Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
We are taking food to Ukrainians still living near the front lines. You can help by getting your church involved.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Judges 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Chapter 2

So in chapter two we read,

AND the angel of the LORD came from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and brought you into the land which I sware to your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of the land; ye shall throw down their altars: but you have not obeyed my voice: why have you done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it shall come to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words to all the children of Israel, the people lifted up their voices, and wept. And they called the name of the place Bochim: [which means weepers] and they sacrificed unto the LORD ( Judges 2:1-5 ).

So, the angel of the Lord came and said, "You failed. God said He would never break His covenant with you." But they broke the covenant. God is always faithful to His side of the covenant. It is man who breaks the covenant with God, not God who breaks the covenant with man. No man can ever say "God broke His covenant with me." Not so. Man is guilty of breaking his covenant with God, his part of the covenant with God, but God doesn't break His covenant with man.

And so the angel said, "You've broken the covenant. You made the league, you've made the treaties, you've left their places of worship; their altars, their idols. And now they're gonna be like traps, snares to you." And the people wept, they sacrificed unto God, but they didn't change. Now that, that is so typical of so many people today. God lays a heavy trip on them. "Oh, oh I'm so sorry God. I'm so sorry." And they weep but they don't change. So there's very little value to the repentance.

There seems to be a vast difference between sorrow and true repentance. Many people, out of sorrow weep, truly weep because of sorrow. But it doesn't really indicate always that there is repentance just because you're weeping. I don't suppose there's a single man in the county jail that isn't sorry for the crime that got him there, but not necessarily sorry that he did it, but sorry for the mistake that got him caught. So you weep over your apprehension. You weep over the fact that I've been apprehended but you don't really have a true repentance for the things that you were doing. They're released. They go back out and do the things again, so often. Means there's no repentance.

The children of Israel, they wept. Looking at it you say, "Oh my, isn't that wonderful? They're weeping. God got to them." No, He didn't. It's just a surface emotional experience. They're gonna wail and weep for a while and go right back out and do the same thing over again. They're still not gonna drive out the enemy. They're still not going to obey the voice of God. They're gonna continue in their same path. So there is a form of religion, a form of godliness but no true repentance. And that same condition continues to exist to the present day.

Now, these people that they left in the land did become a snare that God said did not destroy became as thorns. And soon we find them worshipping these gods that they left in the land. And it was a constant problem through their history is their worship of the gods of the land and the leaving of the true and the living God and worshipping these other gods.

So that Jeremiah cried out unto the people, "Have you ever seen anything like this in the history of mankind where a people will turn from their God, even which are not gods, to worship another God?" And yet God cried, "My people have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and have hewn out for themselves cisterns, cisterns that can hold no water." The lament of God over Israel and it was their failure in the beginning. Had these forefathers been obedient to God, they could have spared the nation countless misery, countless wolves but their disobedience only opened the door for a future of calamity.

And so the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all they days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all of the great works of the LORD, which he did in Israel. But Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, a hundred and ten years of age. And they buried him there in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash... And there arose another generation after them: [That is after Joshua's generation] which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and they bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. [the goddess of heaven or Astarte of the Greeks or Ices, the female deity of ancient history] ( Judges 2:7-13 ).

Now, it is tragic that somehow the parents failed to communicate unto their children the power and the work of God. The generation died off, there arose another generation it declares, "After them which did not know Jehovah nor yet the works that He has done for their fathers in Egypt."

Now the purpose of the Passover was to yearly open the door of opportunity for them to relate to the children of Israel God's great deliverance out of the hand of the Egyptians. In fact, there were questions designed in the Passover service that the children would ask that would give the parents the opportunity to rehearse God's great power. What makes this night different from all other nights in the year? And they were able to rehearse to their children. But evidently they had ceased even observing the Passover, they had ceased during, you know, keeping the various feasts of the Lord. And where the Lord said, "Tell your children that they may tell their children that they may tell their children," it broke down and the parents were not faithful in imparting the truths of God to their children.

It is so tragic, that rarely does a powerful work of God continue into a second generation. So it is aptly said, "God has no grandchildren." You can't have that kind of a distant relationship with God. Each one must have his own personal relationship with God. And the relationship that my parents had is not sufficient for me and the relationship that I have isn't sufficient for my children. It is important that I relate to my children the power of God and the works of God, in order that they might develop their own relationship with God so that after I am gone they will understand and know God and continue in their relationship with God, and they to their children.

Growing up in the depression years was not easy. We were deprived a lot of things. And it is interesting how that we don't want our children to have to learn the same deprivations that we had. But the tragic thing is our children growing in this affluent society never know the joy and the blessing of having to trust God for the evening meal, having to pray for a pair of shoes, having to believe God for the rent because we don't want them to have to experience those same hardships that we experienced. And yet there was tremendous value in those experiences because it was there that we learned the faithfulness of God. We learned that God would provide.

As parents we are responsible to lay a foundation with our children so that they have a thorough understanding of God, the works of God, the power of God. For there are powerful forces that are vying for their attention, for their love, for their worship. And if we do not lay a solid foundation within their hearts, they are apt as the children of Israel did, to turn away from God and begin to worship Baalim, Ashtaroth and some of the other gods of the world. They forsook the Lord and served Baal and Ashtaroth. What a tragedy.

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, he delivered them into the hands of the spoilers that spoiled them, he sold them to the hand of their enemies around about them, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. And wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed ( Judges 2:14-15 ).

God said, "Even as my hand will be upon you for good, if you turn against Me and worship other gods, so will my hand be upon you for evil." God kept His word. Now, I'm glad that God keeps His word sometimes. Other times it isn't so good for me that God keeps His word but is always good for me that He does because it brings me back to Him. But the faithfulness of God to keep His word is something that we want to remember because even as God has promised blessings, He has also promised curses; blessings upon those that will obey, curses upon them who will forsake Him.

And so verse sixteen establishes this era of judges.

Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not always hearken to the judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves to them: and turned quickly out of the way of which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. So when the LORD raised them up judges, the LORD was with the judge, and he delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of the oppressors that vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their forefathers, in following other gods to serve them, and bowed down to them: they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn ways ( Judges 2:16-19 ).

Now this is just a brief summary of the book of Judges. God raised up judges. During the period of the judges they would be delivered from the oppression of the enemy, but then they would turn away from God and go right back to their evil ways, the worshipping of the false gods and all. And they would go into oppression again and God would raise up another judge and the story is repeated over and over and over through the book of Judges. When will people learn? You know, you look at this sad situation and you wonder what's wrong with you people? Why can't you see it? Yet it is a tragic pattern that they followed over and over again.

So the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; he said, Because the people had transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, they have not hearkened to my voice; I will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way for the LORD or not. Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out ( Judges 2:20-23 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Judges 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/judges-2.html. 2014.
Ads FreeProfile