And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar…
I. THE BEST MEN ARE NOT ALWAYS BEST KNOWN. We know nothing of Tola and Jair in comparison with what we know of Abimelech. Yet the very fact that little is said of them is a proof that they were good and honest men. We are too ready to mistake notoriety for fame and both for signs of greatness. They are not the greatest men who make the most noise in the world. It is something if this censorious world can say no ill of us. Aim at doing well rather than at striking attention.
II. QUIET TIMES ARE HAPPY TIMES. Israel was now experiencing the happiness of the people whose annals are dull. It is generally a miserable thing to be the subject of an interesting story; the more full of incident the story is, the more full of distress will be the person to whom it relates. Happiness generally visits private lives in their obscurity, and forsakes those which are protruded into the glare of vulgar curiosity. David's happiest days were spent with the sheep on the hills of Bethlehem. Christ found more happiness at Capernaum than in Jerusalem.
III. QUIET TIMES ARE OFTEN HEALTHFUL TIMES. There is a quietness which betokens the stagnation of death, and there is a condition of ease which favours indolence, luxury, and vice. But there is also a quietness of healthy life (Isaiah 30:15). The flowers grow, not in the noisy storm, but in soft showers and in quiet sunshine. In times of quiet a nation is able to effect legislative improvements, to open up its internal resources, to develop commerce, to cultivate science, art, and literature, and to turn its attention to the promotion of the highest welfare of all within its borders. In times of quiet the Church is able to study Divine truth more deeply and to carry out missionary enterprises with more energy. In times of quiet rightly used the soul enjoys the contemplation of God and grows under the peaceful influences of his Spirit (Psalm 72:6).
IV. QUIET TIMES ARE MORE FREQUENT THAN WE COMMONLY SUPPOSE. History directs inordinate attention to scenes of tumult, and necessarily so. Hence we are likely to magnify the range of these. In times of war there are vast areas of peace. The terrible seasons which attract our attention are separated by long intervals of quiet which pass unnoticed. Thus it was
(1) in the history of Israel, which is really not so clark as it appears because so many generations were spent in peaceful obscurity;
(2) in the history of our own country, of the Church, and of the world; and
(3) in our own lives, since we commonly recollect the troublesome times (which are striking partly just because they are abnormal), and ungratefully ignore the long, quiet seasons of unbroken blessings. - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.