Abdon was a judge and one great thing that was mentioned about him was the fact that he had 40 sons and 30 nephews. Bible scholars theorize that he was a man of wealth and means because his sons and grandsons were known to ride around on 70 donkeys.
Abdon had judged Israel for eight years and apparently during his rule the people didn’t rebel against God. He is found on the Biblical Timeline Poster around 1130 BC.
Shortly after Abdon’s death the people of Israel turned against God once again. This means that Abdon must have had a strong influence on the people during this reign. He must have been wise as well as rich. Nothing in scripture indicates that his rule was disappointing God.
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The Bible also mentions that Abdon was the son of Hillel and he was also from Pirathon a city in Ephraim. Joseph was the father of Ephraim and the people that descended from him became Ephraimites. This is one of the two tribes that came from Joseph.
He also must have had many wives in order to have so many sons or his one wife must have been a fertile woman capable of bearing so many children within her lifetime. He also could have had more than one wife throughout the course of his lifetime and has his children spread out between them.
The fact that he had so many nephews would indicate that his family was large and that they were probably just as wealthy as he was. He came from a large family of brothers and sisters himself and might have been one of the eldest sons of his clan. This probably wasn’t that uncommon since a few of the previous judges also had large families. Keep in mind that most people could not adequately support a large family of this size unless they had enough resources.
Abdon’s wealth must have been something of note since he had so many donkeys for his sons. The families in ancient Israel were close knit and it wouldn’t have been uncommon for them to work together in some sort of enterprise. Herding was a popular line of work and so was farming large fields. Each of these enterprises could have made Abdon a rich man if they were, in fact, his trade. His wealth, wisdom and influence helped him to be selected by the elders of his people as a leader.
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