The pleasures of sense,
the gods of this world,
cannot be our satisfaction (v. 14).
True happiness and safety are only in God,
to whom a true penitent will refer himself for correction as God may see fit,
owning that his sin is highly malignant in its deserts (v. 10).
1 And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.
2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.
3 ¶ And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.
4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.
5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.
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.
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.
8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.
9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.
10 ¶ And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines?
12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
15 ¶ And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day.
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.
17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
Judges 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Judges 10:1-16 – Inveterate Idolatry
The scene is now removed to the tribes across the Jordan, especially those settled, in Gilead and its vicinity. The children of Ammon were the aggressors, and acquired such boldness as even to cross the Jordan and fight against Judah and Ephraim. “Israel was sore distressed.” Almost spontaneously we say, “Surely it served them right.” It seems incredible that, after all they had suffered on account of their idolatry, they should again relapse to Baal, and add further the gods of Zidon, of Moab, of Ammon and of Philistia. If Jehovah had finally cast them off, could they have complained? But as the psalmist puts it in his touching words, God “regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry” (Psalm 106:44). See Psalm 106:3, etc.
All these things were written for our example and instruction. Israel did not forsake God more often than we have done. Life has been full of fits and starts, of backsliding and recommencement, of sin and repentance. We have nothing to say against Israel; let us look at home, and search our hearts, and thank the Lord that His mercy endureth forever, Psalm 136. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Judges 10:16—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.—“Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9) 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 repentings are kindled together” (Hosea 11:8). “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself” (Hosea 13:9)!
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. —Our Daily Homily