After the fiasco surrounding Abimelech, there were 2 judges that left precious little legacy for us to examine. So, we will skip the 45 years of Israel's history that Tola & Liar presided over. After they died, the Jews reverted even more intensely to polytheistic idolatry. Baal, Ashtaroth and a multitude of other local deities took the place of God in Israel's heart. How sad!
This time things were a little different than they had been during the previous spiritual cycles of the nation. First, the period of trouble was longer. The Jews were under the oppression of the Philistines and the Ammonites for 18 years. Secondly (and, more importantly), when the nation cried out in sorrow and repentance to obtain mercy from the Lord, God responded with aloof disinterest. The people did indeed say the right things... and I'm sure they meant what they said (Judges 10:10). But God had walked down this road with them already - and, that more than once. So, God listed 7 different enemies which He had delivered His people from before. Then He reminded them that without exception they had returned ungratefully to their former sins. This time He told them that He was through bailing them out (Judges 10:13-14).
Wisely, the Jews persisted in their petitions for God's mercy. And, they proved their sincerity by removing their idols and worshiping God, despite His refusal to help them. That symbol of their new heart was more than God could resist. Judges 10:16 indicates that He just couldn't stand to watch them suffer while they were worshipping Him. In the next chapter, we will discover who God allowed to rise to deliver His habitually wayward people yet again.