After Abimelech’s death, Tola son of Puah, grandson of Dodo, from the tribe of Issachar, rose up to deliver Israel. He lived in Shamir in the Ephraimite hill country. He led Israel for twenty-three years, then died and was buried in Shamir.
Jair the Gileadite rose up after him; he led Israel for twenty-two years. He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys and possessed thirty cities. To this day these towns are called Havvoth Jair – they are in the land of Gilead. Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
The Lord’s Patience Runs Short
The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshipped the Baals and the Ashtars, as well as the gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, the Ammonites, and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him. The Lord was furious with Israel and turned them over to the Philistines and Ammonites. They ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites that eighteenth year – that is, all the Israelites living east of the Jordan in Amorite country in Gilead. The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight with Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Israel suffered greatly.
The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord: “We have sinned against you. We abandoned our God and worshipped the Baals.” The Lord said to the Israelites, “Did I not deliver you from Egypt, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, Amalek, and Midian when they oppressed you? You cried out for help to me, and I delivered you from their power. But since you abandoned me and worshipped other gods, I will not deliver you again. Go and cry for help to the gods you have chosen! Let them deliver you from trouble!” But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. You do to us as you see fit, but deliver us today!” They threw away the foreign gods they owned and worshipped the Lord. Finally the Lord grew tired of seeing Israel suffer so much.
An Outcast Becomes a General
The Ammonites assembled and camped in Gilead; the Israelites gathered together and camped in Mizpah. The leaders of Gilead said to one another, “Who is willing to lead the charge against the Ammonites? He will become the leader of all who live in Gilead!”