My husband Rick and I were reading about Gideon’s son Abimelech in Judges chapter 9 on Monday night. We came to the beginning of the next chapter, and this was the first verse:
“After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim” (Judges 10:1).
I thought, “Who cares? Why is this dude Tola even mentioned?” Then I thought of Chuck Missler and remembered that God rewards the diligent student. I remembered his advice to dig deep, and his teaching that everything is in Scripture for a reason. So then I thought, “Hey, let’s look up the meanings of these names. Maybe it’s like that genealogy in Genesis! Or that little law about the bird and taking only her babies. Maybe there’s something more hidden here.”
So I started with Tola. I used my handy Strong’s NASB Concordance (that’s an affiliate link to buy your own!)
Puah: name, from a root word meaning – “here, hither”
Dodo: “His Beloved”
Issachar: “There is recompense.”
Well well well. Those are very interesting meanings, aren’t they!
Jesus quotes the beginning of Psalm 22 while on the cross. Perhaps you recognize it: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). Many scholars say that this indicates Jesus actually quoted the entire Psalm. There are some other awesome prophetic words hidden in this Psalm, about the actual process of death that the Lord physically endured on the cross. For example, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in my breast” (Psalm 22:14) and “they have pierced my hands and feet–I can count all my bones–they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:16-18). Do you see that? In Matthew 27:35, while Jesus is on the cross, the Bible says, “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
And then, relevant to our original verse, there is this gem: “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people” (Psalm 22:6.) What does Tola mean from the verse we are looking at? Worm! Interesting…Jesus was despised and rejected up on the cross. One prophetic passage referring to Jesus says, “He is despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3).
The meaning of “Puah” — “His beloved” is also very intriguing in its biblical usage. In Matthew 3:17, “a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” God calls Jesus His beloved son.
That’s two names now in this genealogy that have meanings that refer to Jesus within the pages of Scripture!
“Issachar” is very interesting too! “There is recompense.”
RECOMPENSE means, “payment or reward as for service rendered” or “the act of compensating for service or loss or injury.” In the Bible it’s used in 13 different verses. For example, Isaiah 61:8, “For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”
“Recompense” in the Bible is translated “to restore, to bring back, to cause to return, to give payment“. Jesus was the payment for our sins. God gave Him to restore us to Himself; to bring us back to Himself; to cause us to return to Himself!! Phew. I had to gasp at that one.
And Puah is from a word meaning “here, hither.”
So let’s put these names and their meanings together, in order of the genealogy:
Worm here, His beloved – there is recompense/to bring back.
Jesus — “worm” (TOLA) — came “here” (PUAH), God’s “beloved” (DODO) will be our “recompense” or will “bring (us) back” (ISSACHAR)!
Whaaaaa?! Mind blown here. Mind blown. No seriously? Did you see that? It’s the Gospel!
God sent His Beloved Son as a worm to us here on earth, in order to bring us back and redeem us from the curse of sin and death!
People! Okay, I hope I’m not the only excited one. Jesus said He came to fulfill the law. Who knew that the gospel could be hidden in another genealogy? This discovery just leads me to worship. To praise God. To give glory to the One who knew the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).
I just want to encourage you all again to read your Bible and seek for the hidden treasures. When you’re confused, ask Him for clarity. Then do the work and dive in to discover the answers to your questions. If we just read the Bible and don’t ask questions, we aren’t interacting. God speaks to us in our curiosity to encourage us to seek Him more. There are commentaries who will spell many things out for us, and surely we will learn from them, but how much more joy we can have from simply looking ourselves and expending a bit of energy to find His hidden treasures!
Man, I praise God for His Word!!! Be curious seekers! 🙂
Please share this post with others if it has blessed you! I would love to hear your responses!