The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Judges 2

Jdg 2:1

Jdg 2: "The sad circumstances of a nation which had lost its spirituality is again recorded in these chapters. We are again reminded that we read of men of like passions with ourselves. Its display of human passion, acts of violence, and imperfections come as a shock. It demonstrates that though the Truth is divine, the professors of it are all too human. The Sacred Historian has faithfully recorded the imperfections, barbarities and irregularities of His people -- it is our wisdom to no less faithfully study them (2Ti 3:16). In Jdg 2, Israel are reminded that they have not carried out the terms of the divine covenant. So there is [1] a warning at the weepers (vv 1-5). Then [2] the decline of the new generation (vv 6-10), showing that there is little difference in human nature from that of the generation in the wilderness. [3] Apostasy in Israel (vv 11-15), in which both the severity and goodness of Yahweh is shown. [4] Divine judgment is expressed (vv 16-19). [5] Divine Anger expressed (vv 20-23). Abram was called out of the nations; Israel sold themselves back!" (GEM).

ANGEL: "Messenger". Perhaps Joshua himself (Jos 23; 24), with his final warnings to the nation (cp Joshua in v 6 here).

"Who was this 'angel' of the Lord? Was it the angel of the covenant who had given guidance to Joshua (eg, Josh 5:13)? Was it Eleazer or Phinehas the high priest (see Mal 2:7)? Was it some unnamed prophet (cp Mal 3:6)? Or was it Joshua himself, and this remonstration a condensed version of the exhortation he addressed to the elders of Israel at Shechem (Josh 24)? In favour of this idea is the fact that Jdg 1 summarises much in the second half of the Book of Joshua, and then Jdg 2:1-10 would correspond with the end of that book. There is a good deal of similarity between the final exhortations of Joshua (in Jdg 23; 24) and this warning in Judges, so that the latter may readily be taken as a condensed version of the former. There is also the continuation in v 6: 'And when Joshua had sent the people away...', as though defining here who the 'messenger' was (cp Josh 1:28).

But in that case, why 'the angel of the Lord'? Surely because Joshua was deliberately echoing the warning given to Israel by Moses about the Angel of the Covenant in their midst. This is readily perceptible in Exo 23:20,23,24,32" (WJR).

Similar exhortations from a prophet come in Jdg 6:8..; 10:11...

BOKIM: Sig "weeping". Location unsure. Could be Shiloh (WJdg 10).

"Then, where was Bochim, the place of Israel's weeping, for Bochim was an eponym added because of this special occasion?

"One would naturally assume Shiloh, the place of the sanctuary of the Lord (cp Josh 18:1). LXX adds 'Bethel', but this would not necessarily rule out Shiloh, for it was in truth the House of God. But on other occasions not long after this Bethel was a centre of assembly, sacrifice, and repentant weeping (Jdg 20:18; 21:2,4 -- Shiloh being ruled out, here, as being too remote). Also, there at Bethel was the altar of Abraham and Jacob, and close by it 'the oak of weeping' (Gen 12:3,4; 28:11,22; 35:7,8)" (WJR).

I WILL NEVER BREAK MY COVENANT WITH YOU: But God cannot keep His covenant with a people who are set on disowning it; ct Zec 11:10.

Jdg 2:2

Cp also Deu 7:2,5.

Jdg 2:3

I WILL NOT DRIVE THEM OUT...: "You would not, therefore I will not"; cp Rom 1:28.

Jdg 2:5

SACRIFICES: Sacrifice is the only poss way of redeeming what has been lost by disobedience. Tears that are not followed by self-denying deeds are not very hot (Psa 51:17).

Jdg 2:8

// Jos 24:28-31. So here marks the real beginning of the Book of Judges.

"This section concludes with a repetition of the account given in Joshua of the death and burial of the great leader, who shares with Moses, David and the Messiah the high title of 'Servant of the Lord'. They buried him in his own inheritance in Timnath-serah, within sight of the location of his mighty victory on the day when the sun stood still" (WJR).

Jdg 2:9

TIMNATH HERES: "In Jdg 2:9 the name is given as Timnath-heres (the sun!). Is this just a textual corruption, or was the name changed to remind the people of that day of outstanding triumph [ie, when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still]?" (WJR).

Possible suggestion of resurrection?: "It [the sun] rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other" (Psa 19:6).

Jdg 2:13

THEY FORSOOK HIM: The root cause: a neglect of Deu 4:9.

BAAL AND THE ASHTORETHS: "The names are given as samples of the male and female deities Israel became prone to reverence -- Baal (Lord, Master), an equivalent of Adonai, also means Husband, and thus the name served to emphasise the sexual character of the rites practised. Properly understood, the name could be used significantly of the God of Israel (eg, Jer 31:32). Yet the time came when this use of it was proscribed because of its evil associations (Hos 2:16,17)... 'Ashtaroth' (KJV) is the plural (or, rather, dual) form of the name Ishtar, Venus, with reference to the appearances of that bright shining planet as both morning and evening star. The fuller title Ashtaroth-Karnaim (of the two horns) suggests that even without telescopes they knew of the crescent appearance of Venus. This name Ashtaroth is not to be confused with the Asherah (plural: Asheroth), commonly translated 'the groves'. These were phallic symbols of the kind which have survived as a feature of eastern architecture. The name means The Way to Happiness. It serves to illustrate that the modern glorification of sex is only a revival in more sophisticated form of the old nature religions, which rotted the nation life of Israel. When the records say that Israel 'went a-whoring after other gods', this is more than a mere figure of speech. 'Ships sink not by being in the water, but by the water getting into them,' writes Fausset trenchantly. God 'of our pleasant vices makes instruments to scourge us' " (WJR).

Jdg 2:14

IN HIS ANGER: Psa 106:34-39 is followed by vv 40-42. Cp v 20 here and also Jdg 3:8.

THEIR ENEMIES ALL AROUND: See Lesson, Nations "round about".

Jdg 2:15

JUST AS HE HAD SWORN TO THEM: Lev 26:37, and ct Josh 1:9.

Jdg 2:18

THE LORD HAD COMPASSION: The AV has "it repented the LORD", which is correct.

Jdg 2:20

THIS NATION: "This people" (KJV). A phrase common in OT as a term of contempt and reprobation; eg, Exo 32:9. More so here because the usual "amim" is replaced by "goi", as though Israel had become Gentile.

Jdg 2:21

I WILL NO LONGER DRIVE OUT BEFORE THEM ANY...: Ct Deu 31:3; 7:23; 9:3; Josh 23:16.

Previous Index Next