After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons. He gave his thirty daughters in marriage outside his clan and brought in thirty young women from outside for his sons. He judged Israel seven years. Then Ibzan died, and was buried at Bethlehem. Judge 12: 8-10 NRSV
After Jephthah, there is a series of three different judges that we are only told a few details about.
The detail for Ibzan is on his children. At first, it sounded like he was marrying them to non-Israelites which could have been possible. But at the same time, if he even just married all his sons and daughters outside his clan, that raises several questions:
What happened to the inheritance if outside clans are brought in through marriage?
What was wrong with his own clan?
Why marry all of them outside his clan?
Why the detail about both his sons AND his daughters?
Is the fact that he was from Bethlehem (later the birth place of King David as well as Jesus) also significant?
And the most intriguing question: Why was the detail about his children and birthplace the most significant thing about Ibzan?
I think the answer to that question is that he really didn't do anything historically or spiritually significant during his time as a judge. This sounds like a funeral sermon in which the deceased really is not remembered for their Christian action or witness, so only a few details about their family life are lifted up. All I know is that I don't want to be one of those!
God, direct our steps so that what we do in your name is the most memorable detail about our lives. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Question of the day: What will people remember about you?
Copyright Amelia G. Sims