Judge Tola & Eastern Plateau (Transjordan)

I’ve noticed that when You get tired of people being wickedly evil You help them.  Some get right with You and others just stop breathing.

Tola Biblical Judge
Tola the son of Puah was a judge of Israel whose reign spanned a total of 23 years.

His reign started after the death of Abimelech.

This is supported by the Biblical Time Line Chart.

Not much was recorded about the life and reign of Tola.

This judge of Israel is actually the least spoken of or recorded judge.

There are no recorded deeds of this Tola.

Tola was buried at Shamir located in Mount Ephraim where he resided until he died.

Dodo of the tribe of Issachar was the grandfather of Tola.

Tola is a Hebrew name that means worm, grub or scarlet.

Biblical Recordings of Tola
Jug 10:1-2.
Tola takes over and leads the charge to defend Israel after the death of Abimelech.

These two verses are the only biblical recordings of Tola.

“And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola (scarlet-worm) the son of Puah (probably red dye), the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.  And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir” (Jdg 10:1-2). 

After him was Jair, a Gileadite, and he judged Israel 22 years, and was buried in Camon.

“And the children of Israel did evil again, and served Baalim, Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Zidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines” (Jdg 10:6).

Fertile Moab
Moab is the land where Ruth lived.

She married one of the sons of Elimelech and Naomi, before following her mother-in-law to Bethlehem.

At the time Judah was experiencing a severe famine, but Moab was apparently receiving more rainfall.

This may be explained by the elevated plateau that Moab is on and/or the response of the Lord to the faithlessness of the Judeans during the days of the Judges.

God was angry and sold them into the hands of the Philistines and to the children of Ammon for 18 years. 

Aside from that, the children of Ammon passed over the Jordan and fought against the people of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim, and of course since they walked away from God they didn’t do well. 

And again they cried out to God, but God was fed up with their whining and stabbing Him in the back.

“And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 

The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. 

Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 

1 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. 

And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.  

Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead.  And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh. 

Infernal illustration of Baal
The word Baalim is the Hebrew plural for Baal, the pagan god of nature and fertility.

Usually spelled Baal in English, also sometimes called “Bael”, is one of the seven princes of Hell in Christian demonology.

He is mentioned widely in the Old Testament as the primary pagan idol of the Phoenicians, often associated with the heathen goddess Ashtaroth.

His name is a Northwest Semitic word and title meaning “master” or “lord” which is used for various gods including Hadad who were patrons of cities in the Levant and Asia Minor, cognate to Akkadian Bēlu.

Nevertheless, few if any Biblical uses of Baal refer to Hadad, the lord over the assembly of gods on the holy mount of Heaven, but rather refer to any number of local spirit-deities worshiped as cult images, each called Baal and regarded in the Hebrew Bible in that context as a “false god”.

Baal is a Christian demon who was ranked as the first and principal king in Hell, ruling over the East.

According to some authors Baal is a Duke of Hell, with 66 legions of demons under his command.

The term “Baal” is used in various ways in the Old Testament, with the usual meaning of master, or owner.

It came to sometimes mean the local pagan god of a particular people, and at the same time all of the idols of the land.

It is also found in several places in the plural “Baalim”, or Baals (Jdg 2:11, 10:10).

There were many variations, such as the sun god, the god of fertility, and Beelzebub, or the “lord of flies”.

During the English Puritan period, Baal was either compared to Satan or considered his main assistant.

According to Francis Barrett, he has the power to make those who invoke him invisible, and to some other demonologists his power is stronger in October.

According to some sources, he can make people wise, speaks hoarsely, and carries ashes in his pocket.

While his Semitic predecessor was depicted as a horned man or a bull, the demon Baal was in grimoire tradition said to appear in the forms of a man, cat, toad, or combinations thereof.

An illustration in Collin de Plancy’s 1818 book Dictionnaire Infernal rather curiously placed the heads of the three creatures onto a set of spider legs.

And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon?  He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead” (Jdg 10:11-18).

1 This is in the Song of Moses:

“And he shall say, where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted,

Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offerings?  Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. 

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 

For I lift my hand to heaven, and say, I live forever” (Deut 32:37-40).

Via Nova Traiana, King’s Highway
Two highways ran north to south through Edom and Moab: the King’s Highway (shown here) and the Way of the Wilderness.

The advantage of the King’s Highway was the accessibility of water and food, but its disadvantage was difficult crossings of deep canyons.

The Israelites wanted to pass through Edom on the King’s Highway, but the Edomites forced them to go around, utilizing the Way of the Wilderness (Num 20:17-18; Deut 2:1-8).

After that it was ruled by Argon, the son of Ninus.  His posterity held the kingdom of Lydia for 505 years, or 22 generations.

Each son succeeded his father to the throne until the time of Candaules, the son of Myrsus.

Semiramis, the daughter of Dercetidis, was the wife, first of Menon and later of Ninus.  Diodorus Siculus stated that she reigned for 42 years over all Asia, with the exception of India, and lived 62 years.

Ctesias Cnidos described her noble acts at length, especially those against Strabrobates king of India.  We find this also recorded in Strabo, quoting from Megasthenes, who wrote expressly of the Indian affairs.

Arrian said that she died before she ever came into India. 

Herodotus stated that she constructed very large works around Babylon, whereas formerly the Euphrates River had overflowed all the lower parts of it.  Justin also mentioned Semirarmis and stated:

She built Babylon and walked it round with bricks, laying the stones with brimstone, instead of sand.  This brimstone erupted naturally from the earth everywhere in that area.  

This queen did many other very memorable acts.  Not content to keep her husband’s conquests, she added Ethiopia to her dominions and she also made war on India.  She was the first to enter India and Alexander the Great was next.

All other writers agree that Dionysus or Bacchus conquered all of India.  It was Diordorus and Trogus who falsely reported that this queen enclosed Babylon with wall of brick. 

Strabo also is refuted by the sacred history of Genesis and by Eupolemus.  It was Nebuchadnezzar (you will hear more about him and his pride in the book of Daniel, where God punishes him) and his daughter-in-law, Nectoris, who built the wall of Babylon many years later. 

Ishtar
In Babylonian and Assyrian religion, goddess of fertility, love, war and sex.

She was known for being unreliabe and vengeful.

She was a continuation of the Sumerian goddess, Inanna.

The Babylonians considered her the divine personification of the planet Venus.

Her symbol was a star of 8 points.

Central in her cults was sexuality, and sacred prostitution was an important part of her veneration.

She was noted for many lovers, but her love was fatal, causing destruction or even death.

She was the daughter of Sin, or of Anu.

Her main cult centers were at Nineveh and Arbela.

A ziggurat was built for her in Uruk around 2000 B.C.

The goddess, Astarte, is often suggested to be derived from the myths and ideas of Ishtar.

Erranius notes that Babylon was built 1002 years before Semiramis was born.  If he had said 1022 years, this date would very nearly agree with the Babylonian calendar sent from there by Callisthenes, as reported by Porphyry.

Eusebius stated further that this Sanchuniathon lived in the days of Sermiramis, Queen of the Assyrians, who is said to have lived before the Trojan wars at that time. 

This agreed with Ussher’s account of having her live after the war of Troy by 11 years after reigning for 42 years.

Troy was destroyed by the Greeks 408 years before the first Olympiad (the Latin copy states it was 405 years).

According to Greek chronologers the first Olympiad took place in 776 B.C.  Julius Africanus had reported that Choroebus of Elis won the first race ever ran. 

This is also when, due to mythological happening, Greek history seems to begin.

Eastern Plateau (Transjordan) 

The lands rising sharply to the east of the Jordan Rift form a high plateau or tableland often called Transjordan. 

This plateau, ranging in height from 2,000 to more than 5,000 feet, towers above the Jordan Rift, then slopes gradually eastward to the Syro-Arabian desert.

Four large wadis – Jabbok, Arnon, and Zered – bisect the plateau, carrying the runoff into the rift.  Considerable amounts of rain fall on the plateau as clouds reform in the higher altitudes beyond the rift.

Northern and central sections are well watered (20 to 40 inches in Bashan, 12 to 20 inches in parts of Gilead).

Further south, the encroaching desert restricts rainfall amounts.  The larger cities developed along the important commercial route known as the King’s Highway, which traversed the top of the plateau from the Gulf of Aqabah to Damascu. 

The wadis helped divide the region into four major sections: Bashan, Gilead, Moab, and Edom.

Bashan

Bashan is the northernmost region of the Eastern Plateau.  Lying between the towering slopes of Mount Hermon (9,263 feet; also known as Sirion and Senir [Deut 3:9]) and the Yarmuk River.

Bashan is a fertile land blessed with abundant water and rich volcanic soil.Extinct volcanic cones protrude from the landscape, while oak trees graced portions of the Bashan in biblical times.

Often, Biblical writers referred to the well-fed cattle that grazed in the Bashan.

During the Old Testament period, Israel seldom controlled this region, although portions of Bashan originally were allotted to the half-tribe of Manasseh. 

The Arameans, especially the kings of Damascus, controlled the Bashan from about 900 to 732 B.C.  herod’s son Philip governed this land during the New Testament era when various parts of the region bore the names Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, and Batanea.

Gilead was a mountainous region east of the Jordan River divided among the tribes of Gad and Manasseh, and situated in modern-day Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew (Gen 31:47). From its mountainous character, it is called “the mount of Gilead” (Gen 31:25). It is called also “the land of Gilead” (Num 32:1), and sometimes simply “Gilead” (Ps 60:9; Gen 37:25). As a whole, it included the tribal territories of Gad, Reuben, and the eastern half of Manasseh (Deut 3:13; Num 32:40). In the Book of Chronicles, Segub controlled twenty-three towns in Gilead (1 Chr 2:21-22). It was bounded on the north by Bashan, and on the south by Moab and Ammon (Gen 31:21; Deut 3:12-17). “Half Gilead” was possessed by Sihon, and the other half, separated from it by the river Jabbok, by Og, king of Bashan.

Gilead

Gilead, a mountainous region noted for its heavy forests in ancient times, stretches south of the Yarmuk to the top of the Dead Sea.  A natural passage links Gilead with the lands west of the Jordan.

Queen Semiramis by KejaBlank
The old sumerian rulers called her Inanna, goddess of vegetation and war.

The Babylonian kings called her Ishtar, the woman of the tower.

The myths tell about Semiramis, the girl that changed into a dove and flew away.

They suggest she was mother and wife of the giant Nimrod at once.

The Bible knows her as the great whore infecting the whole earth with sin.

And that is how she might have looked like.

The Jabbok River (Nahr ez-Zerka), dividing Gilead into two parts, lies opposite the Wadi Farah, which affords easy access to Samaria.

 The Israelite tribes of East Manasseh and Gad, who settled Gilead, thus maintained contact with their kinsmen beyond the Rift. 

The Kingdom of Ammon, centered on Rabbah, occupied the lands bordering the desert southeast of Gilead.  By New Testament times, portions of Perea and the Decapolis fell within Gilead.

Moab

The region due east of the Dead Sea is Moab, a land divided by the deep gorge of the Arnon River (Wadi Mujib).

The southern boundary of Moab is the Zered (Wadi al-Hesa), which separates Moab from Edom.  Precipitous wadis leading to the Dead Sea scour the land, making both travel and settlement difficult along the western edge.

The eastern border of Moab is ill defined as the habitable land blends gradually to desert. 

Between the western scarp and desert lies a plateau where conditions favored sheep-herding and cereal crops.  The story of Ruth the Moabites illustrates the agricultural potential of Moab.

Capital of Moab
Known in the Bible as as Kir, Kir Moab, Kir-Heres(eth), and Hereseth, this site (today Kerak) was the capital city of Moab.

It is situated on an isolated hilltop, with a view in all directions.

The Crusaders recognized the defensible aspect of the site and made Kerak one of their strongest fortresses in the Middle East in 1140 A,D, (pictured).

North fo the Arnon, a high flat tableland, in Hebrew Mishor, provided the best agricultural lands of Moab. 

Golan Heights (Biblical Bashan)
Also known as Batanea, Gaulanitis, Geshur, Karnaim Cows of Bashan, oaks of Bashan, Mount Hermon Cows of Bashan, Oaks of Bashan
Cattle have been raised in this area, in ancient times as well as today.

Both beef and dairy cattle are currently raised in the Golan Heights.

In biblical times, this area (known as Bashan) was known for its cattle and its oak trees.

“Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.

The Lord God hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks” (Amos 4:1-2).

“Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down” (Zech 11:2).

Important cities of the Mishor include Heshbon and Dibon.  Although the Moabites claimed this region, the Israelite tribe of Reuben settled north of the Arnon, leading to frequent hostilities between Israel and Moab over control of this territory.

Edom

South of the Zered, striking red Nubian sandstone mountains deco­rate the land of Edom.  The name Edom comes from the Hebrew word meaning “red.” 

Occasion­ally, underlying granite rocks protrude through the earth’s crust giving the region a more dra­matic visual impact.

Some mountains reach heights in excess of five thousand feet.  Tucked between the desert and the Arabah, Edom is something of a fortress consisting of a narrow band of mountains affording protection to its inhabitants.

Sufficient rainfall occurs in the west­ern area to produce small clumps of juniper, oak, and hawthorn forests.  Seir is another name for Edom although sometimes the name refers to land south of Judah.

The Edomites, descendants of Esau and ancestral enemies of Israel and Judah, built their cities in the rugged mountains of this region.

Bozrah, Capital of Edom
The modern city of Buseirah preserves the name and location of ancient Bozrah, the ancient capital of the Edomites (cf. Isa 34:6; 63:1; Jer 49:13).

The earliest significant remains at Buseireh are from 800 B.C.

It has the largest Iron Age buildings found in Transjordan, among which was perhaps the king’s palace.

Later, the Nabateans carved out of the living rock the city of Petra – a feast of beauty with its mul­ticolored sandstone monuments.