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These were the Judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson.
Having two different cities with the same name in different tribal territories would, at first glance, mirror a similar situation recorded during the judgeship of Ibzan, Elon's predecessor.
After him [Jephthah], Ibzan from Bethlehem led Israel.
Ibzan, the tenth judge of Israel, ruled for seven years (approximately 1094-1087 BCE), following Jephthah's eventful and turbulent reign.
The Sages identify Ibzan with Boaz (Ruth's husband in the Book of Ruth) because Boaz, like Ibzan, came from Bethlehem (TB Bava Batra 91a) which, they assume, is the Bethlehem in Judah.
To account for the discrepancy between what is stated in Judges (that Boaz had sixty children) and the Book of Ruth (where they are never mentioned), the Sages further speculate that when Ibzan married off his sixty children, he refused to invite Samson's parents who were childless at the time, thus humiliating them.
With all due respect to the midrashic interpretation of the Sages, the weight of textual evidence is that Ibzan came from Bethlehem-Zebulun, not Bethle hem-Judah.
If we look at the five judges prior to Ibzan: Gideon, Abimelech, Tola, Jair, and Jephthah, we see that they are from the north.
Furthermore, Elon, the immediate successor of Ibzan, is from the tribe of Zebulun.
Another narrative element connecting Ibzan with Zebulun may be found in the parallels between the Hebrew root origin of Zebulun's name, detailed in Genesis, and Ibzan's actions which further illuminate his tribal identity:
The Targum translates yizbeleni as "will dwell with me," an interpretation followed by Saadiah Gaon, Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Radak, although it can also mean "exalt." Leah's dream of "dwelling" with her husband never materializes in her lifetime, but through Ibzan her wistful hopes are realized centuries later in the shape of Zebulun's descendants.
(21) The opinion of Rav is that Boaz is to be identified with the judge Ibzan from Bethlehem (Jud.