Clever Literary Bio’s

Ever wonder why some things were even included in Scripture?  Sometimes it can be baffling.  And 2,000+ years removed from the writing, it’s impossible to know the author’s intent for sure.  So, often we’re left with a mystery.

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 — Judg 10:5 ESV)

What did these guys do that warranted lines of Scripture? I get they judged Israel, but there are no battles, no acts of faith, no turning of the people, no feats of leadership. What did they do as judges that gets them on the list?

To heighten the mystery, why does a man of Isachar judge in Ephraim, and then have himself buried there?  Where is “his father’s tomb”?  Why not be buried there?  Is it that this man of Isachar belongs more to the “sons of Israel” than to any one tribe or family?  

What about the Gileadite? We miss the literary device of the author in translation. His thirty son ride thirty jackasses and have thirty cities.  In Hebrew, the word for jackass and the word for city are essentially the same.  It’s a Hebrew pun. The spelling of “city” is odd to make it work, but it works. But what’s the point? This can’t be simply an opprtunity to pun?

That ordinary judges, whose claim to fame is that they judged, are included without drama means that undramatic people are acceptable!  We can be what we’re called to be without fear we’re too boring. We can live out the design and plan of our Master without the need for some crisis to make the plan and design meaningful.

That’s kind of a relief. I thought there was something missing, like I wasn’t doing enough. But I’m called to be a disciple, not a drama king. His plans don’t require “management-by-crisis”. What my Master wants is a daily walk with me in the cool of the day. That’s when I live out my divine purpose, when I spend time with Him.

So, be the pun, be the man-of-the-people, be whatever our Maker has designed you to be. And rest in the walk with your Master in the cool of the day. That’s what garden’s are for.

What’s your view through the fence this morning?