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.
There arose — Not of himself, but raised by God, as the other Judges were.
To defend — Or, to save, which he did not by fighting against, and overthrowing their enemies, but by a prudent and pious government of them, whereby he kept them from sedition, oppression, and idolatry.
In Shamir — Which was in the very midst of the land.
 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.
A Gileadite — Of Gilead beyond Jordan.
 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead.
And he had thirty sons — They were itinerant judges, who rode from place to place, as their father's deputies to administer justice.
Havoth-jair — These villages were called so before this time from another Jair, but the old name was revived and confirmed upon this occasion.
 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.
Forsook the Lord — They grew worse and worse, and so ripened themselves for ruin. Before they worshipped God and idols together, now they forsake God, and wholly cleave to idols.
 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.
Philistines, … — The one on the west, the other on the east; so they were molested on both sides.
 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.
That year — Or, that year they had vexed and oppressed the children of Israel eighteen years - This was the eighteenth year from the beginning of that oppression. And these eighteen years are not to be reckoned from Jair's death, because that would enlarge the time of the judges beyond the just bounds; but from the fourth year of Jair's reign: so that the greatest part of Jair's reign was contemporary with this affliction. The case of Jair and Samson seem to be much alike. For as it is said of Samson, that he judged Israel in the days of the tyranny of the Philistines, twenty years, Judges 15:20, by which it is evident, that his judicature, and their dominion, were contemporary; the like is to be conceived of Jair, that he began to judge Israel, and endeavoured to reform religion, and purge out all abuses; but being unable to effect this through the backwardness of the, people, God would not enable him to deliver the people, but gave them up to this sad oppression; so that Jair could only determine differences amongst the Israelites, but could not deliver them from their enemies.
 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.
And served also — Because not contented to add idols to thee, we have preferred them before thee.
 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?
The Lord said — Either by some prophet whom he raised and sent for this purpose: or by the high-priest, who was consulted in the case.
From the Amorites — Both Sihon and Og, and their people, and other kings of the Amorites within Jordan.
Of Ammon — Who were confederate with the Moabites, Judges 3:13,14.
 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.
The Zidonians — We do not read of any oppression of Israel, particularly, by the Zidonians. But many things were done, which are not recorded.
The Maonites — Either first, those who lived in, or near the wilderness of Maon, in the south of Judah, 2 Chronicles 26:7. For in the Hebrew, the letters of both names are the same, only the one is the singular, the other the plural number.
 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
No more — Except you repent in another manner than you yet have done; which when they performed, God suspended the execution of this threatning.
 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
Chosen — You have not been forced to worship those gods by your oppressors; but you have freely chosen them before me.
 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.
Do thou unto us — Do not give us up into the hands of these cruel men, but do thou chastise us with thine own hand as much as thou pleasest; if we be not more faithful and constant to thee, than we have hitherto been.
 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
They put away — This was an evidence of the sincerity of their sorrow, that they did not only confess their sins, but also forsake them.
His soul, … — He acted towards them, like one that felt their sufferings; he had pity upon them, quite changed his carriage towards them, and punished their enemies as sorely as if they had grieved and injured his own person.
 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
Mizpeh — That Mizpeh which was beyond Jordan.