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*New* - Do I have to?

Enjoy reading this reflection on Judges 10:1-2, showing the MISSING/Non-MISSING consequences of a major life decision each by Tola and Gideon's son Abimelech, his comtemporary. It all started with the consequences of wide learning and instructability. These two did not forget about what was or was not taught to them in old age. It wasn't Abimelech or one of his brothers who lead the country after Gideon's death, but the 'unlikely' 'provincial' candidate Tola.

"Do I have to?"

Yes. "Do I have to?" was the complaint. The young Tola thought that no-one ever listened to what he wanted.

Must I not speak? (words from Numbers 23:12)
Mu▀ ich nicht reden? - German
┐Acaso no debo decir? - Spanish

he stated confidently one day. And this was his argument:

"I am just a hillbilly boy from Shamir, in this hill country of Ephraim. Why do I need to know so much about the oppressors? We are fighting them well enough."

He continued, "They are almost gone now! They don't like to come to the hill country. Why do I need to learn about their customs and their languages? I don't need this! Better I spend my time learning something useful."

"Hillbilly?" countered members of his family. "Joshua was buried in these mountains of Ephraim. And Deborah judged under a palm tree in these mountains!"

Father Puah and Grandfather Dodo insisted. They took their time to teach him what others didn't learn. Never again. Each had had to deal with different oppressors and NOW strangers could be somewhat ignored, dealt with on a friendly neighbourly basis or if necessary with resistive force. "Remember our history and the Amalekites of the hill country!" they said. "There may be new oppressors, you never know." (See Numbers 14:45)

Tola chose and did what was just in the eyes of the Lord.

People became aware of Tola's just ways and gave him their endorsements for him to become of of the judges. After the selection he had to accept and judge each case and person:

Tola is faithful in all his ways. like Psalm 145:17
Tola est juste dans tout ses voies. - French
Tola ist gerecht in allen seinen Wegen. - German
Tola es justo en todos sus caminos. - Spanish

Tola became the 1st choice for judge:
May Tola be our judge. like 1 Samuel 24:15
Tola jugera. Tola sera notre juge. - French
Tola sei Richter. - German
Tola sia giudice. - Italian
Pues, Tola serß juez. ┐Que sea Tola quien juzgue! - Spanish

They had to ask and invite Tola to be judge:
you be our leader.
- Isaiah 3:6
Sois notre chef. - French
Sei unser (An)fŘhrer. - German
Sii nostro capo. - Italian
SÚ nuestro lÝder. - Spanish

Tola had to accept to judge:
I will judge. adapted: Ezekiel 7:3
Je jugerai. French
Ich will richten. - German
Giudicher˛. - Italian
JuzgarÚ. - Spanish

Tola had to look at each accused and state his intentions during judicial proceedings.

I will judge (you-1). adapted: Ez 7:3
Je (te-1) jugerai. French
Ich will (dich-1) richten. - German
(Ti-1) giudicher˛. - Italian
(Te-1) juzgarÚ. - Spanish

For this Tola needed to communicate well and know many legal wordings and not just in his own language. The wordings were useful then and they are very useful now, especially in the organized, multilingual form found at the following link, so that when judge, accused and defendants speak different languages there are less problems.

Useful Legal Wordings from the Bible

Please read the following bolded words of the next 3 sections one after the other.

After the time of: (adapted: Judges 10:1)
AprŔs le temps de: - French
Nach der Zeit von: - German
Dopo - Italian
DespuÚs - Spanish

Dodo, Deborah and Barak; AND
Gideon and Puah (Dodo's son); AND
the murder of Gideon's seventy (70) sons by his son Abimelech

Dodo, Debora und Barak; UND
Gideon und Puwa (Sohn von Dodo); UND
vom M÷rder von Gideons siebzig (70) S÷hnen von seinem Sohn Abimelech - German

Tola, son of Puah, a man of (the tribe of) Issachar, rose to save Israel.
Tola, Sohn von Puwa, ein Mann aus dem Stamm Issachar, trat auf um Israel zu retten. - German

500 years later the result of knowledgable, just and ordered living was that 22,600 men of Tola were NOT missing.

The sons of Tola were mighty men of valor in their generations. - 1 Chronicles 7:2

At the time of David, (in 1 Chronicles, about 500 years later) they numbered 22,600 men. - 1 Chronicles 7:2.

In der Zeit Davids, betrug die Zahl der Nachkommen Tolas 22,600 Mann. - German.

On the other hand, there is the aftermath of no succession planning by Gideon and the internal war caused by chaotic leadership. Maybe this man of God thought God would take care of everything and that he had no time to instuct his sons his own truly useful skills. His son Abimelech chose not to overcome being jealous and caused the death of 70 other sons of Gideon. He did not know that he had his own special talents. Abimelech killed almost all his half-brothers. In turn he was killed later. Only Jotham lived--the youngest son of Gideon, who had been "away". The children of Jotham and the children of the 71 brothers already born gave Gideon descendants. 500 years later however, the other potential descendans can be considered MISSING.

Often when people pick a fight, a third party is the "winner".


What qualities did this leader have?

Tola grew up at the time of Deborah and became a local judge at the time of Gideon.
He had good role models and mentors: particularly his father and grandfather, who passed on their knowledge. Dodo and Puah had had to deal with the oppressors of their time. The Mountains of the Amalekites were in the land of Ephraim. (Judges 12:15) They had been confronted with survival situations for generations.

What must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30- other context)
Que dois-je faire pour ŕtre sauvÚ? - French
Was mu▀ ich tun, da▀ ich er/ge-rettet werde?

They prepared safe places: dens, caves and strongholds (Judges 6:2) and hid many people and cultural items there. They vowed to safeguard future generations from oppression.

So they taught young Tola their knowledge, the value of the mountains, enough about the foreign customs and the basics of the languages they had learned. Tola was an accomplished young man.

He prepared when he was young. He accepted knowledge and wisdom. He honored his elders and worshipped God.

He did not want to become king. He did not move his family from his hill country home to Jerusalem. He did not want to change his lifestyle. He was able to rule by consensus and with delegation. Surely, some travel was involved to judge and lead well.

Tola could deal with the neighbours and former oppressors of Israel, who spoke various languages. The Philistines, the Canaanites, the Midianites and the Amalekites.

Tola was a good negotiator, since he could imagine many points of view and possible outcomes to situations.

The result? There was peace in the land and at the borders. No oppressors bothered the Israelites. After 23 years, there was a peaceful turnover of his judgeship to Jair, a man from a different tribe altogether.

Tola lived/dwelt, died and was buried in Shamir, in the mountains of Ephraim. - Judges 10:(1),2

Tola lebte, starb und wurde in S(ch)amir, im Bergland von Efraim begraben. - German