Judges 10 Commentary


Judges 9-12 Integrity, Conviction, Courage - Kay Arthur

Judges 10 Bible for Home and School

Judges 10 Biblical Illustrator

Judges 10-11 - Jim Bomkamp

Judges 10 - Cambridge Bible Commentary

Judges 10 - Iain Campbell

Judges 10-12; Judges 10:6-16 - Rich Cathers

Judges 10 - Adam Clarke

Judges Commentary Notes - Thomas Constable

Judges 10:12 The Faithful Jephthah - W A Criswell

Judges 10-12 Tola; Jair; Jephthah; Ibzan; Elon; Abdon - Ron Daniel

Judges - 25 Mp3's from Believers Chapel, Dallas - Dan Duncan

Commentary on Judges - A C Gaebelein

Judges 10 - John Gill Commentary

Comments on the Book of Judges - L M Grant

Judges 10-12 - Joe Guglielmo

Judges 10 - Dave Guzik Commentary

Judges 10:1-5, 12:8-15 - Dave Hatcher

Judges 10:6-11:11 - Dave Hatcher

Judges 10 - Matthew Henry Commentary

Judges 10 Homiletical Commentary - Check this resource!

Judges 10 International Critical Commentary

Judges 10 - Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary

Judges 10 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary

Judges - Lectures on the book of Judges - William Kelley

Judges 10 - Pictorial Bible - John Kitto - Interesting!

Judges 10 - Daily Bible Illustrations - Jephthah - John Kitto

Judges 10 Lange's Commentary

Judges 10:1-5, Judges 10:6-18 Mp3's - J Vernon McGee

Judges 10:16 Our Daily Homily - F B Meyer

Judges 10 Rebellious and Brought Low - F B Meyer

Judges 10 Commentary - Net Bible Notes

Judges 10 The Kindness of God - Phil Newton

Judges 10:6-16 His Pain - Our Daily Bread

Judges 10:1-5 Exposition - Pulpit Commentary

Judges 10:1-5 Homiletics

Judges 10:1-5 Homilies

Judges 10:6-18 Exposition - Pulpit Commentary

Judges 10:6-18 Homiletics

Judges 10:6-18 Homilies

Judges 10:1-5 - Tola and Jair - Henri Rossi

Judges 10:6-18 - Fresh Revival in Israel - Henri Rossi

Judges 10-12 - Rob Salvato

Judges 11-12 Jephthah or the Faith that Keeps Faith with God - A B Simpson

Judges 8-14 - Transcripts; Judges 8-14 - Mp3's - Chuck Smith

Judges 10 Commentary - Speaker's Commentary

Judges 10:1-11:11 Expositor's Bible Commentary - Gilead and Its Chief - R A Watson

Judges 10:1-11:11 Our Misery, His Mercy - Steve Zeisler

Judges 10:17-12:15 Failed Families, Faith in God - Steve Zeisler

Judges 10 Commentary

Judges 10:1 Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim.

A.M. 2772, B.C. 1232, An, Ex, Is, 259

arose (KJV): Jdg 2:16 3:9

defend (KJV): or, deliver, Heb. save

Shamir (KJV): Jos 15:48

TOLA: means "scarlet," "purple," a sign of luxury (see Tola)

SAVE: deliver, rescue. There is no mention of any external threat while he was in office.

Judges 10:2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.


Judges 10:3 And after him, Jair the Gileadite arose, and judged Israel twenty-two years.

A.M. 2795, B.C. 1209, An, Ex, Is, 282

a Gileadite (KJV): Ge 31:48 Nu 32:29

See Jair

Judges 10:4 And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair to this day.

rode (KJV): Jdg 5:10 12:14

called (KJV): Nu 32:41 Dt 3:14

Havothjair (KJV): or, the villages of Jair

Very large families (cp 12:9,14) suggests a marriage to several wives, a part of life tolerated but never ordained or approved in God’s blueprint of one man and one woman for life (Ge2:24).

Judges 10:5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

Godly men in positions of responsibility, within our communities, can have a real and positive influence for good and in restraining evil. It is right that through the mechanisms of a democratic society godly men and women should seek to influence popular thinking and legislative decision making to bring our society more in line with Scripture. But these measures will be only limited and temporary, unless the hearts of the people are changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, once the restraint is removed, as when the Christians of influence are voted out or die, the old downhill movement will soon take over again. Nothing short of a work of God’s Spirit in the hearts and lives of thousands of “ordinary people” can turn the juggernaut of our increasingly godless Western materialism back from the slippery slope of collapse and disintegration. While we are right to pray and work to restrain sin and to enact Christian legislation to prevent the corruption of our society and the upholding of God’s moral absolutes, we shall never change the hearts of people that way. Law can restrain, for a while, but only the gospel can liberate. It is noteworthy that the great social reforms of the nineteenth century, such as the abolition of slavery, followed spiritual revivals in the late eighteenth century catalyzed by George Whitefield and John Wesley, men who God raised up to proclaim His truth in power. When the hearts of men and women were changed in large numbers, the laws of the society were also soon follow. Only a similar movement of God's Spirit in our day will save America from the deadly decay of moral decline and depravity which ultimately will destroy a nation founded as "one nation under God"! Pray for revival and anointed empowered revivalists like Wesley and Whitefield to be raised up by God. There is simply no other hope. American Christians must cry out, confess and repent and perhaps God will no longer be able to bear our misery (v16).

Judges 10:6 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, 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; thus they forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.

A.M. 2817, B.C. 1187, An, Ex, Is, 304

did evil (KJV): Jdg 4:1 6:1 13:1, A.M. 2799, B.C. 1205, An, Ex, Is, 286

Baalim (KJV): Jdg 2:11-14 3:7 2Ch 28:23 Ps 106:36

the gods of Zidon (KJV): 1Ki 11:5,7,33 16:31 2Ki 17:16,29-31 23:13

the gods of the Philistines (KJV): Jdg 16:23 1Sa 5:2 2Ki 1:2,3 Jer 2:13 Eze 16:25,26


After forty-five years of comparative quiet Israel again apostatized, and in “process of time the children of Ammon made war against Israel”

Did evil in the sight of the LORD - a repeated phrase in Judges - see notes Judges 2:11, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, Judges 13:1 The phrase did evil is common in is also common in 1 & 2 Kings (24 times), increasing in frequency in second Kings (click for all 41 uses of the phrase "did evil" in the OT). It is as if the closer they got to judgment, the more evil they became or the more certain the judgment had to be. Just a thought to ponder. Note it is also interesting that this phrase did evil is not found in 1 & 2 Samuel. Could it be that the reason is that the leaders were godly men like Samuel and David? Note also that the evil began with Baalim (plural) but progressed to the point documented in Judges 10:6 (note)!

THE GODS OF ARAM: Of Hadad which worshiped Baal, Mot, Anath

THE GODS OF SIDON: Baa & Astarte

THE GODS OF MOAB: Chemosh, etc

THE GODS OF THE SONS OF AMMON: Molech, Moloch, etc

AND THE GODS OF THE PHILISTINES: Dagon, Baal, etc (see Philistines)

This longer list of gods ("seven fold idolatry") suggests a progressive downward spiral in Israel’s violations of the covenant. However even in Jdg 2:11 the plural for Baal (Baalim) suggests they were already "polytheists" at the early stages of apostasy in Judges. It is interesting to note that these pagan nations form a complete circle around Israel.

The Preacher's Commentary presents an interesting analysis writing that…

Pagan religion was based on a system which can best be summarized by the term sympathetic magic. We have to go back a stage to understand the attraction of idolatry. It is the harnessing of supernatural power to achieve the ends which the “worshiper” requires. In spite of mankind’s rebellion against God and rejection of His moral law, it remains stubbornly true that because we are made in the image of God, men and women always have been and always will be incurably religious. There will always be an appetite for the divine, which can ultimately only be satisfied in the deep personal relationship with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the essence of Christianity. But man, in rebellion, is always looking for substitutes. The root of all sin is to want to be my own god. It is clear that idolatry will always be attractive to the sinful human heart. It removes the uncomfortable aspects of the living God, with His perfect knowledge, total power, and moral demands, summed up by C. S. Lewis in his memorable description as “the transcendental interferer,” and replaces the god-need with an idol which I can create and control. The only problem is that the idol has no power, because it is lifeless. Therefore, I have to persuade myself that like any human being (after all it is made in the image of man!) my “god” has to be cajoled, or encouraged, or bribed to give me what I desire. This need lies at the root of all pagan worship. So, if the requirement is for fertile soil and rich harvests, as it was with the Canaanites, the temple worship logically involves ritual prostitution, in the hope that the demonstration and dedication of human potency and fertility will persuade the god to act similarly in the natural, physical realm—to increase the crops or the flocks of animals. Canaanite religion was largely a fertility cult of the mother goddess. Other gods, such as Molech (god of Ammon), required human sacrifice, especially of children, in a fire pit, as did Chemosh (god of Moab). (Jackman, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. Vol. 7: The Preacher's Commentary Series: Judges, Ruth. Page 162. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson)




Did not - This is a sad refrain in the book of Judges (and I fear too often in our lives [including mine!] as believers!

Did not drive out = Jdg 1:21, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33-note

did not know the LORD = Jdg 2:10-note

did not listen to their judges = Jdg 2:17a-note

did not do as their fathers = Jdg 2:17b-note

did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways = Jdg 2:19-note

did not remember the LORD their God Jdg 8:34-note

did not serve Him = Jdg 10:6-note

Jeremiah's commentary on faithless Jerusalem years later is timelessly applicable…

"Has a nation changed gods, When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. "Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. For My people have committed two evils: They have forsakben Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13)

Abraham Lincoln wrote these words as he proclaimed a National Fast Day, as it was his belief that the Civil War was a chastisement from God for the sins of the nation:

"We have been the recipients of the choicest blessed bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD."

What would he say today? These next 3 chapters of Judges chronicle the same kind of national tragedy in Israel. In spite of all that God had repeatedly done for His people, once again the Israelites FORGOT THEIR GOD.

The fickleness of Israel in light of God's treatment of them is difficult to understand. Israel would soon find out that the sin of idolatry promised a great deal but delivered little. It promised freedom, pleasure, and prosperity but delivered bondage, guilt, shame and death. And so it is still true today!

Judges 10:7 And the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon.

was hot (KJV): Jdg 2:14 Dt 29:20-28 31:16-18 32:16-22 Jos 23:15,16 Ps 74:1 Na 1:2,6

he sold (KJV): Jdg 4:2 1Sa 12:9,10 Ps 44:12 Isa 50:1

Literally "His nose became hot" an expressive metaphor for the anger and one of the most obvious examples of the anthropomorphisms for God in the OT.

The Preacher's Commentary writes that when an individual or a nation forsakes the Living God,

Disaster is inevitable. The idols we create and choose to worship can never satisfy because ultimately every man-made cistern is flawed. We can only hew out leaking containers, which are destined to run dry. We do not have the spiritual technology to create a fountain of living waters, however much we may fool ourselves. So, God’s wrath is always kindled when anyone or anything is allowed to take over His place in our lives. It is not a vindictive, punitive anger, but a jealous yearning that those whom He has redeemed, at such great cost, should live in the enjoyment of that exclusive relationship with Himself, for which He recreated them. “I will be your God and you shall be My people.” Such anger is the other side of a love that will not let us go, a love that disciplines, in order to restore. (Jackman, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. Vol. 7: The Preacher's Commentary Series: Judges, Ruth. Page 163. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson)

And so the enemy comes in from the East, Ammonites who were descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew.

Once again we see the Lord again punish His covenant breaking, faithless people by sending foreign oppressors—the Philistines in the west (in the following story of Samson, Jdg 13-16) and the Ammonites in the east, who oppressed Israel for 18 years. Ammon was a Transjordanian kingdom northeast of Moab which was allied with Eglon of Moab in the time of Ehud (3:13). The Ammonites oppressed Gilead, the Transjordanian area occupied in the south by the tribe of Gad and in the north by the half-tribe of Manasseh.

Application: The bitter fruit of sin. When we turn from God to sin we always lose for sin's promises are never fulfilled. Israel's compromise with the pagans from a human perspective may have seemed sensible. After all it wouldn't hurt to experience a little of their culture and religion and thus ensure a peaceful coexistence. The problem was that they turned from God and He turned from them. When has sin ever produced what was promised? Sin never produces the alluring fruit for which we have yielded to its temptation in the first place. Sin cannot, and has not the slightest interest in doing so. We are at our most foolish when we imagine that sin has our best interests at heart. Sin's only desire is to trap us, to rule us and to destroy us. Sin always produces great distress, even though sometimes, by God’s grace, its effects are delayed. Nevertheless, a broken relationship with God will always result in broken relationships with others—an isolation and aloneness which are sin’s dead end.

Judges 10:8 And they afflicted and crushed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they afflicted all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in Gilead in the land of the Amorites.

that year (KJV): Jdg 10:5 Isa 30:13 1Th 5:3

oppressed (KJV): Heb. crushed

Reuben, Gad & the half tribe of Manasseh had settled in the "Trans-Jordan" region & now they suffered at the hands of the fierce Ammonite armies that repeatedly devastated their lands.

Judges 10:9 And the sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.

passed (KJV): Jdg 3:12,13 6:3-5 2Ch 14:9 20:1,2

distressed (KJV): Dt 28:65 1Sa 28:15 2Ch 15:5

DISTRESSED Hebrew word pictures being in a narrow, confining space

Judges 10:10 Then the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying, "We have sinned against Thee, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and served the Baals."

cried (KJV): Jdg 3:9 1Sa 12:10 Ps 106:43,44 107:13,19,28

"Cried out" As in the previous times of distress when Israel called on the Lord there was no evidence of repentance for her sin. She was like the passengers on an airplane that suddenly lost engine power and began to cry out to God for help. It is interesting that despite the plethora of so-called gods, Israel in "crunch time" cried out to the One God Jehovah. This implies that deep inside they knew their so-called gods were not really God and had no power to save. It also shows how if men will not serve the One God, they are still so constituted that they must worship and will resort to gods of their own imagination to satisfy this deep inner need. It's true of all of us - we have been created with a "God shaped vacuum" and if we will not worship the One True God, we will worship the god of self, of money, of power, etc. These latter gods make no moral demands per se on us and thus we can do as we please, doing whatever seems right in our own eyes. And so we conclude that much of the modern world like ancient Israel is in effect "polytheistic", the only difference being that the modern gods have different names.

WE HAVE SINNED AGAINST THEE: first they confessed their sins and then, then the Lord rebuked them (v13,14), but they remained steadfast in their confession of sin (v15) and took action to get rid of the foreign gods and serve the Lord. (v16). Indeed, this scenario does suggest that in this "cycle" there may have been more than just remorse. There may have been genuine repentance. Ultimately God alone knows whether this was genuine or expedient.

This is the only recorded instance in Judges where the people confess their sin.

Remember if we are tempted to condemn Israel for their stupidity & the fact that they never seemed to learn, they are a picture of our fallen flesh nature. When we look at them we are looking at ourselves (in our Adamic nature, our old man, our "flesh"). In so many ways our lives are simply a modern day reflection of their ancient rebellion. And why is this? simple -- we have no King at the moment of rebellion & we are doing what is right in our own eyes, just like Israel did!

Matthew Henry comments on (V10-18):

"God is able to multiply men's punishments according to the numbers of their sins and idols. (cp v6) But there is hope when sinners cry to the Lord for help, and lament their ungodliness as well as their more open transgressions. It is necessary, in true repentance, that there be a full conviction that those things cannot help us which we have set in competition with God. They acknowledged what they deserved, yet prayed to God not to deal with them according to their deserts. We must submit to God's justice, with a hope in his mercy. True repentance is not only for sin, but from sin. As the disobedience and misery of a child are a grief to a tender father, so the provocations of God's people are a grief to Him. From Him mercy never can be sought in vain. Let then the trembling sinner, and the almost despairing backslider, cease from debating about God's secret purposes, or from expecting to find hope from former experiences. Let them cast themselves on the mercy of God our Saviour, humble themselves under His hand, seek deliverance from the powers of darkness, separate themselves from sin, and from occasions of it, use the means of grace diligently, and wait the Lord's time, and so they shall certainly rejoice in His mercy."

Judges 10:11 And the LORD said to the sons of Israel, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines?

Did not I (KJV): Jdg 2:1-3

Egyptians (KJV): Ex 14:30 1Sa 12:8 Ne 9:9-11 Ps 78:51-53 106:8-11 Heb 11:29

Amorites (KJV): Nu 21:21-25,35 Ps 135:10,11

children (KJV): Jdg 3:11-15

Philistines (KJV): Jdg 3:31

The Lord contrasted Israel's disobedience with his own faithfulness in delivering them from at least seven oppressors. As so often in Old Testament instruction, God counsels His people to look back and learn lessons in the present from their past. Their very existence as a nation, created through the Exodus from Egypt, was totally dependent on the divine initiative.

Judges 10:12 "Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands.

Zidonians (KJV): Jdg 5:19-31

Amalekites (KJV): Jdg 6:3

the Maonites (KJV): The LXX. have "the Midianites," which Dr. Wall thinks the true reading. But the Maonites might be a tribe of Arabs, inhabitants of Maon. (Jos 15:55. 1Sa 23:24, 25; 25:2,) which assisted Moab. 2Ch 26:6,7 Ps 106:42,43

I delivered you” is the constant refrain in all these incidents. Again and again God had stepped in to rescue them when all seemed lost. How many times He had called them back to Himself!

The LXX reads Midianites for Maonites

Judges 10:13 "Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will deliver you no more.

Jdg 2:12 Dt 32:15 1Ch 28:9 Jer 2:13 Jon 2:8

"I will deliver you no more" are some of the most frightening words in all of Scripture. If you are not frightened by them, then you need to ask why not. The simple, clear indictment bring home in a sickening way, to the pit of our stomachs, the awful emptiness and hopelessness of being irrefutably under God’s rebuke. And yet God is not to be blamed for He is only being true to His holy Word. As the Preacher's Commentary observes…

Thank God that He still loves His lost world of rebellious human beings enough, sometimes, to rebuke us by leaving us to our own devices until we realize what a desperate dead end sin is. We need to expose our contemporary God-substitutes to the penetrating light of the Old Testament’s exposure of idolatry, for what it really is and where it really leads. (Jackman, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. Vol. 7: The Preacher's Commentary Series: Judges, Ruth. Page 166. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson)

Judges 10:14 "Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress."

Dt 32:26-28,37,38 1Ki 18:27,28 2Ki 3:13 Pr 1:25-27 Isa 10:3 Jer 2:28

CHOSEN = Means to take a keen look at, and involves careful, well thought-out choice: Israel did not deserve God's saving intervention.

DELIVER: rescue, save, help, preserve

DISTRESS: tribulation, tightness, Septuagint =: thlipsis ~ crushing weight)

John Hunter:

"The gods they served provided opportunities for isn, but there was no salvation from their hands. It is the same in our day. Many people are seeking and following the gods of lust and pleasure and materialism. They too provide many opportunities for excitement and blatant sinfulness, but they cannot save a precious soul."

Judges 10:15 And the sons of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to Thee; only please deliver us this day."

We have sinned (KJV): 2Sa 12:13 24:10 Job 33:27 Pr 28:13 1Jn 1:8-10

do thou (KJV): Jos 9:25 1Sa 3:18 2Sa 10:12 15:26 Jon 2:4 3:9

seemeth (KJV): etc. Heb. is good in thine eyes

deliver (KJV): 2Sa 24:14 Job 34:31,32

They accepted whatever punishment God would give (as justly deserved). This may be an example of genuine repentance.

John MacArthur writes that

"Genuine repentance acknowledges God’s right to chasten, so His punishment is seen as just and He is thereby glorified. It also seeks the remediation that chastening brings, because genuine contrition pursues holiness."

DELIVER: draw us out, pull us out of this mess

Preacher's Commentary has an excellent summary of this section writing that…

The Greek word metanoia, which we translate “repentance,” means a change of mind. It is in our thought processes that the transformation which issues in a change of action has to begin. Repentance is more than a mere admission of sin, though that confession “we have sinned” (v. 15) is the first step. What the people had once regarded as a legitimate expression of their own self-determination is now recognized for what it always was—an offense against God. But admission, on its own, can mean little more than remorse. The small boy caught pulling his sister’s hair may howl in apparent contrition at the punishment he receives, but he may simply be peeved that his misdeed has been discovered. Do the tears signify repentance, or merely remorse? Everything depends on what happens when the adult leaves the room. True repentance is being sorry enough to quit! Just as Israel had chosen to turn away from the Lord, so now they must choose to turn away from idols. The reality of their repentance is demonstrated, in verse 15, in the request, “Do to us whatever seems best to You.” That reveals a heart change. While recognizing the justice of what God has said, they would still rather cast themselves upon His mercy than be left in the misery of their sin, without Him. They realize that they have no grounds on which to appeal for mercy, but they determine nevertheless to commit their cause to their gracious covenant Lord. There are no extenuating circumstances. There can be no logical appeal-grounds for clemency. Still, it is better to fall into the hands of the Lord than to be left, isolated in one’s sins, a prey to the nations around them. At the same time, they demonstrate the reality of their words by removing the foreign gods and restoring their right and proper worship of Yahweh (v. 16). They turn to Him, not in words only, but in deeds and therefore in truth. There was a public break with sin which signified a true change of heart, and this was acceptable to God. (Jackman, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. Vol. 7: The Preacher's Commentary Series: Judges, Ruth. Page 167. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson)

Judges 10:16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them, and served the LORD; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer.

they put (KJV): 2Ch 7:14 15:8 33:15 Jer 18:7,8 Eze 18:30-32 Ho 14:1-3,8

strange gods (KJV): Heb. gods of strangers

his soul (KJV): Ge 6:6 Ps 106:44,45 Isa 63:9 Jer 31:20 Ho 11:8 Lu 15:20 19:41 Joh 11:34 Eph 4:32 Heb 3:10 4:15

grieved (KJV): Heb. shortened, Not that there is any grief in God; he has infinite joy and happiness in himself, which cannot be broken in upon by either the sins or the miseries of his creatures. Not that there is any change in God; for he is of one mind, and who can turn him? But his goodness is his glory; by it he proclaims his name, and magnifies it; and as he is pleased to put himself into the relation of a father to his people, so he is pleased to represent his goodness to them by the compassion of a father to his children; for as he is the Father of lights, so is he the Father of mercies.

THEY PUT AWAY: turned aside or departed from their so called gods, a critical step which would support that this time their confession was not simply remorse but was also accompanied by a renunciation of the false gods.


Due largely to the influence of Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, many people in the ancient world, including most of the early church fathers, believed that God was incapable of feeling a wide range of common emotions. Similarly, the contaminating effects of the Enlightenment lead many today to envision God primarily as a rational and intellectual being, void of genuine feeling. This verse radically does away with such a gross misconception! And this realization that we humans actually do cause God pain, can lead us to soften our hardened hearts and encourage us to love the Lord with ever-deepening devotion. Do we really understand the depth of the truth in this section. O Lord, open our eyes to see what even our seemingly "little" sins do to Your tender heart! Amen.

More literally the Hebrew has one of the most incredibly tender descriptions of Jehovah in all of Scripture:

"His soul could no longer endure"

"Bear no longer" (qatsar) means cut short or have a briefer duration of time go by than is normal. Figuratively qatsar means to be impatient, grow tired, no longer bear. It means to have a feeling or attitude of a lack of forbearance in reference to an object or event "God's soul reached the limit of its endurance with the trouble of Israel". Literally, His soul became “short” or “impatient.” God could bear it no longer. The same word is used in Numbers 21:4…

Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey.

In Numbers qatsar describes the people becoming very discouraged on their wilderness journey round the borders of Edom, just before they grumbled against God and against Moses and suffered the plague of fiery serpents. This use in Judges is clearly in a positive context, indicating that Jehovah can no longer look down at the miseries His people are suffering. His heart response toward them does not reflect a grudging duty, but is a deep-rooted response of covenant love. But don't miss the important truth that the same covenant love that withdrew His protection in order to bring His sinful people to recognize the consequences of their sin is the covenant love that now demonstrates itself in great compassion for his punishment has achieved the goal of turning them back from their rebellion, to love and serve the Lord. Punishments and benefits flow from the love of God, and have for their object the happiness and well-being of men. As Israel turned to the Lord, so He also turned to their suffering.

Here were God's people undergoing the discipline which they so richly deserved. God could have written them off. but God's heart was i turmoil over what Israel was suffering and finally He said "That is enough. I cannot take it any more."

Davis comments that…

Many Christians, especially those who have a lively sense of God’s severity but little of his kindness, should meditate on this text. You must see Yahweh’s heart. And don’t forget where he showed it to you: in the Old Testament, the book of the grace of God. (Ralph Davis, D. Focus on the Bible: Judges)

Paul in describing the regenerated Thessalonian believers wrote that even other people

"report about us (Paul, Silas, Timothy) what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thes 1:9-10)

Adam Clarke writes:

"What a proof of the philanthropy of God! Here His compassion moved on a small scale, but it was the same principle that led Him to give His Son Jesus Christ to be a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. God grieves for the miseries to which His creatures are reduced by their own sins."

Judges 10:16
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

This is a very strong way of stating the pitifulness of God. It is applying to Him terms borrowed from our own experiences as men; and in no other way could we realize the tender love and compassion of our Heavenly Father. Israel’s miseries were due to the sins with which their history was marked; but God’s love brooded over them, longing to deliver.

This is the explanation of God’s first words to Adam. — One of the versions substitutes for “Where art thou?” the words “Alas for thee!” as though God were treading the glades of Eden with a broken heart, grieved for the misery of his children.

This was the lament of God’s Spirit throughout the Old Testament. — “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? Mine heart is turned within me; my compassions are kindled together.” “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself!”

This led to the Incarnation and Passion of our Lord. — He looked, and there was no man; He wondered that there was none to help, therefore his own arm brought salvation.

This characterized our Lord’s earthly life. — When He beheld the city, and foresaw all the evil that would accrue to it, He could not hold back his tears. “His soul was grieved.” In all likelihood, you, my reader, may be suffering keenly the result of your own mistakes and sins in earlier life. The troubles that hem you in are the direct outcome of your having forsaken God. He could, and would, have saved you; but you made it impossible, because you withdrew yourself from his care. And now He grieves over you. If only you would forsake your sins and turn to Him, He would assuredly raise up a Jephthah for your help.

Judges 10.16
G Campbell Morgan

His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel. Judges 10.16.

These are wonderful words about God, especially when considered in the light of the circumstances concerning which they were written. The people of God seem for a period to have given themselves up with an appalling abandonment to almost every form of idolatry which presented itself to them. Notice the list: the Baalim, the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Zidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the children of Ammon, the gods of the Philistines. The anger of Jehovah against them proceeded in judgment through the Philistines and the men of Ammon, and it continued for eighteen years. Then, in their sore distress, they cried to God, and for the first time it is recorded that He refused to save them, reminding them of how repeatedly He had delivered them, and yet they had turned back to their evil courses.

In the message of His anger there was clearly evident a purpose of love. He would recall them to a recognition of His power by bidding them seek deliverance from the gods whom they had worshipped. The method produced the result. They put away the strange gods and returned to Jehovah. Then, these words admit us to the deep fact underlying all the Divine activity: "His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." The Hebrew word literally means "impatient." It suggests God's restlessness in the presence of suffering. It is the restlessness of His love, and that is the cause of His anger, and the governing principle in all its activities. (Morgan, G. C. Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible).

Judges 10:17 Then the sons of Ammon were summoned, and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together, and camped in Mizpah.

gathered together (KJV): Heb. cried together

Mizpeh (KJV): Jdg 11:11,29 Ge 31:49

SUMMONED in the passive voice speaks of outside force bringing about the summoning of Ammon. Once again we see the sovereign hand of God moving the chess pieces into position to prepare for Israel's deliverance. Unmerited favor if their ever was an example of such! What a merciful God we serve.

GATHERED is again in the passive voice indicating that an outside force brought about the "gathering"

Judges 10:18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

What man (KJV): Jdg 1:1 11:5-8 Isa 3:1-8 34:12

he shall be (KJV): Jdg 11:11 12:7 1Sa 17:25

Leaders (sare) is the term used of General Sisera (4:2), the "princes" of Issachar (5:15), and the governor of a city (9:30) and in the present context appears to include military and political leaders.

They had LEADERS but they needed a LEADER to lead into BATTLE.

It was natural that the Gileadites were the most vocal since it was their territory which was most immediately threatened.

There was no effective leader, and hence as we read in the next section, they approached Jephthah, whom they had formerly rejected (Judges 11:7). As an incentive they offered to make any commander who proved successful against the Ammonites the ruler of their entire territory (v18; cf. 11:9)

Jephthah was wary. Why should he trust those who had treated him so badly in the past? This led to some hard-nosed negotiating in which Jephthah was offered, and accepted, the twin role of tribal leader and military commander. The bargain thus struck was formally ratified in a ceremony held at Mizpah, the place at which the initial gathering had been (cf. 11:11 w 10:17). So the episode ended where it began, but with Jephthah now installed as leader.

F B Meyer…

Judges 10
Rebellious and Brought Low

Judges 10:1-5 Times of quietness. -- God will not be always threshing. After storms have disturbed the atmosphere, there come times of clear shining and peace. Such parentheses of rest came to Israel under Tola and Jair, of whom there is little notable to record. How often it happens that we make much of the days of strife and sorrow, while we permit the days of uneventful calm and prosperity to pass almost without remark.

Judges 10:6-9 Times of sin and suffering. -- Very woeful is this incessant story of backsliding. The whole land must have been infected with multiplied idolatries. As an inspired commentary on these verses, we should read Psalm 106:36-46. The sentences there are very pathetic, and well in accord with the sad record before us. "Many times did He deliver them, but they were rebellious in their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity:'

Judges 10:10-18 Times of repentance. -- Truly pathetic is this scene! The cry of agony (Judges 10:10). There is hope when sinners cry to God with genuine contrition, and to such cries there is an immediate response. The answer of God may have come by Him, or by angels, but it was very just. This apparent refusal of help was only intended to bring them more utterly to their knees in self-abhorrence, humiliation, and prayer. It is at such times that we not only pray, but we put away the strange gods, and cast ourselves utterly and hopelessly at His feet. "We have sinned, do Thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto Thee" (Judges 10:15). We should read also Hosea 14, appropriating the prayer with which it begins; and then we shall hear the reply coming from those gracious lips, "I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely, mine anger is turned away:' How touching the thought that our miseries can grieve God (Judges 10:16), even when they are the result of sin. "His compassions fail not:' (F. B. Meyer. CHOICE NOTES ON JOSHUA THROUGH 2 KINGS