We are given the family lines of Tola and Jair. Issachar was a tribe described as lazy. Remember what Jacob prophesied over the tribe in Genesis 49:14? Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15. And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute’. What a shame that Tola did not prove this ancient declaration wrong. He definitely enjoyed rest and gave us no output. As for Jair, he came from Gilead. A region that was known for its’ healing balm. Unfortunately, he knew how to heal his family’s circumstances – and no one else’s.
Tola’s bland line of life was in direct contrast with Jair’s colourful brood of sons, with their asses and cities. They must have cut a real swathe of glory as they rode over the stretch of land that their father presided over as Judge. What did Jair himself have, if his sons each had a city? We are not told.
VALUES & SKILLS OF LEADERSHIP
No statement was made about the personal content of the lives of these two men. But we can see that they were both spiritually bankrupt. During their fifty-five year leadership stint, Israel became most active in the worship of every type of god that their God had warned them about. Israel did not just worship baal. They worshipped baalim. Plural. Then they worshipped an assortment of high gods that previous leaders had worked hard to turn Israel from. Tola and Jair were not men with values of godliness.
As for skills, it would seem that Jair was skilled at appropriating for his own house. Israel as a nation seemed to have run at a total loss under their ‘leadership’, while their families gained much. This model of ‘leadership’ is very unfortunately very familiar to many African peoples. ‘Leading’ families are sometimes wealthier than nations that cannot seem to shake off poverty.
The Bible points to no physical legacy Tola and Jair left for anyone except their households. But they left a huge spiritual legacy. A landscape crawling with every form of idol worship. It makes one wonder: what kind of people were these two men? Sounds like they were the male versions of Jezebel
WHEN GOD SNUBS MAN
Tola and Jair were the ultimate expression of how God can snub humanity when He finds your conduct disgusting and unacceptable. In Genesis 5: 9-32, a list of people is recorded after Seth. All God is interested in telling us is that these people lived and had children, and then died. They seemed to have added no other value to the story of heaven and earth.
Until Enoch. Who the Spirit takes time to tell us was a man who walked with God. And so God took him away. He did not die. Until Noah. Who the Spirit takes time to tell us how he walked with God and God worked with Him to preserve a generation for Himself though every other creature was destroyed.
When God chooses to be silent about a life, it speaks volumes. Like the illustrious civilisations of Cain that Genesis Chapter 4 starts to record. Yet after that chapter, the Bible chooses to tell us nothing else about what happened to Cain’s descendants who founded cities, started musical culture with distinct instruments, industrial culture with technologies, and subdued other nations with their warlike disposition. Their lives were not worthy of tracking? It would seem so.
The most difficult of these lessons for me was Barnabas. Before the missionary journeys, we are told that the Holy Spirit spoke and said that Barnabas and Paul were to be separated for a work He had for them. But after quarrelling with Paul and their separation, there was nothing else to be said of Barnabas, a man highly regarded among the early Christians and who had been instrumental in helping Paul with his ministry. Except silence. Dodo. May God not cut you off from His narrative, because He does not agree with your trajectory of laziness, self-will, ungodly behavior or sheer obstinacy.