2 Now the angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.” As soon as the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim. And they sacrificed there to the LORD.
The Death of Joshua
When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
The Lord Raises Up Judges
Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so. Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not.” So the LORD left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Judges 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The stage is set.
The unraveling of Israel is about to take place as leaders would rise and lead people forward. When the leader passed, the Israelite’s would go back to their selfish ways. The cycle will repeat itself continually through these stories. As a framework, God spoke to the people reminding He made a covenant with them and they were not to have their hearts turn toward the people of the land. They were not to make any form of covenant with others.
They were to tear down and destroy all the false altars of the land. They were to eradicate any form of Canaanite worship and stay true to Him. Boldly God rebukes them they failed to follow His commands. The warning was clear, because they refused to drive out the enemy from the land, these pagans who were left would become thorns to the Israelite’s and would cause them to stumble. On some levels He would lift His hand of blessing.
This event would become a significant change in God’s relationship with the people. Through Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19) God had been clear He was making an agreement with the Israelite’s of which He called a covenant. He would protect them, give them countless blessings if they followed Him and obeyed. Because they broke the covenant and disobeyed God the agreement of protection was now hands-off. Yet the caveat was if they turned back to Him fully He would not abandon, forgive and restore.
God’s desire was for the people to be in sync with Him. He would use the oppression that came because of their disobedience to drive them back. He does the same today. Out of God’s great love He disciplines when we are unfaithful. He does allow oppression to hit us hard when we are not following. But His desire is that it will drive us toward repentance and return to Him. Too many times we want the blessings of God without our own follow through on whatever it is He’s asking of us. We easily make excuses and shirk our responsibilities.
Because we are wired to sin, our human nature takes precedent more than we are willing to admit. Repentance is the true measure of restoration. It not only involves confession but turning from the ways that have become a snare.
Judges 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Let’s take a look with fresh eyes at the scene that’s unfolding.
The moral and spiritual roller coaster of Israel continues on even after all they have seen and done through Joshua. God lifted His hand to allow consequences to ensue, however, we continue to see His amazing grace breathing over His people. He never abandons His people! Does this sound familiar to us today?
Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as their fathers.Judges 2:16-17 NASB
God was gracious in appointing judges to save his people from their sin. This is the problem for all mankind right? We need a Savior. Even then, they would not listen and played the harlot, just as many do today, and turned aside quickly to old habits. How amazing is it that God has gone to such incredible lengths to preserve His people? It makes no sense, really. If it doesn’t melt your heart, then pray that it does, because this is the beginning of a changed life. It is the glory of God being revealed through His love for His people.
In Ephesians 3, Paul ponders this very same idea…
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:17-19 NASB
The words I type on this page cannot describe the immense nature of God’s grace. The idea that He would chase us, pursue us, discipline us, and become relentless in His never-ending radical plan to mend what was broken by us is nothing short of amazing. It’s more than amazing. It’s incomprehensible. The only logical conclusion is to praise and worship Him. The only response is falling to our knees and giving every ounce of ourselves to His will for this life.
I get so sick of people saying God’s grace isn’t evident in the Old Testament. It’s everywhere and it’s constant. Now, of course, Jesus comes later… but in order to fully appreciate the sacrifice we must understand the pursuit. God knew you when you were nothing, and He loved you before your first rebellious act. He’s pursued you for your entire life, even in your most shameful choices. What is your response? Ask yourself. What is a reasonable response to the grace of God?