Elon, Judge without a Story


Following Izban’s tenure as a judge, Elon was identified as judge over Israel. He was from the tribe of Zebulun. In the division of the Promised Land by Joshua, Zebulon received land in the north. The Bible gave almost no information about Elon’s tenure as a judge.

Elon’s name means “terebinth” or “oak.” Zebulun’s second son was named Elon and a clan was named after the son. Possibly the judge Elon was named after his eminent ancestor. Being named or referred to as a terebinth or oak suggests that Elon judge was seen as sturdy and/or possibly unbending.

The Bible timeline showed that Elon was judge between 1073 to 1063 BC. He led Israel 10 years and was buried at Aijalon in tribal lands of Zebulon. Aijalon in Zebulun is different from the Aijalon where the sun stood still in the time of Joshua. The present-day location of Aijalon in  Zebulon isn’t known.

Elon is the judge without a story. The Bible recorded less information about Elon than any of the eleven other judges over the Israelites.  Almost nothing is known about the judge to include any length of time that there was peace in the land after his tenure (Judges 12:11). Probably, he was a judiciary rather than a war leader as no national enemies were associated with his name in Judges.

When little or no information is given about a person, it is tempting to speculate what could be true.  One reference to Elon identified that Philistines were the national enemy of Elon and he wasn’t able to defeat them. Given that Elon lived in the northern region of the Promised Land, it is plausible that enemies were Phoenicians from the Tyre and Sidon area rather than Philistines who settled further south.

All scripture is given by God (2 Timothy 3:16). The scripture is valuable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training Christians to be more righteous. That means what was written about Elon in one verse in Judges chapter 12 is valuable for enhancing the righteousness of congregates and our churches. What can we learn from this minuscule portion of scripture about Elon in the Bible?

I believe what churches must learn from Elon is that they, their performance, their theology, etc. must meet the standard for the Christian faith so that nothing negative can be said about them either inside the church or in the wider community. Writing to the Christian church at Philippi, Paul saidDo everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16 ESV).

When congregates meet Elon in heaven and ask him what he did with his time as a judge, Elon will tell them that he did his duty as a judge. What more notable can be said of a church than that it did its duty? The church did not succumb to the currents of society, moving one way than another. Instead, the church stood form in the teaching of the apostles, meticulously living out Christ’s instructions.

Think of the alternative to Judges 12:11. The verse could have Elon was a corrupt judge, i.e., his judgments were based on petitioner’s ability to pay or bribe him. Judges could have said that Elon didn’t enact Mosaic Law when he gave judgements. The writer didn’t draw either conclusion. All that was written was that Elon did his duty as a judge. He introduced no sin or apostasy into his decisions as a judge.

Are there parallels between Elon’s actions as a judge in Israel and apostasy in a church?  Can apostasy be a church or congregates that does nothing apart from what is expected of them? If a church does what is the biblical expected of a church, are those actions sufficient to avoid rebelling against God?

In the first quarter of the 21st century, Christian commentators rarely focuses on what churches do right; right. More often the focus of scholarly critique is on what is lacking in the body of Christ. The good news is that  Christ knows churches that which have kept God’s word and not denied God’s name (Revelations 3:7-13). Regardless of the size, wealth, or influence of these churches are like Elon, they do their duty where and when God placed them.

Before moving on to discuss Abdon, the final minor judge, readers need to remind themselves that their church is not synonymous with the pastors, council, or staff. The church is the body of Christ and in that body congregates are equal before God. The pastors, council, and staff in a church must not rebel against God or deviate from God’s direction. Those types of rebellion are necessary but not sufficient for the church to be free of apostasy. Every congregate must not rebel against God as the church locally and the greater church, the church universal, must also be free of apostasy.

Copyright December 14, 2019; Carolyn Adams Roth

Please visit my website at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com

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