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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Judges 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5

Judges - Chapter 2

Angel Visit, vs. 1-5

Verses 1-3 express a cause, while verses 4-5 describe an effect. The angel’s visit was provoked by the many failures of the tribes with regard to extermination of the pagan inhabitants of the land of Canaan. Gilgal was in the Jordan valley, where Israel had first encamped upon coming into the land (Joshua 4:19). Bochim was not far from Gilgal, but its exact location is now unknown. Some suggest that it was between Bethel and Shiloh. Perhaps the coming of the angel by way of Gilgal was a reminder to Israel how the Lord had brought them into the land.

First, the angel enumerates the Lord’s care for Israel. He had brought them out of Egypt; gave them the land He swore to give their fathers; promised never to break His covenant with them. Second are stated the Lord’s requirements of Israel. They were to make no league with the inhabitants of the land; they were to destroy the pagan altars; but they had disobeyed the Lord’s voice. Third, the Lord will let their own breach of the covenant bring their judgment on them. He will no longer drive out their enemies; the pagans will be frustrating thorns in their sides; their false gods will be a snare to their downfall.

Israel had entered into league with the Canaanites by not driving them out. As long as the Canaanites remained in the land they would erect their altars, and many of the Israelites would join their worship. So shortly after their solemn promise to Joshua and the Lord (Joshua, chapter 24) they have gone into apostasy. This was dreadful news, and the place where the angel delivered the message got its name from the event. Bochim means the place of weeping. It is good that some of them could still weep over conditions, for that indicated hope still for them. There the weepers sacrificed to the Lord and tried to get back into His favor.

Verses 6-10

Influence of Joshua, vs. 6-10

With verse six the inspired author goes back to the days of Joshua to show what conditions in Israel had been, which had been so altered by the time of the visit of the angel to Bochim. The people had gone to their inheritances from the presence of Joshua and had continued to serve the Lord. So great had been the influence of Joshua that faithfulness continued as long as his contemporaries among the elders lived. The reference to Joshua’s death and burial corresponds with the account of Joshua 24:28-31. The difference in the name, Timnath-heres instead of -serah, is due to the Hebrew vowel pointing.

The problem in Israel occurred with the rise of the first generation born in the land. When the scripture states that it was a generation which knew not the Lord it speaks in a general sense. It means that those who did not know the Lord were the ones in power, because they were in the majority. The reference to their not knowing the works which the Lord had done for Israel not only means that they were not alive when the Lord did these miraculous things, but they also had no respect for what He had done either. A lot of children of Christian parents are still like that today, (Ephesians 6:1-3).

Verses 11-15

Turning from God, vs. 11-15

The gods of the Canaanites were called Baal, which means lord. The plural is Baalim, the "im" being the plural ending of masculine nouns in Hebrew. There is no connection to be made with the false prophet

Balaam. They had baals for everything, the olive groves, vineyards, cattle, even flies, The Ashtaroth were the feminine gods, the "oth" being the plural feminine Hebrew ending. These were the nude images of the goddess Astarte. The Canaanites erected elaborate temples and set aside priests and priestesses for these. Prostitution and sex orgies were common parts of the worship. This is what the Israelites, the majority, had turned to, (Romans 1:28).

No wonder the anger of the Lord waxed hot against them. They were doing exactly what He had warned them not to do. Since they had turned from God and refused Him, the Lord left them alone to suffer the consequences. They fell into the hand of spoilers and were subjected to some of the things to which they had subjected the tributary Canaanites. When they attempted to resist it was ineffectual, for from the material standpoint they were weaker than the Canaanites. They no longer had the Lord to fight for them. He allowed to happen to them exactly what He had sworn to them would occur for their disobedience.

Verses 16-19

operation of the Judgeship, vs. 16-19

Here is another instance of the longsuffering and mercy of God to His people, even under the law, in the Old Testament. In spite of their sinfulness and utter disrespect for Him the Lord sought opportunity to restore His people. At such times He raised up godly men, here called judges, literally saviors. These persons portrayed the Savior of the world, whom God in mercy sent when men were absolutely estranged from Him, to provide their atonement, (Galatians 4:1-5).

These judges would deliver the people from the spoilers, but then the people would forget God again and would no longer listen to the judge the Lord raised up to lead them. They would go right back to the corrupt practices of the Canaanites, and generation by generation became worse and worse. Every time they would eventually get in such desperate circumstances they would groan and cry to the Lord, and He would hear and rescue them. Invariably they would go back to bow before the idols as soon as things were better again, or when their judge died. "They ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way."

Verses 20-23

Proverbs of Israel, vs. 20-23

The hot anger of the Lord was due to the people’s transgression of His covenant to which they had agreed. He had warned them of turning from Him, and they had still refused to hearken to Him. Consequently the Lord would not drive out of Canaan any more of the nations which were left therein at the time of Joshua’s death. There would be many things among these people to provoke the Israelites, for they would cling to their pagan ways. Thus they would prove whether Israel would serve the Lord or serve the gods of Canaan. Since Israel must now dwell with the Canaanites it will be seen whether they will be witnesses for the Lord to influence these pagans to turn to God, or whether they will succumb to the pollution of idolatry and themselves be driven out of the land. Verse 23 indicates that the Lord had not hastily driven out the nations so that it might be proven whether the people of Israel truly wished to serve Him and keep His law, (1 John 2:19).

What can we learn 1 from this second chapter of ?Judges 1) We learn that God does not judge without warning His people first; 2) we learn that some people sorrow over evil conditions which bring judgment on their land, while others ignore it; 3) godly men and women have a long­lasting influence in the community where they live; 4) some things happen to prove us before God.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Judges 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/judges-2.html. 1985.
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