And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel
To save, deliver, and protect Israel; which does not necessarily imply that Abimelech did; for he was no judge of God's raising up, or the people's choosing, but usurped a kingly power over them; and was so far from saving and defending them, that he involved them in trouble and distress, and ruled over them in a tyrannical manner, and left them in the practice of idolatry: it only signifies that after his death arose a person next described to which this may well be attributed, that he was raised up as a judge by the Lord; and though we read of no enemies particularly, that he delivered the people from in his days, yet it is not impossible nor unlikely that there might be such, though not made mention of; besides, he might be said to save them, as the word signifies, in that he was an happy instrument of composing those differences and dissensions, which Abimelech had occasioned, and of recovering them from the idolatry they had fallen into in his times, and of protecting them in their liberties, civil and religious: and this was
Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar;
he was of the tribe of Issachar, and bore the same name as the eldest son of Issachar did, as his father Puah had the name of the second son of Issachar, ( 1 Chronicles 7:1 ) and as for Dodo his grandfather, this is elsewhere mentioned as the name of a man, as it doubtless is here, ( 2 Samuel 23:9 2 Samuel 23:24 ) though some copies of the Targum, the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, render it, the son of his uncle, or father's brother; meaning that his father Puah was the son of Abimelech's uncle, or father's brother, and so was one of the family which was raised up to be a judge after his death; but it is not likely that Gideon, the father of Abimelech, and Puah, the father of this man, should be brethren, when the one was of the tribe of Manasseh, and the other of the tribe of Issachar:
and he dwelt in Shamir in Mount Ephraim:
that is, when he became judge in Israel he removed to this place, as being in the midst of the tribes, and near the tabernacle of Shiloh, and so fit for a judge to reside in, to whom the people might apply from all parts to have justice and judgment administered to them. It is called Shamir in Mount Ephraim, to distinguish it from another of the same name in the mountain of Judah, ( Joshua 15:48 ) it seems to have its name from the thorns which grew about it.