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Bible Commentaries

Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books

Judges 2

Verses 1-5

The angel of the Lord came to the people and told them he would no longer fight for them because they had failed to follow his directions. They had made covenants with the people in direct violation of his will. This despite the fact that he had brought them out of Egypt as promised. Now, the people remaining in the land would become a snare to God's people. The place where they heard this was named Bochim, which means "Weeping" ( Jdg_2:1-5 ).


The death of Joshua and his generation brought a great change in Israel. They knew the Lord and his powerful working in behalf of his people in leading them out of Egyptian bondage, through the wilderness and in conquest of the promised land. However, it appears they failed to tell the next generation of the Lord's wonderful love (compare Deu_6:1-9 ), because the text plainly says they did not know the Lord or the powerful works he did for his chosen people ( Jdg_2:7-10 ).

Baal was the primary male deity of the Canaanites, worshiped as the god of the sun and source of all physical life. His name is often attached to some other name to designate the particular area worshipping him. Baalim is the plural of Baal as Ashtaroth is the plural of the goddess Ashtoreth. She was the moon goddess who roughly corresponded with the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Ironically, one could serve Baal and the true God at the same time as far as the Canaanites were concerned because they believed in numerous deities. To serve the true God, however, required forsaking all other gods ( Exo_20:3 ; Deu_6:10-25 ; Deu_13:6-18 ). Israel failed to realize the danger in following other gods and is described as lying down to prostitute herself with them ( Jdg_2:11-13 ). God is often pictured as the husband of Israel in the Old Testament and the church is Christ's bride in the New Testament. To worship other gods is to commit spiritual fornication ( Hos_2:2-13 ; 2Co_11:2 ; Jam_4:4 ).

If God failed to punish those who rebelled against his will, he would cease to be righteous and, therefore, cease to be God ( Psa_89:14 ). This is why God had to deliver Israel into the hands of the spoilers ( Jdg_2:14-15 ). The chosen people could no longer stand before their enemies but ran from them because God was not on their side ( Lev_26:17 ; Lev_26:36-39 ; Deu_28:25-26 ). This is in sad contrast to the great promise God had made to them in reference to their ability to conquer their enemies if they remained faithful ( Lev_26:3-8 ). However, it should be noted the promise had an "if" clause all along and was contingent on their keeping God's commandments.

Just because God punished Israel, it cannot be said he ceased to love them. In fact, he heard their groanings under the hands of those who oppressed them and sent judges to deliver them out of their hands ( Jdg_2:16 ; Hos_11:8-9 ). It is unfortunate that Israel did not learn from their punishment. When the judge died they went back into idolatry with a greater zeal than their fathers had pursued it prior to the time God let an enemy put them in subjection ( Jdg_2:17-19 ; Isa_63:7-10 ; 2Pe_2:20-22 ).

The repeated rebellion of his chosen people led God to say he would cease driving the nations out of the promised land. Instead, they would remain to test whether God's people would be faithful to him or continue to worship false gods ( Jdg_2:20-23 ). Clarke writes, "These words are spoken after the manner of men; and the metaphor is taken from the case of a master or father, who distrusts the fidelity or obedience of his servant or son, and places him in such circumstances that, by his good or evil conduct, he may justify his suspicions, or give him proofs of his fidelity."

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Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Judges 2". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". 2014.