praising, a Pirathonite, father of the judge Abdon (Judg. 12:13,
one of the judges of Israel (1 Sam. 12:11). It is uncertain who
he was. Some suppose that Barak is meant, others Samson, but
most probably this is a contracted form of Abdon (Judg. 12:13).
prince, or summit, a place "in the land of Ephraim" (Judg.
12:15), now Fer'on, some 10 miles south-west of Shechem. This
was the home of Abdon the judge.
(1.) Abdon, the son of Hillel, so called, Judg. 12:13, 15.
(2.) Benaiah the Ephraimite (2 Sam. 23:30), one of David's
gnawing = mouse. (1.) An Edomitish king (Gen. 36:38; 1 Chr.
(2.) One of Josiah's officers sent to the prophetess Huldah to
inquire regarding the newly-discovered book of the law (2 Kings
22:12, 14). He is also called Abdon (2 Chr. 34:20).
servile. (1.) The son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, the tenth judge
of Israel (Judg. 12:13-15). He is probably the Bedan of 1 Sam.
(2.) The first-born of Gibeon of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Chr.
(3.) The son of Micah, one of those whom Josiah sent to the
prophetess Huldah to ascertain from her the meaning of the
recently discovered book of the law (2 Chr. 34:20). He is called
Achbor in 2 Kings 22:12.
(4.) One of the "sons" of Shashak (1 Chr. 8:23).
This is the name also of a Levitical town of the Gershonites,
in the tribe of Asher (Josh. 21:30; 1 Chr. 6:74). The ruins of
Abdeh, some 8 miles north-east of Accho, probably mark its site.
(Heb. shophet, pl. shophetim), properly a magistrate or ruler,
rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause. This
is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs
of the Israelites during the interval between the death of
Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of
general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents
was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could
they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by
the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to
consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim
(Num. 27:21). Their authority extended only over those tribes by
whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income
attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of
dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those
of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar
position of having been from before his birth ordained 'to begin
to deliver Israel.' Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but
was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a
prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the
people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office
of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio
upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3),
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all
beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is
not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its
In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that
while for revenue purposes the "taskmasters" were over the
people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the
Romans, governed by their own rulers.
frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated
species we read of, (1.) The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named
from its slowness (Gen. 12:16; 45:23; Num. 22:23; 1 Sam. 9:3).
(2.) The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of
Western Asia, so called from its red colour. Issachar is
compared to a strong ass (Gen. 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke
together an ass and an ox in the plough (Deut. 22:10). (3.) The
ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judg. 10:4; 12:14. It is
rendered "foal" in Gen. 32:15; 49:11. (Comp. Job 11:12; Isa.
30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew
the cud (Lev. 11:26. Comp. 2 Kings 6:25). Asses constituted a
considerable portion of wealth in ancient times (Gen. 12:16;
30:43; 1 Chr. 27:30; Job 1:3; 42:12). They were noted for their
spirit and their attachment to their master (Isa. 1:3). They are
frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by Abraham
(Gen. 22:3), Balaam (Num. 22:21), the disobedient prophet (1
Kings 13:23), the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number
(Judg. 12:14), Zipporah (Ex. 4:20), the Shunammite (1 Sam.
25:30), etc. Zechariah (9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal
entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt,"
etc. (Matt. 21:5, R.V.).
Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in
Hebrew _'arod_, mentioned Job 39:5 and Dan. 5:21, noted for its
swiftness; and (2) that called _pe're_, the wild ass of Asia
(Job 39:6-8; 6:5; 11:12; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 2:24; 14:6, etc.). The
wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme
shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to
a wild ass (Gen. 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild"
in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass
Judges, Book of
is so called because it contains the history of the deliverance
and government of Israel by the men who bore the title of the
"judges." The book of Ruth originally formed part of this book,
but about A.D. 450 it was separated from it and placed in the
Hebrew scriptures immediately after the Song of Solomon.
The book contains, (1.) An introduction (1-3:6), connecting it
with the previous narrative in Joshua, as a "link in the chain
of books." (2.) The history of the thirteen judges (3:7-16:31)
in the following order:
| FIRST PERIOD (3:7-ch. 5)
| I. Servitude under Chushan-rishathaim of
| Mesopotamia 8
| 1. OTHNIEL delivers Israel, rest 40
| II. Servitude under Eglon of Moab:
| Ammon, Amalek 18
| 2. EHUD'S deliverance, rest 80
| 3. SHAMGAR Unknown.
| III. Servitude under Jabin of Hazor in
| Canaan 20
| 4. DEBORAH and,
| 5. BARAK 40
| SECOND PERIOD (6-10:5)
| IV. Servitude under Midian, Amalek, and
| children of the east 7
| 6. GIDEON 40
| ABIMELECH, Gideon's son, reigns as
| king over Israel 3
| 7. TOLA 23
| 8. JAIR 22
| THIRD PERIOD (10:6-ch. 12)
| V. Servitude under Ammonites with the
| Philistines 18
| 9. JEPHTHAH 6
| 10. IBZAN 7
| 11. ELON 10
| 12. ABDON 8
| FOURTH PERIOD (13-16)
| VI. Seritude under Philistines 40
| 13. SAMSON 20
| In all 410
Samson's exploits probably synchronize with the period
immediately preceding the national repentance and reformation
under Samuel (1 Sam. 7:2-6).
After Samson came Eli, who was both high priest and judge. He
directed the civil and religious affairs of the people for forty
years, at the close of which the Philistines again invaded the
land and oppressed it for twenty years. Samuel was raised up to
deliver the people from this oppression, and he judged Israel
for some twelve years, when the direction of affairs fell into
the hands of Saul, who was anointed king. If Eli and Samuel are
included, there were then fifteen judges. But the chronology of
this whole period is uncertain.
(3.) The historic section of the book is followed by an
appendix (17-21), which has no formal connection with that which
goes before. It records (a) the conquest (17, 18) of Laish by a
portion of the tribe of Dan; and (b) the almost total extinction
of the tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes, in consequence of
their assisting the men of Gibeah (19-21). This section properly
belongs to the period only a few years after the death of
Joshua. It shows the religious and moral degeneracy of the
The author of this book was most probably Samuel. The internal
evidence both of the first sixteen chapters and of the appendix
warrants this conclusion. It was probably composed during Saul's
reign, or at the very beginning of David's. The words in
18:30,31, imply that it was written after the taking of the ark
by the Philistines, and after it was set up at Nob (1 Sam. 21).
In David's reign the ark was at Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39)