IBZAN (ĭb'zăn, Heb. ’ivtsān). The tenth judge of Israel, who ruled for seven years. He was a native of Bethlehem (whether of Judah or Zebulun is not stated). He had thirty sons and thirty daughters (
IBZAN ĭb’ zăn (אִבְצָ֖ן, swift, hasty [?]. One of the minor judges (
The Heb. word for “Judge” is similar to our meaning for “king.” This can be seen from the poetic parallelism of the 14th cent. b.c. Ugaritic texts as well as Biblical passages as
Josephus (Antiq. V. vii. 13) states that Ibzan’s Bethlehem is in Judah, but this is prob. incorrect because this Bethlehem is generally distinguished by adding the words “of Judah” or “Ephratah.”
Probably stemming from this same confusion, Jewish tradition identified Ibzan as the Boaz of the Ruth story, making him an ancestor of David (Talmud, Baba’ Batra’ 91a).
Keil makes a good case for limiting the extent of the rule of Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon primarily to the Trans-jordanian situation with the Ammonite oppression. The author of Judges first gives a short summary of the subject matter for the whole section by introducing the Philistine and the Ammonite threat simultaneously in
The large family and the special reference to these marriages from abroad certainly indicates the wealth and social status of Ibzan.
M. Noth. IPN (1928), 226, n. 1; C. F. Keil, Joshua, Judges, Ruth (1956, reprint), 276-292, 397, 398; C. Gordon, Before The Bible (1962), 195-300.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The 10th judge of Israel. His city is given as Bethlehem (whether of Judah or Zebulun is not stated). He judged Israel 7 years, and when he died he was buried in his native place. The only personal details given about him in the Biblical narrative are that he had 30 sons and a like number of daughters. He sent all of his sons "abroad" for wives and brought husbands from "abroad" for all his daughters. The exact meaning of ha-chuts, "abroad," is mere matter of speculation, but the great social importance of the man and, possibly, alliances among tribes, are suggested in the brief narrative (