Tola and Jair
The beginning of this chapter gives us a brief sketch of the history of two judges in Israel - Tola and Jair - both eminent men.
The first was renowned for his descent, his ancestors being mentioned in Genesis amongst the sons of Israel who went down into Egypt - namely, Tola and Puah among the sons of Issachar (Gen. 46: 13; 1 Chron. 8: 1). The second was conspicuous for his wealth, the number of his sons, his prosperity (c.f. Judges 5: 10), and his cities.
But, strange to say, nothing else is added. Their rule continued for nearly the same length of time. God made use of them, qualifying even Tola "to save Israel" by (Rev. Ver), but He did not glorify Himself by them in any special way. This reminds us of 1 Cor. 1: 26‑29; "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God bath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things, which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in His presence." God uses, in preference, weak vessels, and that is the reason why so many of the judges bear, in one way or another, the stamp of weakness. On the other hand, all the value of God's instruments consists in presenting the character of Christ. How difficult it would be for a man who was powerful, noble or rich, to reflect the traits of Him who, when here below, was found in the place of weakness, humiliation and poverty, that He might bring the grace of God to us. The judges who preceded them, being neither Tolas nor Jairs, were examples of humility, of forgetfulness of self, esteeming others better than themselves; and who, having nothing to lose, gave proof of spiritual energy which nothing could arrest and whose very weakness achieved a victory.