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Ibzan, Bible Judge

The name Ibzan was of Hebrew origin, which means ‘splendid’. In the Bible, this name was mentioned as one of the judges of Israel. He can be found on the Bible Timeline at the beginning of the 1st century B.C. There was only a little information stated in the Bible about him other than brief facts about his life and death. According to the Book of Judges 12:8-10 in the King James Version, Ibzan was originally from Bethlehem. He became a judge in Israel, and he remained in that position for seven years. Ibzan also had 30 sons and 30 daughters. He sent them abroad and took in 30 daughters-in-law for his sons. According to several scholars, this passage referred to Bethlehem as the place that was a part of the territory occupied by the Tribe of Zebulun. It was rather different from the Bethlehem that most people know, which was a part of the area where the Tribe of Judah remained. In the Talmud, though, Ibzan was often associated with Boaz, who was a figure mentioned in the Book of Ruth. This man settled in Bethlehem in the land of Judah, where he also lived with Ruth and consummated his marriage during the very last night of his life.

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‘The lion is the symbol of the Tribe of Judah. It is often represented in Jewish art, such as this sculpture outside a synagogue.’

Accounts on Ibzan

There was not much detail presented in the Bible about the life and character of Ibzan. However, it was clear that Ibzan became Israel’s tenth judge. Although he was noted to have been originally from Bethlehem, it was not very clear if this town was the one from the Tribe of Zebulun or the Tribe of Judah.

Judge Ibzan served as Israel’s great judge for 7 years. There were accounts that he became a judge from 1081 to 1073 BC. When Ibzan died, he was buried in his hometown. Other than these details, there were not much stated about him. He had several sons and daughters that lived abroad, and he sent them far from their native land to find husbands and wives.

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