After Gideon dies in Judges 8, we're given two short stories at the start of Judges 10:

After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.

After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

Judges 10:1-5 ESV

After that the Jephthah cycle begin and occupies the next couple of chapters. What purpose do these vignettes have in the larger narrative of Judges? Are they integrated at all into the narrative? Or do they just exist as part of a completionist project on behalf of the author to catalog all the deliverers of Israel during this time periord?

  • 2
    Doesn't the book of Judges follow the chronological order of the history of the Judges of Israel? How could the author possibly leave them out?
    – bach
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


Tola, Jair, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon were each judges who led Israel and are mentioned in Judges 10—12. They are sometimes considered “minor judges,” since their accounts are shorter than some of the other judges (such as Gideon or Samson), yet each of their accounts includes important information and lessons for the book’s original readers and for readers today.

The purpose of mentioning these "minor judges" is to show how God raised up men at specific times to lead his chosen people. They carried on where others left off. It shows how God cared for the Israelites during those dark and dangerous days by appointing judges.

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