the age of kings, a period of about four hundred years.  In this time period, we see a roller coaster kind of experience for Israel as they walk with God and are prosperous, then they fall away from God and go through difficult times, then they turn back to God, etc.

In a way, there’s a kind of picture in Judges of the person who has a kind of relationship with God where they are close to Him for a week or two, then fall away and get caught again in a bondage to one type of sin or another.

Judges 10

:1-2  Tola

:1 after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola … in Shamir

to defendyasha‘– to save, be saved, be delivered

Shamirsee map


Contrast in leaders

Abimelech is not a person you want to model yourself after.
Abimelech was the man who had appointed himself to be king. He then worked to seize control, killing 68 of his own brothers. After he became king, the things he became known for was how he attacked the people of Shechem and the city of Thebes.
He became known for how he attacked his own people, Israel.
Tola, as well as the other judges, were raised up by God to defend Israel, not attack it.
The judges of God were men whom God used to defend Israel from its real enemies on the outside.

:3-5 Jair

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

Gileadite – a person from Gilead, see map

:4  they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day

Havothjair = “villages of Jair” see map

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

Camon - unknown

:6-9  Israel falls again

: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.

did evil again – This seems to be the worst time yet.

Baalim – plural of Baal. The name appropriated to the principal male god of the Phoenicians.

Ashtaroth – The false goddesses in the Canaanite religion, usually related to fertility cult

Zidon – the town of Sidon. An ancient Phoenician city.

Moab – the descendants of Moab, the son of Abraham’s nephew Lot, through incest with one of his daughters (Gen. 19:37). see map

Ammon – the descendants of Benammi, the other son of Abraham’s nephew Lot, through incest with one of his daughters (Gen. 19:38). see map

Philistines – The ancient enemies of David’s time, yet they were around in Jephthah’s day as well. They settled in the southern part of Israel, along the coast. see map

God had originally given Israel victory over the seven nations that had inhabited the land.  Now Israel is serving seven foreign gods.

: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.


You become slaves of the one you serve

The people had begun to serve the gods of the Philistines and the Ammonites, and then God allowed them to become enslaved to them.
(Rom 6:16-18 KJV) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? {17} But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. {18} Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Freedom from sin doesn’t just come by saying certain words or necessarily praying certain prayers.
Freedom doesn’t come with words, but with action. It’s not who you talk about, it’s who you serve.

:8  which is in Gilead.

Gileadsee map

:9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah … Benjamin … Ephraim

Judah …Benjamin … Ephraimsee map

:10-18  Israel repents

:10  We have sinned against thee


Confession is a start

The people are acknowledging that they have fallen away from the Lord. This is a step in the right direction, but only one step.

:13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.

It sounds like God is absolutely finished with these Israelites. Not so.

:14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.


God gives up

Perhaps one of the greatest judgments God can make on a person is simply to let them go and let them suffer the consequences of their own actions.
(Rom 1:24-26 KJV)  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: {25} Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. {26} For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections …


Empty out your pockets

I think that God is challenging the people to see just how sincere they are in asking Him for help.
I understand that towards the end of his life, someone asked Elvis why he wore so many gold religious emblems around his neck. He had a Star of David, a cross, a crescent, etc. He replied, “I’m not taking any chances”.
It’s like the kid who prays for God to help him on his science test, but also keeps his lucky rabbit’s foot in his pocket, “just in case”.
God wants us to empty out our pockets and show Him that we are trusting in nothing else but Him. We have no contingency plans in case He doesn’t come through. We are following Him.

:16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.


God is looking for repentance

Talk is cheap. God doesn’t just want to hear you say you’re sorry, He wants to see you take a step in the right direction.
Once God sees the people are sincere because they have actually put the other gods away, God takes pity on the people.

:17 encamped in Mizpeh.

Mizpehsee map

Judges 11

:1-11 Jephthah becomes leader

:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.

Jephthah –“he opens”

a mighty man of valour – he had a reputation as a valiant warrior

he was the son of an harlot – he had an illegitimate birth

Gilead – this is a little confusing here, but it seems that the name of Jephthah’s dad was Gilead. The land that they lived in was also named Gilead.

:2 they thrust out Jephthah

Jephthah is kicked out of the family.


God uses outcasts

It seems that God has this habit of using people that have been rejected by others.
Joseph was rejected by his brothers.
David was rejected by his boss, Saul.
Jeremiah and many of the other prophets were often rejected because of their message.
Jesus was rejected by His people, the Jews.
Paul wrote,

(1 Cor 1:26-27 KJV)  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: {27} But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

:3 dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah

Tob – a city east of Havothjair. see map

vain men – Jephthah kept some bad company.

(NAS) worthless fellows; (NIV) a group of adventurers; (NLT) a large band of rebels

Jephthah passes the time as a type of “warlord”, perhaps something like Robin Hood or even David while he was fleeing from Saul and would make raids on the Amalekites.

:5 the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob

Apparently somebody remembered about Jephthah and what kind of a fighter he was.

:7 Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my father's house?

I wonder if any of Jephthah’s brothers are in this group.

:9  If ye bring me home again to fight … shall I be your head?

It seems to me that Jephthah wants to know if he’s just being used, or if they really want him to be their leader.

:11  Jephthah uttered all his words before the LORD in Mizpeh.

Jephthah is serious about what he is doing.  Whether there were priests involved, somehow there is a solemn occasion where everyone realizes that God is a part of this whole thing.

Mizpeh – the word can also be spelled Mizpah, and means “watchtower”

This could be the same place that Jacob had his final meeting with his father-in-law, Laban.

(Gen 31:44-53 KJV) Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. {45} And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. {46} And Jacob said unto his brethren, Gather stones; and they took stones, and made an heap: and they did eat there upon the heap. {47} And Laban called it Jegarsahadutha: but Jacob called it Galeed. {48} And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day. Therefore was the name of it called Galeed; {49} And Mizpah; for he said, The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. {50} If thou shalt afflict my daughters, or if thou shalt take other wives beside my daughters, no man is with us; see, God is witness betwixt me and thee. {51} And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; {52} This heap be witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm. {53} The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac.
The language sounds very similar to what the elders are saying to Jephthah – “a witness between us”

Jephthah was God’s man of the hour.

The writer of Hebrews lists him as one of the faithful –

(Heb 11:32 KJV)  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:

Even though Jephthah will make a tragic mistake, God is still at work in him.

:12-28 Jephthah talks with the Ammonites

:12 And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon


Try peace first

Jephthah’s first move is to offer to make peace with the Ammonites. This is the proper thing to do –
(Deu 20:10 NLT) "As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace.
Paul writes,
(Rom 12:18 KJV) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

:13 Because Israel took away my land

The king of Ammon is telling Israel that he has the rights to the land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok creek. He’s claiming that the Israelites took this land from him when they came out of Egypt with Moses.

Arnonsee map

Jabboksee map


Some people lie

What the King of Ammon is telling Jephthah is a lie. A flat out lie.
Some people will lie to get whatever it is they want.
For some of us, this comes as a surprise. For some of us, we can’t fathom that someone who flat out lie to us to our face. But they will.

:17 Then Israel sent messengers unto the king of Edom, saying, Let me, I pray thee, pass through thy land: but the king of Edom would not hearken thereto.

Edom – the descendants of Esau, who was the twin brother to Jacob, known as Israel.

When Moses sends this request to the king of Edom, he calls him “brother” because the two nations of Edom and Israel were related.

This account is found in Numbers 20:14-21. Moses gives a second account of this as he is reviewing history in Deuteronomy 2:1-8. God had told Moses that he shouldn’t give the Edomites trouble,

(Deu 2:5 KJV) Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.

:17 And in like manner they sent unto the king of Moab: but he would not consent: and Israel abode in Kadesh.

Moses mentions the Moabites in Deuteronomy 2:9; that God had commanded them not to give trouble to the Moabites because He had given their land to them.

(Deu 2:9 KJV) And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.

:18 Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom …

When Israel was coming into their land, they purposely went to the east, going around the lands of Edom and Moab.

:19 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon

Sihon – the account is found in Numbers 21:21-35. He would be the first major battle that the Israelites would win, resulting in their gaining of territory.

When Israel defeated Sihon, there was a record of how much land they conquered, including an interesting reference to the Ammonites, who are now giving them trouble:

(Num 21:24 KJV) And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.

As far as the border of the Ammonites, as Moses recounts the taking of the land east of the Jordan, he talks about how Israel did not fight against the Ammonites, but the fighting didn’t take place until they faced Sihon, who was north of the river Arnon:

(Deu 2:24 KJV) Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle.

The Ammonites are claiming that the land between the Arnon and Jabbok was theirs, but the truth is, it had belonged to Sihon when the Israelites conquered it.  In fact, the Ammonites had lost the land to Sihon.

(Num 21:29 KJV)  Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.

Heshbon – Sihon’s capitol city, see map. It’s right in the middle of the land that the Ammonites are claiming belonged to them.

:20 pitched in Jahaz

Jahazsee map

:22 they possessed all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon even unto Jabbok

Arnon even unto Jabbok – In modern times, this land is all within the country of Jordan. The capitol of Jordan is the city of “Amman”. Sound familiar? It was built very close to Rabbah, one of the ancient capitols of the Ammonites.

:23 So now the LORD God of Israel hath dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and shouldest thou possess it?

All the things that Jephthah is using to refute the Ammonites are things drawn from the Scripture.


God uses a man of the Word


:24 Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?

Chemosh – “The destroyer”, subduer, or fish-god, the god of the Moabites

:25 And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab?

Balak – this was the king that hired Balaam (Numbers 22) to bring a curse on Israel.

Jephthah’s point is that even though Balak tried to bring a curse on Israel, he never claimed that Israel was in his land, nor did he ever fight to take that land.

:26 While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time?

Heshbon … Aroer – towns in the disputed area. see map

Jephthah’s point – It’s been three hundred years, why are you now trying to claim that this is your land?


This gives me an indication of the time frame of Jephthah. Moses took the people from Egypt around 1400 BC, and David and Solomon ruled Israel around 1000 BC. This is somewhere near the end of the time of Judges.

It seems to me that through the story of Jephthah, and possibly even through Samson (chapters 13-16), things may be fairly chronological. But at the end of Judges, the story about the wicked Benjamites would seem to be something from early times since Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, is still the high priest (Judge 20:28).
If Samson is at the end of the time of the Judges, then he might be a contemporary with Ruth, and his judgeship might have been followed by, or around the time of the high priest Eli, who raised Samuel.

:28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah

People don’t always listen to reason.

:29-40 Jephthah’s vow

:29 Then the spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah

Here’s a difficult thing – Jephthah is filled with the Holy Spirit, and we will see God use him mightily to bring deliverance for Israel.  But it seems he’s also going to do some foolish things as well.

: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.

Is this a wise thing to do?


Making bargains with God

Jephthah is simply doing what was common among ancient generals on the eve of battle. It was common to promise your “god” something costly or valuable if victory should occur.
Actually, it is not all that bad of a thing to make a promise to God.
Jacob made a vow as he left home –

(Gen 28:20-21 KJV) And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, {21} So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

Israel made a vow before one of their battles in the wilderness –

(Num 21:2-3 KJV) And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. {3} And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

Hannah made a vow, which resulted in the birth of Samuel –

(1 Sam 1:11 KJV) And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

But we need to be careful what we promise to God, and then be careful that we learn to follow through on our word. Solomon wrote,
(Eccl 5:4-5 KJV) When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. {5} Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

:32 the LORD delivered them into his hands.

God brought deliverance through Jephthah.

:33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards

Minnith – a city in Judah, 55 miles southwest from Aroer. see map

the plain of the vineyards – or, Abel-keramim, see map

: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.

Remember Jephthah’s oath?

(Judg 11:31 KJV) 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.

What should Jephthah do? He has promised to sacrifice the first thing that comes out of his house. What did he expect? Perhaps a pet dog? That cat that always leaves hairballs on the carpet? His wife?

:39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man.

Does this mean that Jephthah sacrificed his daughter? A human sacrifice?


1)     No.
The language may mean that in lieu of giving her as a burnt offering, she simply remained a virgin for her entire life and never married.
(Judg 11:37 KJV) And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
Here (Judg. 11:39), it says that she “knew no man”, or, she remained a virgin.
Is has been suggested that in the vow, the word translated “and” (actually, it’s a letter, the waw), could be translated “or”.  Instead of translating it as –

(Judg 11:31 KJV)  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.

It could be translated –

(Judg 11:31 KJV)  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, or I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

2)     Yes.
This was a very depraved period of time. It is very possible that he did this.
In a later time, when Jehoshaphat battled against the Moabites, the King of Moab sacrificed his eldest son:

(2 Ki 3:26-27 KJV) And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not. {27} Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.

Josephus records that he sacrificed his daughter,

Accordingly, when that time was over, he sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering, offering such an oblation as was neither conformable to the law nor acceptable to God.

What would be most sad if he actually did sacrifice her is that he wouldn’t have had to. There was an out.

(Lev 27:1-8 NLT) The LORD said to Moses, {2} "Give the following instructions to the Israelites: If you make a special vow to dedicate someone to the LORD by paying the value of that person, {3} here is the scale of values to be used. A man between the ages of twenty and sixty is valued at fifty pieces of silver; {4} a woman of that age is valued at thirty pieces of silver. {5} A boy between five and twenty is valued at twenty pieces of silver; a girl of that age is valued at ten pieces of silver. {6} A boy between the ages of one month and five years is valued at five pieces of silver; a girl of that age is valued at three pieces of silver. {7} A man older than sixty is valued at fifteen pieces of silver; a woman older than sixty is valued at ten pieces of silver. {8} If you desire to make such a vow but cannot afford to pay the prescribed amount, go to the priest and he will evaluate your ability to pay. You will then pay the amount decided by the priest.


Understand God’s heart

God does want us to be people who learn to keep our word to Him.
(Num 30:2 KJV)  If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
But God also does not condone stupid, rash, foolish promises.
He does not want human sacrifice –

(Deu 12:31 KJV)  Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

(Deu 18:10 KJV)  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

It might sound kind of silly, almost like a bad joke to say this at this point, but it’s true.


Don’t sacrifice the kids

I think that sometimes we tend to not think too much about how our decisions and actions will influence our kids.
In reality, we only have a few short years to impact the lives of our kids and teach them the things that they need for their lives.  We need to make sure we give them what they need from us.
We have been given a charge by God to raise our kids, not kill them.
The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?” The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.” The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then?” The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to then public and become very rich, you would make millions.” “Millions.. Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Judges 12

:1-7 Jephthah and the Ephraimites

:1 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.

Does this sound familiar?

This is what had happened with Gideon, when he fought the Midianites.

(Judg 8:1 KJV) And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.
Gideon was able to talk to the Ephraimites and they walked away peacefully.
Jephthah won’t have such success.

:2  when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.

Jephthah did call the Ephraimites, but they didn’t respond.

:4  Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.

They’re insulting the people from Gilead, saying that they are the outcasts from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.

:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right.

Shibbolethshibbol – flowing stream.  This word has actually made it into our English language.  It’s in the dictionary.  It stands for any kind of test that a group gives to outsiders to see whether they really belong.

Sibbolethcibboleth – an ear of grain or wheat

It was a tricky way of telling the Ephraimites from the Gileadites.  The Ephraimites had an “accent”.  Kind of like the person who says “warsh the caw” instead of “wash the car”.

:8-10 Ibzan

:8 Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel.

Bethlehemsee map

Josephus records,

He had sixty children, thirty of them sons and the rest daughters: all whom he left alive behind him, giving the daughters in marriage to husbands, and taking wives for his sons. He did nothing in the seven years of his administration that was worth recording, or deserved a memorial.

:11-12 Elon

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

Zebulun – a tribe in Israel, see map

Just as with Ibzan, Josephus tells us of Elon,

When Ibzan was dead after this manner, neither did Helon, who succeeded him in the government, and kept it ten years, do anything remarkable;

:13-15 Abdon

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

Josephus records,

He is only recorded to have been happy in his children; for the public affairs were then so peaceable, and in such security, that neither did he perform any glorious action.

Pirathonsee map

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

nephews – better translation, “grandsons”

Again, Josephus tells us,

He marched in state with these seventy; who were all very skilful in riding horses:


Nothing remarkable

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
I guess you could say that at least they didn’t do anything horrible. At least they didn’t get written up like Abimelech, who was nothing but trouble.
But does that mean that God would rather have us do nothing rather than do something horrible?
In the parable of the “talents”, Jesus told of one man who had been entrusted with one “talent” (a sum of money) by his master but he was afraid of not doing well with it –
(Mat 25:24-25 NLT)  "Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, 'Sir, I know you are a hard man, harvesting crops you didn't plant and gathering crops you didn't cultivate. {25} I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.'

Jesus said the master of that servant rebuked him!

William Carey (1761–1834), the first modern missionary, said,
“Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.”