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Jdg 2:1 The angel of Yahweh came up from Gilgal to Bochim. He said, I brought you up out of Egypt-
The salvation from the Egyptians was at the Red Sea, long ago (Ex. 14:30). The Israelites were repeatedly reminded of this (Jud. 2:1; 6:8; 10:11). But they failed to perceive that God's actions in history were in fact their personal salvation, an act of grace shown to them also. David grasped that point, and his Psalms often thank God for the exodus, as if it had happened to him personally. But the problem is that Israel like all people tended to only see what was before their face at that moment. They had no sense of God's historical salvation of them, and the guarantee that He would likewise come through for them, if they remained faithful to Him.

And have brought you to the land which I swore to your fathers, and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you-
The promises made to Abraham were made by an Angel. This is implied in the Genesis account and repeated later- e. g. Judges 2:1 describes the Angel which led the people of Israel out of Egypt and into Canaan reminding them of "the covenant which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you". Thus when we read passages talking of the covenant God made with them and with Abraham, let us watch out for further allusions to Angelic work. When we read of God breaking His covenant, are we to understand that the Angels can speak like this, but God Himself doesn’t and can’t? Or that God has such passion and emotion that He can say ‘contradictory’ things like this?

Consider the following examples of God 'repenting'. For each, try to explain it in terms of God Himself changing His mind, and then think how an understanding of Angels could do better: Ex. 4:24; Num. 14:34 AVmg.; Ex. 32:11 mg.; Hos. 12:4; Jud. 2:1 cp. Zech. 11:10,11. If you like this line of approach, consider the following examples, of where 'God' says He won't do something; and then does: Ex. 33:3 cp. 34:9; Dt. 4:31; 31:6,8 cp. 31:17. See on Zech. 11:10,11.

Although the idea of Angels changing their minds has some attraction, my own conviction is that God as it were limits His omniscience and omnipotence in order to enter into real relationship with His people. He has emotions, and speaks in the fire of His wrath, as we do, who are made in His image. And so He utters judgments which by grace He didn't totally follow through on. Perhaps the repentance or intercession of a minority ameliorated His judgments; or perhaps the pole of grace and love is stronger within Him than that of judgment. For mercy rejoices against judgment, even within His personality.

God promised that even if Israel sinned, He would never break His covenant with them (Lev. 26:44; Jud. 2:1). But He did (Zech. 11:10 cp. Jer. 14:21), as witnessed by the termination of the Law of Moses, which was the basis of His covenant with Israel. His love creates yet another Bible paradox. Israel broke the covenant by their disobedience (Lev. 26:15; Dt. 31:16 and many others). God therefore broke His part of the covenant. Yet God made His promises concerning the unbreakable covenant because He chose to speak in words which did not reflect His foreknowledge that Israel would sin. The apparent contradiction is resolvable by realizing that God did not set His mind upon Israel's future apostasy when He made the 'unbreakable' covenant with them. And yet the paradox still ultimately stands; that He broke His covenant with them when they sinned. He worked through this punishment in order to establish an even more gracious new covenant.

Jdg 2:2 and you must make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; break down their altars’. But you have not listened to My voice; why have you done this?-
As discussed on :1, their covenant with the inhabitants of the land was an undoing and abrogation of the exclusive covenant with Yahweh which they had signed up to. And yet He still remained in covenant. We read that the Israelites 'dwelt among' the Canaanites in some areas, and this would have been as a result of making a covenant with those "inhabitants of this land" (Jud. 2:2), which in turn abrogated their exclusive covenant with Yahweh (:1). The existence of pagan place names throughout the record of the conquest, e.g. Bath Dagon, house of Dagon, Beth Shemesh, house of the sun god, all demonstrates that they didn't break down the altars.

Jdg 2:3 Therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out from before you, but they shall be thorns in your sides-
I noted on Jud. 1 that many of the towns which weren't subjugated by the tribes were on the very edges of their tribal cantons. They were therefore literally thorns in their sides (Jud. 2:3).

And their gods will be a snare to you-
Twice in 1 Timothy, Paul speaks about a snare; the snare of the devil (1 Tim. 3:7), and the snare of wanting wealth (6:9). The desire for wealth in whatever form is the very epitome of the devil, our inherent sin which we must struggle against. The idea of a snare is that it results in a sudden and unexpected destruction. The unexpectedness of the destruction should set us thinking: surely the implication is that those who are materialistic don't realize that in fact this is their besetting sin, and therefore their rejection in the end because of it will be so tragically unexpected. It's rather like pride; if you're proud and you don't know it, then you really are proud. And if we're materialistic and don't know it, we likewise really have a problem. The idea of riches being a snare connects with copious OT references to idols as Israel's perpetual snare (Ex. 23:33; Dt. 7:16; Jud. 2:3; 8:27; Ps. 106:36; Hos. 5:1). Paul's point is surely that the desire of wealth is the equivalent of OT idolatry.

Jdg 2:4 When the angel of Yahweh spoke these words to all the children of Israel, the people lifted up their voice and wept-
As in their response to Joshua's speech challenging their idolatry, we rather wait with expectant hope to read that like Jacob's sons, they bring out their idols and bury or burn them. If only we could achieve a second naivety in reading the records, we would at this point be on the edge of our seats, waiting for them to now ditch their idols. But we read only of their tears, the emotion of a religious moment, rather than any lasting response to the blunt warning they had been given. 

Jdg 2:5 They called the name of that place Bochim; and they sacrificed there to Yahweh-
We notice that they had the opportunity to rename or name places in Israel. But they retained so many place names which have clear associations with Baal and Dagon. As noted on :4, they went through the motions of religious worship and repentance- but there is no record of them actually ditching their idols.

Jdg 2:6 Now when Joshua had sent the people away, the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance to possess the land-

They were to quit their idolatry and then possess the land in God's strength. They went forward to possess the land, but with no record of having ditched their idols. "Drive out" is s.w. "possess". We must note the difference between the  Canaanite peoples and their kings being "struck" and their land "taken" by Joshua-Jesus; and the people of Israel permanently taking possession. This is the difference between the Lord's victory on the cross, and our taking possession of the Kingdom. Even though that possession has been "given" to us. The word used for "possession" is literally 'an inheritance'. The allusion is to the people, like us, being the seed of Abraham. The Kingdom was and is our possession, our inheritance- if we walk in the steps of Abraham. But it is one thing to be the seed of Abraham, another to take possession of the inheritance; and Israel generally did not take possession of all the land (Josh. 11:23 13:1; 16:10; 18:3; 23:4). The language of inheritance / possession is applied to us in the New Testament (Eph. 1:11,14; Col. 3:24; Acts 20:32; 26:18; 1 Pet. 1:4 etc.). Israel were promised: "You shall possess it" (Dt. 30:5; 33:23). This was more of a command than a prophecy, for sadly they were "given" the land but did not "possess" it. They were constantly encouraged in the wilderness that they were on the path to possessing the land (Dt. 30:16,18; 31:3,13; 32:47), but when they got there they didn't possess it fully.

Jdg 2:7 The people served Yahweh all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of Yahweh that He had worked for Israel-
As discussed on Josh. 24, I suggest that the 'service of Yahweh' in view here refers to the operation of the tabernacle rituals. For 'serving Yahweh' can be a technical term which refers to this and nothing else. This is not to say that they were faithful nor exclusively committed to Him. Joshua in Josh. 24:19 had said that they could not 'serve Yahweh' acceptably, unless they ditched their idols. Which they didn't. The people understood serving Yahweh as doing the rituals of His religion, whereas Joshua understood it as serving Him exclusively with no place in their hearts for any idolatry. 

Even when God punished Israel, He seems to later almost take the blame for their judgments; thus He says that He left some of the Canaanite nations in the land to teach Israel battle experience (Jud. 3:2 NIV). His grace is so positive about them in the way He writes about them. Yet elsewhere the presence of those remaining nations is clearly linked to Israel's faithlessness, and their survival in the land was actually part of God's punishment of Israel. He almost excuses Israel's apostasy by saying that they had not seen the great miracles of the Exodus (Jud. 2:7). "The portion of the children of Judah was too much for them" (Josh. 19:9) almost implies God made an error in allocating them too much; when actually the problem was that they lacked the faith to drive out the tribes living there. Likewise " the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them" (Josh. 19:47), although actually "The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain: for they would not suffer them to come down to the valley" (Jud. 1:34). When Dan fought against Leshem, this one act of obedience is so magnified in Josh. 19:47 to sound as if in their zeal to inherit their territory they actually found they had too little land and therefore attacked Leshem. But actually it was already part of their allotted inheritance. Yet God graciously comments: "all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel" (Jud. 18:1).

Jdg 2:8 Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died, being one hundred and ten years old-
Numbers and ages in Hebrew literature are not necessarily to be taken literally. This was the age at which Joseph is recorded as reaching (Gen. 50:26), and we will read in Josh. 24:32 of the burial of Joseph's bones at Shechem, at the same time as Joshua is buried. We are clearly invited to see a connection between the two men, both of them maintaining spirituality and hope in the Kingdom whilst surrounded by unspirituality and terrible failure by God's people to realize their potential.

Jdg 2:9 They buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnah Heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash-
"In the border" may mean that they believed even then that one day he would be resurrected, and then immediately enter into his eternal inheritance. LXX adds: "There they put with him into the tomb in which they buried him, the knives of stone with which he circumcised the children of Israel in Galgala, when he brought them out of Egypt, as the Lord appointed them; and there they are to this day".

Jdg 2:10 Also all that generation were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who didn’t know Yahweh, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel-
The "fathers" served other gods (Josh. 24:2), but the Bible describes death as a gathering to the fathers. Clearly the differentiation between good and bad men is not made at death. Death is unconsciousness, and the ultimate division and reward will be at the return of the Lord Jesus and the judgment seat He will then set up. 

Jdg 2:11 The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh and served the Baals-
Serving Yahweh was to be exclusive. Any worship of Baals was to break that exclusive covenant they had made with Yahweh and therefore to forsake Yahweh (:12,13). But 'forsaking Yahweh' is how He saw it. They themselves never became atheists or formally abrogated their relationship with Yahweh. They believed that they could worship Yahweh through worshipping Baal, and that they were doing nothing wrong to Him by this infidelity.

"The children of Israel did evil in the sight of Yahweh" is a refrain which occurs seven times in Judges (Jud. 2:11; 3:7,12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1), recalling how Israel both over history and in the last days were to be punished "seven times" for their sins (Lev. 26:23,24).

Jdg 2:12 They forsook Yahweh the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods of the peoples who were around them and bowed themselves down to them-
See on :11.

And they provoked Yahweh to anger-
God can be grieved [s.w. 'provoke to anger']. He has emotions, and His potential foreknowledge doesn't mean that these feelings are not legitimate. They are presented as occurring in human time, as responses to human behaviour. This is the degree to which He has accommodated Himself to human time-space limits, in order to fully enter relationship and experience with us. As He can limit His omnipotence, so God can limit His omniscience, in order to feel and respond along with us. 

Jdg 2:13 They forsook Yahweh and served Baal and the Ashtaroth-
As explained on :11, this was how Yahweh felt. They themselves didn't think they had forsaken Him. The Bible at times speaks from God's viewpoint, at others from the perspective of the people whose actions are being described. To forsake Yahweh was to break covenant with Him (Dt. 31:16,17). Israel did forsake Yahweh (Jud. 2:13), but still He remained faithful to them, as Hosea remained faithful to Gomer despite her infidelity to their marriage covenant. Instead of forsaking them as He threatened, He instead by grace sent them saviours, judges, looking forward to His grace in sending the Lord Jesus, Yah's salvation.

The punishment for forsaking Yahweh was that "Yahweh will send on you cursing, confusion and rebuke in all that you put your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the evil of your doings by which you have forsaken Him. Yahweh will make the pestilence cleave to you until He has consumed you from off the land into which you now go in to possess it" (Dt. 28:20,21). We expect these things to therefore happen at this time; but we note God's amazing patience and gentleness in not bringing these things immediately, and instead raising up judges as saviours for this wayward people. 

Jdg 2:14 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel and He delivered them into the hands of raiders who plundered them, and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around so that they could no longer stand before their enemies-
As noted on :13, this was a very restrained response from Yahweh, and not actually according to the judgments threatened for forsaking Him in Dt. 28:20,21. The judgments of Dt. 29:23-27 were likewise the prophesied outcome of Israel forsaking Yahweh; and this too didn't happen at this time, by grace alone: "The whole land is sulphur, salt and burning, that it is not sown nor giving produce and no grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which Yahweh overthrew in His anger and in his wrath. They and all the nations shall say, Why has Yahweh done thus to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean? Then men shall say, Because they forsook the covenant of Yahweh the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshipped them, gods that they didn’t know and that He had not given to them. Therefore the anger of Yahweh was kindled against this land, to bring on it all the curse that is written in this book". But instead we are to read that although God punished them, He raised up saviours to save them from the judgments; and this looks forward to His grace in the Lord Jesus, 'Yah's salvation'.

Jdg 2:15 Wherever they went the hand of Yahweh was against them for evil, as Yahweh had spoken and as Yahweh had sworn to them; and they were very distressed-
See on :18. But as noted above, He did not bring upon them all the things which He had spoken, in wrath He remembered mercy. This "distress" is the word used of the distress of the historical Jacob / Israel (Gen. 32:7), when like Israel he was confronted with his sins and led to cast himself upon God's grace.

Jdg 2:16 Yahweh raised up judges who saved them from those who plundered them-
The judgments for forsaking Yahweh were of total destruction- see on :13,14. We expect these things to therefore happen at this time; but we note God's amazing patience and gentleness in not bringing these things immediately, and instead raising up judges as saviours for this wayward people. And those saviours look forward to the Lord Jesus.

Jdg 2:17 Yet they didn’t listen to their judges; for they played the prostitute after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly out of the way in which their fathers walked, who had obeyed the commandments of Yahweh. They didn’t do so-
Israel is so often set up as the bride of God (Is. 54:5; 61:10; 62:4,5; Jer. 2:2; 3:14; Hos. 2:19,20). This is why any infidelity to God is spoken of as adultery (Mal. 2:11; Lev. 17:7; 20:5,6; Dt. 31:16; Jud. 2:17; 8:27,33; Hos. 9:1). The very language of Israel 'selling themselves to do iniquity' uses the image of prostitution. This is how God feels our even temporary and fleeting acts and thoughts of unfaithfulness. This is why God is jealous for us (Ex. 20:15; 34:14; Dt. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15)- because His undivided love for us is so exclusive. He expects us to be totally His.

Jdg 2:18 When Yahweh raised up judges for them-
God Himself 'arose and saved' Israel from Egypt (Ps. 76:9, s.w. "raised up a saviour"), and the phrase is also used of Moses in Ex. 2:17. But the people didn't want this radical deliverance from their enemies, because like the generation saved from Egypt, they were with their enemies in their hearts, and worshipped their gods as Israel had taken the idols of their Egyptian enemies with them, through the Red Sea (Ez. 20:17). So the potential possible in these raised up saviours / judges was never totally realized.  

Yahweh was with the judge and saved them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge, for it grieved Yahweh because of their distress because of the oppression-
The hand of their enemies was effectively Yahweh's hand (:15). Yet God's grace worked as it were against His own judgment. We see here the tension between mercy and judgment deep within the personality of God; and the pole of grace wins out over that of necessary judgment. And this God is our God. "Grieved" is the word for "repent" (as AV); He changed His mind, because He was grieved for them. And so we read in Hos. 11:8 of how His repentings were kindled together deep within Him. 

Jdg 2:19 But when the judge was dead they turned back and behaved more corruptly than their fathers in following other gods to serve them and to bow down to them. They didn’t cease from their evil practices or from their stubborn ways-
The book of Judges reflects this grace of God- showing, incidentally, that grace isn't only a New Testament theme. We are so wrong if we imagine that Judges is all about a cycle of sin, judgment, repentance, raising up a judge-saviour, salvation and restoration to God. For one thing, the cycles are never the same- for God is in passionate relationship with His people, and passionate love doesn't work to the 'same ole same ole' plan every time. Time and again we find that Israel sin, do not repent (Jud. 2:19)- and yet all the same God sends them a Saviour. They are saved without repentance, simply because God pities them (Jud. 2:15,16). They do the very things which God predicted in Deuteronomy would result in Him breaking the covenant with them (see on :13,14)- and yet He does not break His side of the covenant (Jud. 3:1). In all this we see an altogether profound grace, arising out of God's passionate love for His people. We simply don't 'get' how passionate is God's love for us!

After each judge they did "more corruptly" than the previous generation. We get the same impression in the record of the kings. It all gives the impression of an ever downward slide into the final apostacy which elicited the captivities in Assyria and Babylon. These are therefore presented as only happening after an amazing display of patient grace over many generations.

Jdg 2:20 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel and He said, Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to Me-
To keep covenant was thus paralleled with listening / being obedient to God. The covenant was broken, because they had broken it rather than God. And yet for generations (see on :19), He still kept His side of it. Josh. 23:16 had said that when Israel "transgressed [My] covenant", then they would "perish quickly from off the good land". But as noted on :19, this didn't happen "quickly". God's grace waited many generations before exiling them from their land. He changed His mind, or 'repented', because of His grace; see on :18.

Jdg 2:21 I also will no longer drive out from before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died-
Israel were told to work with God to drive out the nations who lived in Canaan, because if those people remained there, they would be a spiritual temptation for Israel. But Israel sinned, they willfully followed the idols of Canaan rather than the God of Israel. And therefore God said that He would not help Israel in driving out the nations any more (Jud. 2:20,21). It was as if He was confirming them in their desire to succumb to the temptations of the surrounding nations. He as it were 'led them into temptation', and we are to pray in the words of the Lord's prayer that we are not led as they were.

Jdg 2:22 So by them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of Yahweh to walk therein as their fathers did, or not-
As discussed on :21, the test of Israel was really leading them further down the downward spiral which they themselves wanted. We note Yahweh graciously considered that "their fathers" had "kept the way of Yahweh", clearly alluding to Abraham and the patriarchs (Gen. 18:19). But this too was an imputation of righteousness by grace, for the patriarchs often strayed from that covenant, Jacob especially.  

Jdg 2:23 So Yahweh left those nations without driving them out quickly and didn’t deliver them into the hand of Joshua-
Josh. 23:16 had said that when Israel "transgressed [My] covenant", then they would "perish quickly from off the good land". But as noted on :19, this didn't happen "quickly" when they now transgressed the covenant. God's grace waited many generations before exiling them from their land. Instead, God puts it so positively by saying that He didn't drive out the nations "quickly". The positive nature of His grace is seen all through this sad record of human failure.

The implications that we should respond ‘quickly’ to the Gospel surely mean that we should not have any element of indifference in our response to the call of God, and yet the foundations of a true spiritual life cannot be laid hastily. The Father drove out the tribes from Canaan slowly, not immediately- or at least, He potentially enabled this to happen (Jud. 2:23). But Israel were to destroy those tribes “quickly” (Dt. 9:3). Here perhaps we see what is meant- progress is slow but steady in the spiritual life, but there must be a quickness in response to the call of God for action in practice. Compare this with how on one hand, God does not become quickly angry (Ps. 103:8), and yet on the other hand He does  get angry quickly in the sense that He immediately feels and responds to sin (Ps. 2:12); His anger ‘flares up in His face’.

Just as all the animals and everything in the eretz promised to Abraham was 'delivered into the hands' of Noah (s.w. Gen. 9:2), so the nations of that eretz were delivered into the hands of Israel (s.w. Ex. 6:8; 23:31; Dt. 2:24; 3:2,3; 7:24; 21:10; Josh. 2:24; Jud. 1:2). Tragically, like Adam in Eden [perhaps the same eretz promised to Abraham] and Noah in the new, cleansed eretz, Israel didn't realize this potential. What was delivered into the hand of Joshua (Josh. 2:24) actually wasn't delivered into their hand, because they disbelieved (Jud. 2:23); and this looks ahead to the disbelief of so many in the work of the Lord Jesus, who has indeed conquered the Kingdom for us. They considered the promise of the nations being delivered into their hand as somehow open to question, and only a possibility and not at all certain (Jud. 8:7; Num. 21:2 cp. Num. 21:34). Some like Jephthah (s.w. Jud. 11:32; 12:3), Ehud (Jud. 3:10,28), Deborah (Jud. 4:14), Gideon (Jud. 7:15) did, for a brief historical moment; but as individuals, and their victories were not followed up on. Instead they were dominated by the territory. And so instead, they were delivered into the hands of their enemies within the eretz (s.w. Lev. 26:25; Jud. 13:1).