Judges 2

God never designed defeat for His own;
let them be faithful to Him and they will find Him unchangeably constant to them.
His covenants never break except on our side.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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

7 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.

8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.

11 ¶ And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:

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.

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

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.

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.

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

17 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.

18 And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.

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;

21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:

22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.

Judges 2:6-15 – A Generation that Knew not Jehovah

   What a thrilling experience it must have been to hear Joshua and Caleb talk of Egypt, the Red Sea, and Sinai! The younger men would stand awestruck as the veterans narrated their experiences of God. Open your diaries of the past, ye older saints, and tell what the Lord hath done for you. It will hearten us for the fight, Malachi 3:16.
   Joshua was carried to his last resting-place in his inheritance—“the portion of the sun”—amid the respect and affection of the entire people. Like Moses, he had deserved to be known as “the servant of the LORD” (Judges 2:8). The elders, who had witnessed the conquest of Canaan, took up his testimony and told of Jericho and the valley of Ajalon. But these also were “gathered unto their fathers” (Judges 2:10), which implies more than burial. They joined the great throng of holy ones who are gathering around our Lord, awaiting the hour when, as a radiant throng, they shall issue forth with Him to take up the kingdom of the world. What a gathering that will be! Whatever else we miss, let us see to it that we stand in our lot, “at the end of the days”, Genesis 49:33; 50:14; Daniel 12:13. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Judges 2:16-23 – Ineffectual Penitence

   This paragraph is an epitome of this book, which covers some 450 years, Acts 13:20. Israel lacks unity and kingship; and in that reminds us of the heart of the man which has not become united under the reign of Jesus. See Judges 17:6; 18:1. Such rites as were associated with Baal and Ashtaroth were both cruel and demoralizing; a distressing picture is given in Psalm 106:34, etc., of the condition of Israel at this period. What wonder that such practices ate out the heart of the people, and left them exposed to the surrounding nations! When the blood becomes thin and impoverished, we can no longer repel the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor the temptations that assail us at noonday!
   Notice God’s great patience and pity. He was against the people when they sinned, but as soon as the groans of their misery arose, they touched Him to the quick, and He raised up a deliverer. Note Psalm 106:43-45: “Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel… Nevertheless he regarded their affliction… And he remembered… his covenant.” Herein we may take heart of hope for ourselves! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Judges 2:18—The LORD raised them up judges.

   This was better than nothing. It was better to have even the fitful gleam of deliverance than to settle down under a monotony of servitude; but how much better it would have been if their national history had been a steady progression from one degree of prosperity to another, like the sun rising towards the perfect day! It was of God’s kindness and grace that the judges created these temporary respites; it was the fault of their own infidelity and sin that they were not always delivered.
   This fitful life is too often the experience of the believer. We have our Gideons, and Baraks, and Samsons; times of revival, times of deep and blessed experience, followed by backsliding and relapse; times when the flood-tide of grace rises high in our soul, to be succeeded by the ebb, with long stretches of desert sand. Thank God for the judges; but be on the alert for the reign of the kings, for David and Solomon, Josiah and Hezekiah–for the reign of the King.
   The days of the judges were those in which there was no king over Israel. The fitfulness of our experience is often attributable to our failure to recognize the kingship of Jesus. We worship other gods—the gods of the nations around; the idols of the market-place, the studio, the camp, and the bar. The aims and practices of the worldly and ungodly too much engross our thoughts, and sway our behavior. Alas for us! Is it strange that God leaves us to reap much bitterness, recalling us when He can, but longing to be able to do some permanent work of salvation and edification? Oh, let us gladly accord Him what is his right, to “sit and rule upon his throne” (Zechariah 6:13). —Our Daily Homily