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the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Judges 2

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

An angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. Jewish commentators generally have supposed the reference is to a prophet or commissioned messenger, whom they conceive to have been Phinehas the high priest. We are inclined to think, from the authoritative tone of his language, that he was "the Angel of the Covenant" (Exodus 23:20; Joshua 5:14); the same who appeared in human form and announced himself captain of the Lord's host. His coming from Gilgal had a special significance, because there the Israelites made a solemn dedication of themselves to God on their entrance into the promised land; and the memory of that religious engagement, which the angel's arrival from Gilgal awakened, gave emphatic force to his rebuke of their apostasy. Bochim, 'the weeping,' was a name bestowed, evidently in allusion to this incident and the profound emotions of the people, on the place, which was at or near Shiloh.

I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

Verse 2

And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?

But ye have not obeyed my voice. The burden of the angel's remonstrance was, that God would inviolably keep His promise; but they, by their flagrant and repeated breaches of their covenant with Him, had forfeited all claim to the stipulated benefits. Having disobeyed the will of God by voluntarily courting the society of idolaters, and placing themselves in the way of temptation, He left them to suffer the punishment of their misdeeds.

Verse 3

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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 4

And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.

The people lifted up their voice, and wept. The angel's expostulation made a deep and painful impression, and they engaged in a solemn act of worship by offering sacrifices, which, though forbidden except at the appointed place of the sanctuary, were in not a few extraordinary instances presented elsewhere without any reprehension (cf. 1 Samuel 7:17; 1 Samuel 9:12; 1 Kings 18:19; 1 Kings 18:32). Besides, this sacrificing might possibly have been at Shiloh. But the reformation was but temporary, and the gratifying promise of a revival which this scene of emotion held out was ere long blasted by speedy and deeper relapses into the guilt of defection and idolatry. This is the hist. praeter. cum vau consec, which does not intimate the sequence of time between this verse and the preceding context. For Joshua had been dead and buried for about twenty-five years.

Verse 5

And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 6

And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.

And when Joshua had let the people go. This passage is a repetition of Josh. 24:39-31 , and it was inserted here to put the reader in possession of the reasons which called forth so strong and severe a rebuke from the angel of the Lord. During the lifetime of the first occupiers, who retained a vivid recollection of all the miracles and judgments which they had witnessed in Egypt and the desert, the national character stood high for faith and piety. But in course of time a new race arose, who were strangers to all the hallowed and solemnizing experience of their fathers - "knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel" - i:e., considered not, at least acted as if they had never heard of the marvelous interpositions of Yahweh in behalf of their nation, and too readily yielded to the corrupting influences of the idolatry that surrounded them.

Verses 7-10

And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 11

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. This chapter, together with the first eight verses of the next, contains a brief but comprehensive summary of the principles developed in the following history; and an attentive consideration of them, therefore, is of the greatest importance to a right understanding of the strange and varying phases of Israelite history from the death of Joshua until the establishment of the monarchy.

Served Baalim. The plural is used, to include all the gods of the country, the Phoenician idolatry being the prevalent superstition of Syria.

Verse 12

And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 13

And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

Ashtaroth - also a plural word, denoting all the female divinities, especially Astarte, the Syrian Venus, whose rites were celebrated by the most gross and revolting impurities. 'In every case where the Israelites acted thus, God revoked His promise. The covenant for the time was in abeyance. Wherever it is said that the people did evil in the sight of the Lord, by worshipping strange gods, then also it is declared how God took from them the dominion of Palestine, and sold them into the hands of their enemies' ('Israel after the Flesh,' p.

25). In fact, they were mere children in religious knowledge and moral feeling; hence, the special dispensation of Providence exercised toward Israel at this period was adapted to a people infantine or childish in character and conduct.

Verse 14

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.

The anger of the Lord was hot against Israel - adversities in close and rapid succession befell them. But all these calamities were designed only as chastisements, a course of correctional discipline by which God brought His people to see and repent of their errors; for, as they returned to faith and allegiance he "raised up judges" (Judges 2:16) [ shopÂȘTiym (H8199), rulers, chiefs] from Joshua to Samuel.

Verse 15

Whithersoever 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.

Which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. The judges who governed Israel were strictly God's vicegerents in the government of the people, He being the supreme ruler. These who were thus elevated retained the dignity, at first apparently during the public crisis only, but afterward so long as they lived; but there was no regular, unbroken succession of judges until the days of Samuel, who had transmitted the judicial office as hereditary to his sons. Individuals, prompted by the inward irresistible impulse of God's Spirit, when they witnessed the depressed state of their country, were roused to achieve its deliverance. It was usually accompanied by a special call; and the people, seeing them endowed with extraordinary courage or strength, accepted them as delegates of heaven, and submitted to their sway. Frequently they were appointed only for a particular district, and their authority extended no further than over the people whose interests they were commissioned to protect. They were without pomp, equipage, or emoluments attached to the office. They had no power to make laws, because these were given by God; nor to explain them, because that was the province of the priests; but they were officially upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers of all crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant vices. The name Shophetim was probably borrowed from their Canaanite or Phoenician neighbours. The Carthaginians called such rulers Suffetes.

Verses 17-19

And yet they would not hearken unto their judges but they went a whoring after other gods and bowed And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 20

And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;

The Lord ... said, Because ... It is not said through what prophet this announcement was made. Being apparently the same in substance as that at the beginning, spoken by the angel, it is probably to be regarded as a recapitulation by the historian, who, having rehearsed the prophecy, stated its fulfillment in the last verse.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Judges 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/judges-2.html. 1871-8.
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