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Old and New Testament.
Updated March 16, 2014
Judges 2:1 Now the
Angel of the LORD came up from
And he said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land
which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My
covenant with you,
Angel of the LORD
Gustave Dore Woodcut
(Click to Enlarge)
NOW: To when does this
It's hard to discern with absolute certainty but it is probably referring
to a time during the period of Judges and certainly a time when they had
had ample opportunity to drive out their enemies but failed to do so. This
event therefore could be the postscript to Jdg 1 and would be God's
assessment to His people of how well they had followed His instructions
and commands in Dt 7, 9, Jos 23,24 given before they came into the
"if you turn aside from God’s words by a hair’s breadth you know not where
it will end. The rail diverges but a little where the switches are turned,
but before long the branch line is miles away from the main track.
Backslide a little and you are on the way to utter apostasy. The mother of
mischief is small as a midge’s egg: hatch it, and you shall see an evil
bird larger than an ostrich. The least wrong has in it an all but infinity
of evil. You cannot say to sin, “Hitherto shalt thou go, and no farther,
and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” Like the sea when the dyke is
broken, it stretches forth its band to grasp all the surrounding country.
The beginning of sin is hike the beginning of strife, and that is said to
be as the letting out of water: no man knows what a flood may come when
once the banks are burst. So Israel went aside farther and farther from
God because they regarded not their way, and did not in all things obey
THE ANGEL OF THE
LORD (Jdg 6:12;
13:3; Genesis 16:7-10,13; 22:11,12; 48:16; Exodus 3:2-6; 14:19; 23:20;
Exodus 33:14; Joshua 5:13,14; Isaiah 63:9; Hosea 12:3, 4, 5; Zechariah
3:1,2; Malachi 3:1; Acts 7:30, 31, 32, 33) (Jos 5:13, 14, 15,
the discussion of
Angel of the LORD. Although not
everyone agrees, I think the evidence is overwhelming that this "Angel of
Jehovah" represents a "theophany" and specifically an appearance of God
(Jesus) in visible and bodily form.
John MacArthur agrees writing
that this is...
One of 3 pre-incarnate theophanies by
the Lord Jesus Christ in Judges (cf. Judges 6:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; 13:3-23). This same
Divine Messenger had earlier led Israel out of Egypt (cf. Ex. 14:19). (MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
The Bible Knowledge Commentary
agrees writing that..
The Angel of the Lord was not merely
“an angel”; He was a theophany—an appearance of the second Person of the
Trinity in visible and bodily form before the Incarnation. (Walvoord,
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor)
CAME UP FROM GILGAL TO BOCHIM (v5, - the weepers):
(Jos 4:19, 20, note meaning in Jos 5:9,10)
was probably located between Bethel and Shiloh, some 20 mi from the Dead
was the first place Israel had camped after entering the Promised land and
there they set up 12 memorial stones for there God rolled away their
reproach and there they celebrated the Passover.
Gilgal was a place of
OBEDIENCE and TRIUMPH but tragically Gilgal later became the scene of
idolatrous worship (Hos 4:15; 9:15)!
I wonder what had happened to the 12
memorial stones (Jos 4:20-24)? Have you set up "memorial stones" in your
family? It's a good thing to do, but it's even been to remember the past
glorious acts of God on our behalf!
Alexander Solzhenitsyn in an address for another reason made some
comments that speak to the road forgetfulness (3:7) that leads from
"Over half a century ago while I was still a child, I recall hearing a
number of older people offer the following explanation for the great
disasters that had befallen Russia: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why
all of this has happened.' Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years
working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read
hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have
already contributed 8 volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away
the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate
as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that
swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more
accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this
And so too the forgetfulness of
modern man continues to take him further and further from God and closer
to the jaws of disaster and the pit of destruction. (Judges 3:7-note).
AND HE SAID:
Spurgeon: "it must have been grand hearing to hear an angel
preach, and grander hearing still to hear the angel of the covenant plead
with the covenanted ones. Oh, what a sermon! What a sermon it must have
been! Scarcely ever was such a preacher seen on earth. And yet that sermon
did not do its much good as when the seafaring man, Peter, preached at
Pentecost. The sermon at Bochim, if I were to sum up its results, ended in
disappointment. Be not disappointed, servant of God, if sometimes you seem
to fail. Do not say, “I will give it up.” Your bread has been cast upon
the waters. Wait a while, for alter many days you may find it. If Israel
be not gathered, God will reward you for your toil. It is yours to labor;
it is God’s to give the results; and he does not always grant pleasing
results to us at once. He did not allot great triumphs to this angel of
the Lord, as we shall have to show you. It was a great congregation; it
was a great preacher; and it was a great sermon, and yet there was not a
great ingathering. Read the sermon through; and note that though it is a
short one it is all the greater for its brevity. Sermons may grow little
by being long, and a sermon may he great through being short, if it be big
with thought as this angelic sermon was.."
I BROUGHT YOU UP OUT OF EGYPT AND
LED YOU INTO THE LAND WHICH I HAVE SWORN TO YOUR FATHERS:
(Exodus 3:7,8; 14:14; 20:2; Deuteronomy 4:34; Ps 78:51, 52, 53;
105:36, 37, 38 Ex 13:5, 20:2, 23:20, Dt 11:29) (Led - Genesis 12:7;
22:16,17; 26:3,4; Joshua 3:10; Psalms 105:44,45)
I brought you up - Jehovah -
Jehovah = Jesus)
is now speaking to Israel.
How did He lead them? Moses
And the LORD was going before them in a
pillar of cloud (Shekinah
glory cloud) by day to lead
them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that
they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of
cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (Ex
But He led forth His own people like
sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock (Ps 78:52)
C H Spurgeon- Brethren, this subject should most readily lead us to repentance,-that
God should have dealt so well with us should make us grieve that we have
behaved so ill to him. Do I address a backsliding child of God? I do not
think that any exercise is more likely to benefit your heart than to
remember what God did for you in years gone by. He took you up out of the
horrible pit and out of the miry clay and set your feet upon a rock. He
brought you out from the iron bondage of your despair and gave you
liberty, he brake the yoke of sinful habits, and the chains of furious
passions; and now are you wandering away from him? Are you making
something else to be the god of your spirit? If so, be ashamed of your
ingratitude, and let this first head of the angel’s discourse have power
upon your mind. “You use no other friend so ill”; and yet you have not a
friend who can be compared with your God. “I beseech you, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” unto your
God, and sin no longer against him."
AND I SAID 'I WILL NEVER BREAK MY COVENANT
WITH YOU: (Genesis 17:7,8; Leviticus 26:42; Numbers 14:34;
Psalms 89:34; Jeremiah 14:21; 33:20,21; Zechariah 11:10, Ps 89:34, Jer 33:20)
(Gen 17:7) “I will establish My
covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout
their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to
your descendants after you.
(Gen 17:8) “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land
of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting
possession; and I will be their God.”
(Jer 33:20-21) “Thus says the LORD, ‘If
you can break My covenant for the day and My covenant for the night, so
that day and night will not be at their appointed time, then My covenant
may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to
reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers. (See
New Covenant in the Old Testament )
Comment: Yes, Israel has been
intractably disobedient, stubborn and rebellious for centuries and even in
our present century where most of modern Israel is secular, with a smaller
per cent of Orthodox but unsaved and with an even smaller percentage of
born again Jews (A number that by all reports is definitely increasing in
recent years - the year of this writing is 2014). But God is faithful even
in Israel's (and our) unfaithfulness. He is faithful especially to His
Word, specifically to His Word of Covenant, the covenant which He cut
(made) with Abraham and then with Isaac and then with Jacob. The New
Covenant is the extension of the Abrahamic Covenant (See
Covenant: Abrahamic vs Old vs New).
That is why when Jesus inaugurated the
He choose to do so in a "Jewish context," as He celebrated the Passover
Feast ("Last Supper")...
And in the same way He took the cup
after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the
new covenant in My blood. (Lk 22:20)
To wit (that is to say), Jehovah is not
finished with the Nation of Israel as is commonly taught in many
evangelical churches today. The Church has not replaced Israel! See
What is replacement theology?.
See also discussion of the "touchstone" passage Galatians 6:16 -
Israel of God
Jehovah is the Covenant Keeping God!
This is good for all of us to remember.
Psalm 89:34 My covenant I
will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.
Spurgeon comments (on
Ps 89:34): My covenant
will I not break. It is His own covenant. He devised it, drew up the
draft of it, and voluntarily entered into it: he therefore thinks much of
it. It is not a man's covenant, but the Lord claims it as His own. It is
an evil thing among men for one to be a "covenant breaker", and such an
opprobrious epithet shall never be applicable to the Most High.
Nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Alterations and
afterthoughts belong to short sighted beings who meet with unexpected
events which operate upon them to change their minds, but the Lord who
sees everything from the beginning has no such reason for shifting his
ground. He is besides immutable in his nature and designs, and cannot
change in heart, and therefore not in promise. A word once given is
sacred; once let a promise pass our lips and honesty forbids that we
should recall it, -- unless indeed the thing promised be impossible, or
wicked, neither of which can happen with the promises of God. How
consoling it is to see the Lord thus resolute. He, in the words before us,
virtually reasserts his covenant and rehearses his engagements. This he
does at such length, and with such reiteration, that it is evident he
takes pleasure in that most ancient and solemn contract. If it were
conceivable that he had repented of it, he would not be found dwelling
upon it, and repeating it with renewed emphasis.
Jeremiah 33:20 "Thus says the
LORD, 'If you can break My covenant for the day, and My covenant for the
night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time,
This is still true -- God has not broken His covenant promises to Israel
and will fulfill them fully in the Messianic Age when He reigns on earth. (See
Millennium Pt 1
Millennium Pt 2
Millennium Pt 3)
Spurgeon -Then the angel passed on to mention the mercies guaranteed to them: “I
said, I will never break my covenant with you.” Oh, that is a blessed
theme. If indeed you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord has
pledged himself to make you perfect and to bring you home to himself with
exceeding great joy. You shall not perish. Christ has said, “I give unto
my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man
pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than
all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” You see
the two bands-one inside the other, and you inside the middle one,
enclosed within the palm of omnipotent faithfulness. Jehovah says, “I have
loved thee with an everlasting love.” He will never break his covenant
with you. Will you wander away from him who passes by your iniquity,
transgression, and sin, and does not let his anger smoke against you for
ever-he to whom you are joined in an everlasting wedlock which shall never
know a divorce? Oh, cruel heart! cruel heart! Canst thou offend against
such love as this? Canst thou break with God when he declares that he will
never break with you? The angel pleads this longsuffering,
eternally-enduring love, and pleads it well. I know of no two greater
arguments than mercy received and mercy promised. Let us not sin against
these. May the Holy Spirit hold us fast with these cords of love.
THE TERRIBLE CONSEQUENCES OF PARTIAL OBEDIENCE,
OF SIN, OF EROSION OF SPIRITUALITY
Sin will take you further than
you ever wanted to stray,
It'll keep you longer than you ever thought you'd stay,
And will cost you more than you ever dreamed that you would pay!
TAKES US FROM
REJOICING TO WEEPING
Gilgal: they set up the altar after
crossing the Jordan to commemorate the crossing. So that whenever the
children of generations to come would see the altar, they would REMEMBER
what God had done there. Jos 4:19, 5:1, 2 (circumcision), v10 (celebrated
Passover), God appeared to Joshua at Gilgal v13 (Joshua found out that God
didn't come to take sides but to take over).
In short, Gilgal was the place where
the blessings were, where the victories were, where the people were
surrendered to do what God had told them to do.
Bochim: means mourning or weeping.
Do you see the picture of the cost that comes when you choose to begin to
entertain sin in your life, becoming partially obedient (that subtle,
nominal Christianity that's invaded America) and you move from the place
of victory, the place of blessing to the place of mourning, to the place
Have you been at Gilgal in your life,
only to move to Bochim and
God had to come back to you again and bring you out of it?
THAT'S WHAT REVIVAL IS ALL ABOUT
- Cycles of Revival - Pdf - Roberts)
Watch out for that MOMENT YOU CHOOSE TO MOVE...
BE ALERT...BE SOBER.
Related Resources on Covenant:
Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage
Covenant: Why Study It?
Lesson 1 Covenant: Summary Table
Lesson 2 Covenant: The Exchange of
Lesson 3 Covenant: The Exchange of
Armor and Belts
Lesson 4 Covenant: Solemn and Binding
Lesson 5 Covenant: A Walk Into Death
Lesson 6 Covenant: The Oneness of
Covenant: Oneness Notes
Lesson 7 Covenant: Withholding Nothing
Lesson 8 Covenant: Abrahamic versus
Lesson 9 Covenant: New Covenant in the
Lesson 10 Covenant: Why the New is
Lesson 11 Covenant: Abrahamic vs Old vs
Friend a covenant word (notes)
Phylacteries in OT
Commingling of blood (notes)
Common life of covenant
Striking of hands
New Covenant in the Old Testament
Judges 2:2 and as for you, you shall make no
covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their
altars.' But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?
AND AS FOR YOU, YOU SHALL MAKE (karath = cut)
NO COVENANT WITH THE INHABITANTS OF
(Ex 23:32, 34:12, Dt 7:2, cp notes
(Exodus 23:32,33; 34:12-16; Numbers 33:52,53; Deuteronomy 7:2, 3,
4,16,25,26; 12:2,3; Deuteronomy 20:16, 17, 18; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15, 16,
(LXX adds "neither shall you worship their gods...destroy
their graven images,") (See
Covenant: Summary Table)
Exodus 23:32 "You shall make no
covenant with them or with their gods.
Exodus 34:12 "Watch yourself
that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which
you are going, lest it become a snare in your midst.
13 "But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred
pillars and cut down their Asherim
14 --for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is
Jealous, is a jealous God--
15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they play
the harlot with their gods, and sacrifice to their gods, and someone
invite you to eat of his sacrifice;
16 and you take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters
play the harlot with their gods, and cause your sons also to play the
harlot with their gods.
Numbers 33:51 "Speak to the sons
of Israel and say to them, 'When you cross over the Jordan into the land
52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before
you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten
images and demolish all their high places;
53 and you shall take possession of the land and live in it, for I have
given the land to you to possess it.
Deut 7:2 and when the LORD your
God shall deliver them before you, and you shall defeat them, then you
shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and
show no favor to them.
3 "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give
your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your
4 "For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other
gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will
quickly destroy you.
Deut 12:2 "You shall utterly
destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve
their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green
3 "And you shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and
burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images
of their gods, and you shall obliterate their name from that place.
In this context
cutting a covenant with the Canaanites would be tantamount to making a
peace treaty, a treaty which would entail common worship and
intermarriage. Not a "good thing" for God's holy people to do.
Don't cut covenant with the enemy (remember
covenant speaks of oneness, of identity with the one you are in covenant
with). If you do cut covenant it will become a snare in your midst
godly Joshua "blew it" on this one (Joshua 9:1-27, which had consequences
2Sa 21:1 - see in depth discussion under topic [scroll down]
Covenant Solemn & Binding)
Ray Stedman applies Israel's mistakes to believers today asking that
We read this story, and we think, How
foolish these Israelites were not to obey the commandment of God! But
don’t we do exactly the same? Don’t we settle for less than complete
victory over our sins and bad habits? Don’t we say, “Well, yes, I do have
a problem with anger (or gossip, or swearing, or impure thoughts, or
alcohol, or tobacco), but it’s just one little bad habit! I mean, we all
need one small vice, don’t we?” No! God says that it is these little
things that we accommodate ourselves to and compromise with that
eventually defeat us and destroy us! We cannot afford to settle for
anything less than complete victory. (Stedman,
Ray: Adventuring through the Bible. Discovery House)
YOU SHALL TEAR DOWN THEIR ALTARS:
They disobeyed and even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons [Ps
106:34, 35, 36, 37]
Psalm 106:34 They did not
destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them, 35 But they mingled with
the nations, and learned their practices, 36 And served their idols, which
became a snare to them. 37 They even sacrificed their sons and their
daughters to the demons
Matthew Henry - The miracles and mercies which settled them in Canaan made no more deep
and durable impressions upon them than those that fetched them out of
Egypt; for by that time they were well warm in Canaan, they corrupted
themselves, and forsook God. Observe
the steps of their apostasy.
the nations which God had doomed to destruction (Psalms 106:34). When they
had got the good land God had promised them, they had no zeal against the
wicked inhabitants, whom the Lord commanded them to extirpate, pretending
pity; but so merciful is God, that no man needs to be in any case more
compassionate than he.
When they spared them, they promised themselves,
that for all this, they would not join in any dangerous affinity with
them; but the way of sin is down hill; omissions make way for commissions;
when they neglect to destroy the heathen, the next news we hear is, they
were mingled among the heathen, made leagues with them, and contracted an
intimacy with them, so that they learned their works (Psalms 106:35). That
which is rotten will sooner corrupt that which is sound, than be cured or made
sound by it.
When they mingled with them, and learned some of
their works that seemed innocent diversions and entertainments, yet they
thought they would never join with them in their worship; but by degrees
they learned that too (Psalms
106:36). They served
their idols in the same manner, and with the same rites that they served
them; and they became a snare unto them, that sin drew on many more, and
brought the judgments of God upon them, which they themselves could not
but be sensible of, and yet knew not how to recover themselves.
When they joined with them in some of their
idolatrous services, which they thought had least harm in them, they
little thought that ever they should be guilty of that barbarous and
inhuman piece of idolatry, the sacrificing of their living children to
their dead gods: but they came to that at last (Psalms 106:37, 38)
in which Satan triumphed over his worshippers, and regaled himself in
blood and slaughter. They sacrificed their sons and daughters, pieces of
themselves to devils; and added murder, the most unnatural murder, to
their idolatry; one cannot think of it without horror; they "shed innocent
blood", the most innocent, for it was infant blood, nay, it was the "blood
of their sons and their daughters." See the power of the spirit that works
in the children of disobedience, and see his malice. The beginning of
idolatry and superstition, like that of strife, is as the letting forth of
water, and there is no villainy which they that venture upon it can be
sure they shall stop short of, for God justly "gives them up to a
reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28-note).
comments on Psalm 106:34-37...
They did not destroy the nations,
concerning whom the LORD commanded them. They were commissioned to act as
executioners upon races condemned for their unnatural crimes, and through
sloth, cowardice, or Sinful complacency they sheathed the sword too soon,
very much to their own danger and disquietude. It is a great evil with
professors that they are not zealous for the total destruction of all sin
within and without. We make alliances of peace where we ought to proclaim
war to the knife; we plead our constitutional temperament, our previous
habits, the necessity of our circumstances, or some other evil excuse as
an apology for being content with a very partial sanctification, if indeed
it be sanctification at all. We are slow also to rebuke sin in others, and
are ready to spare respectable sins, which like Agag walk with mincing
steps. The measure of our destruction of sin is not to be our inclination,
or the habit of others, but the Lord's command. We have no warrant for
dealing leniently with any sin, be it what it may.
But were mingled among the heathen, and
learned their works. It was not the wilderness which caused Israel's sins;
they were just as disobedient when settled in the land of promise. They
found evil company, and delighted in it. Those whom they should have
destroyed they made their friends. Having enough faults of their own, they
were yet ready to go to school to the filthy Canaanites, and educate
themselves still more in the arts of iniquity. It was certain that they
could learn no good from men whom the Lord had condemned to utter
destruction. Few would wish to go to the condemned cell for learning, yet
Israel sat at the feet of accursed Canaan, and rose up proficient in every
abomination. This, too, is a grievous but common error among professors:
they court worldly company and copy worldly fashions, and yet it is their
calling to bear witness against these things. None can tell what evil has
come of the folly of worldly conformity
And they served their idols: which were
a snare unto them. They were fascinated by the charms of idolatry, though
it brings misery upon its votaries. A man cannot serve sin without being
ensnared by it. It is like birdlime, and to touch it is to be taken by it.
Samson laid his head in the Philistine woman's lap, but ere long he woke
up shorn of his strength. Dalliance with sin is fatal to spiritual
Yea, they sacrificed their sons and
their daughters unto devils. This was being snared indeed; they were spell
bound by the cruel superstition, and were carried so far as even to become
murderers of their own children, in honour of the most detestable deities,
which were rather devils than gods. "And shed innocent blood." The poor
little ones whom they put to death in sacrifice had not been partakers of
their sin, and God looked with the utmost indignation upon the murder of
the innocent. "Even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom
they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan." Who knows how far evil will go?
It drove men to be unnatural as well as ungodly. Had they but thought for
a moment, they must have seen that a deity who could be pleased with the
blood of babes spilt by their own sires could not be a deity at all, but
must be a demon, worthy to be detested and not adored.
How could they prefer such service to that of Jehovah? Did he tear their
babes from their bosoms and smile at their death throes? Men will sooner
wear the iron yoke of Satan than carry the pleasant burden of the Lord;
does not this prove to a demonstration the deep depravity of their hearts?
If man be not totally depraved, what worse would he do if he were? Does
not this verse describe the neplus ultra of iniquity?
And the land was polluted with blood. The promised land, the holy land,
which was the glory of all lands, for God was there, was defiled with the
reeking gore of innocent babes, and by the blood red hands of their
parents, who slew them in order to pay homage to devils. Alas! alas! What
vexation was this to the spirit of the Lord.
Even in these warnings against
compromise, we see a picture of God’s grace.
Israel's willingness to carry out this
command would show they are not merely hearers of the Word who delude
themselves but that they were genuine, sincere, doers of the Word, who
demonstrated their allegiance to God by their actions. Failure to do so
would reveal an underlying lack of loyalty and eventually lead to
assimilation to Canaanite religion and culture.
BUT YOU HAVE NOT OBEYED ME WHAT IS THIS YOU HAVE DONE:
(Jdg 2:20; Ezra 9:1, 2, 3,10, 11, 12, 13; Psalms 78:55, 56, 57, 58;
106:34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40; Jeremiah 7:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28;
2Thessalonians 1:8; 1Peter 4:17) (What is this - Genesis 3:11,12; 4:10;
Exodus 32:21; Jeremiah 2:5,18,31, 32, 33,36)
happened to Israel? Simply put they did not obey God. This is hearing with
obedience, which they did not do.
Why have you done this?... there must
have been a long pause and no one seems to have answered. The Angel of
the LORD was not looking for excuses but desired that they repent and
return and do the deeds they did at first (cp Rev 2:5-note). Why had they done
-"...the awful truth of the reason why they had not driven out the
inhabitants and destroyed their altars and their worship was simply this:
they did not WANT to drive them out. They CHOSE to allow these people with
their evil, lustful ways to remain. Something in God's people wanted what
they saw in that world. Their fallen human nature responded to the wild
degrading dances of the heathen worship. The prospect of involvement with
male and female prostitutes made their blood tingle with excitement. That
was a totally new way of life and all that was in them cried out for this
new culture. So it was that no one drove out anyone." So it was not really
because they were afraid of iron chariots, etc...the truth is that they
did not want to drive out the enemy because the lusts of their flesh and
the lusts of their eyes were attracted to the world (1Jn 2:15-note,
when they should have been attracted to Jehovah.
Imitating the enemy
This first section describes the danger. In this day of “pluralism,” when society contains people of
opposing beliefs and lifestyles, it’s easy to get confused and start
thinking that tolerance is the same as approval. It isn’t. In a democracy,
the law gives people the freedom to worship as they please; and I must
exercise patience and tolerance with those who believe and practice things
that I feel God has condemned in His Word. The church today doesn’t wield
the sword (Romans 13-note)
and therefore it has no authority to eliminate people who disagree with
the Christian faith. But we do have the obligation before God to maintain
a separate walk so we won’t become defiled by those who disagree with us
(2Co 6:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 2Co 7:1-note).
We must seek by prayer, witness, and loving persuasion to win those to
Christ who as yet haven’t trusted Him.
The Jews eventually became so accustomed to the sinful ways of their pagan
neighbors that those ways didn’t seem sinful any more. The Jews then
became interested in how their neighbors worshiped, until finally Israel
started to live like their enemies and imitate their ways. For believers
today, the first step away from the Lord is “friendship with the world”
which then leads to our being spotted by the world (Jas 1:27-note).
The next step is to “love the world” (1Jn 2:15-note) and gradually become
“conformed to this world” (Ro 12:2-note).
This can lead to being “condemned with the world” (1Co 11:32), the kind of
judgment that came to Lot (Ge 19), Samson (Jdg 16:1-note),
and Saul (1Sa 15, 31).
The disobedience (Jdg 2:1,2,3,4,5). In the OT the “angel of the Lord” is generally
interpreted to be the Lord Himself, who occasionally came to earth
(theophany) to deliver an important message. It was probably the Lord
Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Godhead, in a temporary pre-incarnation appearance. (Ge 16:7) The fact that God Himself came to give
the message shows how serious things had become in Israel.
The tabernacle was originally located at Gilgal (Jos 4:19,20), and it was
there that the men of Israel were circumcised and “rolled away” the
reproach of Egypt (Jos 5:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9). It was also there that the Lord appeared to
Joshua and assured him of victory as he began his campaign to conquer
Canaan (Jos 5:13, 14, 15). To Joshua, the angel of the Lord brought a message of
encouragement; but to the new generation described in the Book of Judges,
He brought a message of punishment.
The Lord had kept His covenant with Israel; not one word of His promises
had failed (Jos 23:5, 10, 15; 1Ki 8:56). He had asked them to keep their
covenant with Him by obeying His law and destroying the Canaanite
religious system—their altars, temples, and idols. (Ex 23:20, 21, 22, 23,
24, 25, note the
association between the angel of the Lord and the command to destroy the
false religion; cp Ex 34:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and Dt 7:1-11, 25, 26.) But Israel disobeyed
the Lord and not only spared the Canaanites and their godless religious
system but also began to follow the enemy’s lifestyle themselves.
In His covenant, God promised to bless Israel if the people obeyed Him and
to discipline them if they disobeyed Him (Dt 27,28). God is always faithful
to His Word, whether in blessing us or chastening us; for in both, He
displays His integrity and His love (He 12:1f-note). God would prefer to
bestow the positive blessings of life that bring us enjoyment, but He
doesn’t hesitate to remove those blessings if our suffering will motivate
us to return to Him in repentance.
By their disobedience, the nation of Israel made it clear that they wanted
the Canaanites to remain in the land. God let them have their way
(Ps 106:15), but He warned them of the tragic consequences. The nations in
the land of Canaan would become thorns that would afflict Israel and traps
that would ensnare them. Israel would look to the Canaanites for pleasures
but would only experience pain; they would rejoice in their freedom only
to see that freedom turn into their bondage.
No wonder the people wept when they heard the message! (Bochim =
“weepers.”) However, their sorrow was because of the consequences of their
sins and not because the wickedness of their sins had convicted them. It
was a shallow and temporary sorrow that never led them to true repentance
(2Co 7:8, 9, 10, 11).
Judges 2:3 "Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive
them out before you; but they shall become as thorns in your sides, and
their gods shall be a snare to you.'"
marks the verdict specifying the CONSEQUENCES of their disobedience. (See
term of conclusion)
I ALSO SAID I WILL NOT DRIVE THEM OUT BEFORE YOU:
(Jdg 2:21; Numbers 33:55; Joshua 23:13 )
given this clear and horrible warning declaring...
know with certainty that the LORD your
God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you; but they
shall be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and thorns in
your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD your God
has given you. (Jos 23:13)
Judgment in the OT and NT is similar...it is
God giving you want.
not drive them out,’’ says God, "and therefore I will not;’’ thus their sin
was made their punishment. Thus those who indulge their lusts and
corruptions, which they should mortify, forfeit the grace of God, and it is
justly withdrawn from them. If we will not resist the devil, we cannot
expect that God should tread him under our feet.
BUT THEY SHALL BECOME [AS THORNS] IN YOUR SIDES AND THEIR GODS SHALL
BE A SNARE TO YOU (Ex 23:33, Judges 3:6, 1Ki 11:1-7)
(Nu 33:55; Jos 23:13, Pr 22:5, cp Judges 3:1) (Jdg 3:6; Exodus 23:33; 34:12;
Deuteronomy 7:16; 1 Kings 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Psalms 106:36)
Exodus 23:33 "They shall not live
in your land, lest they make you sin against Me; for if you serve their
gods, it will surely be a snare to you."
A snare (moqes)
literally was a noose used for catching or entrapping animals using bait to
catch the prey. It follows that a snare metaphorically is something
that allures one from his or her real purpose ("God's Will"), entraps and
ultimately destroys the victim.
In 1 Kings 11
Solomon became ensnared by foreign women...
1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign
women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite,
Sidonian, and Hittite women,
2 from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel,
"You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you,
for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held
fast to these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines,
and his wives turned his heart away. (Note:
You can know the truth, even write the truth and yet not do the truth!
Solomon wrote "Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the LORD and turn
away [not same Hebrew verb] from evil." Pr 3:7)
4 For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart
after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God,
as the heart of David his father had been.
5 For Solomon went after
Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after
Milcom the detestable (Lxx = bdelugma = extremely abhorrent, from bdeo =
stink!) idol of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow
the LORD fully, as David his father had done.
7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab,
on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable
idol of the sons of Ammon.
8 Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and
sacrificed to their gods.
9 Now the LORD was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from
the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
Saul attempted to to ruin David by giving him his daughter Michal in marriage so
that she might become a snare to David (1Sa 18:21).
Gideon made an ephod
out of the spoils from battle but sadly it became a snare not only to
this great Biblical hero but his family, who began to actually worship the
ephod (Judges 8:27-note)!
Dearly beloved son
or daughter of God, is their a subtle (or overt) snare in your life, in your
house, at your job, in your mind, etc? Beware for surely it will turn you
away from being wholly devoted to your Lord! Cast it out today. Yes, it will
hurt. It hurt Jesus to die on the Cross for us, and was we seek to follow
Him and take up his Cross, in a sense, it is painful to put away that pet
sin, that little sin from which we derive pleasure. Do not bury this "little
sin" with the handle of the hatchet showing (cp Ro 13:14-note). Do not
procrastinate. Do not delay! The only reason it has not caused you to
stumble yet is because of God's great mercy and longsuffering. May we all
(yours truly included) take heed to Peter's exhortation to "be all the more
diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as
you practice these things, you will never stumble" (2Pe 1:10-note)
God charged the people
to utterly destroy the inhabitants of Canaan so that they would not
be tempted to serve their gods and abandon Jehovah and replace Him with
worship and service to false gods who are really no gods at all (see Dt 7:16,
25; Ex 23:32ff; but cf. Ps 106:34ff)
Judges 2:4 And it came about when the angel of the LORD
spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, that the people lifted up their
voices and wept.
AND IT CAME ABOUT
WHEN THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SPOKE THESE WORDS TO ALL THE SONS OF ISRAEL:
THAT THE PEOPLE LIFTED UP THEIR VOICES AND WEPT (1Samuel 7:6; Ezra
10:1; Proverbs 17:10; Jeremiah 31:9; Zechariah 12:10; Luke 6:21; 7:38;
2Corinthians 7:10; James 4:9)
Wept (bakah cp "Bochim"
klaio: 3PAAI: = expressing strong inner emotion = weep, cry, shed
tears; wail or lament over w emphasis upon noise accompanying weeping
which is preceded here by the statement "they lifted their voice," refers to
intense sorrow. The verbal combination "to lift up one's voice and weep,"
often refers elsewhere to sorrow associated with severe loss. It is used of
sorrow over the death of a child or brother (Gen. 21:16; 2 Sam. 13:36) or
Esau's loss of a blessing (Gen. 27:38).
In light of the context of Judges and subsequent events, these would appear
to be tears of worldly sorrow not a godly sorrow which effects a true
repentance (2Co 7:10,11, Esau - see Heb 12:17-note). In fact the word "repent/repentance"
does not appear in the book of Judges! (However see Jdg 10:10, 11, 12, 13,
14, 15, 16-note
for description of a response by the children of Israel that certainly looks
like repentance... this is the only description that would qualify as true
repentance in this entire book as best I can discern! We don't see any of
the Judges call the people to repentance like Samuel did in 1Sa 7:3) These
were almost surely tears of regret and most likely the sacrifices (see Jdg
were empty ritual. True repentance must go beyond tears of sorrow and
achieve a right-about-face, a turning of one's entire life from sin to a
walk that pleases the Lord. (Jdg 10:15, 16-notes) What they don't appear to have
done is Joel 2:12, 13, 14.
Jameson, Fausset and Brown -The angel’s expostulation made a deep and
painful impression. 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
Arthur Lewis -"True repentance must go beyond tears of
sorrow and achieve a right-about-face, a turning of one's entire life from
sin to a walk that pleases the Lord." Although there may have been some who
truly repented (cp Samson's godly parents in Judges 13, Boaz in book of
Ruth), the fact is that the refrain repeats that as soon as the judge died
the people lapsed quickly back into their evil in the face of the Lord. So
that some of those who had cried out to the Lord went right back into sin,
which is hardly indicative of genuine repentance
For the sorrow that is according to the
will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but
the sorrow of the world produces death. 2Co 7:10
Matthew Henry-This was good, and a sign that the word
they heard made an impression upon them: it is a wonder sinners can ever
read their Bible with dry eyes. But this was not enough; they wept, but we
do not find that they reformed, that they went home and destroyed all the
remains of idolatry and idolaters among them. Many are melted under the word
that harden again before they are cast into a new mould. However, this
general weeping, "
Judges 2:5 So they named that place Bochim; and there they
sacrificed to the LORD.
SO THEY NAMED THAT
PLACE BOCHIM (LXX
= "weepings"): (Genesis 35:8; Joshua 7:26)
After the Lord spelled
out the consequences of partial obedience (disobedience) and compromise, the
people begin to weep as they realize that they will have to live with their
decision not to obey and drive them out. One of the most certain facts of
spiritual experience is that the path of partial obedience leads to Bochim.
There is no joy in halfhearted spiritual experience.
Are you living at
Bochim in your walk with the Lord, hearing Him say you have compromised My
truth and so now you will have to live with the consequences?
miserable people are professing believers who will not commit to the Lord
Jesus. They do not have the best of both worlds but the worst (See notes on
Jesus' clear teaching on "two masters" Mt 6:24-note). If as
Christians we try to walk the tightrope of compromise and partial obedience,
we will not know spiritual victory and God's blessing. We will know the
bitterness of defeat and frustration in our Christian lives.
Do you know
spiritual victory in your life?
Do you know God's blessing in your life?
If you don't then
maybe you need to check out the pattern of obedience in your life. Remember: Halfhearted obedience is the
path of misery. One of the most certain facts of spiritual experience is
that the path of partial obedience leads to Bochim. There is no joy in
halfhearted spiritual experience.
C H Spurgeon
"Had be let them alone, to be given up to their idols, their case would have
been hopeless. For mercy’s sake they must be punished for their
transgression; but this was a gracious punishment, that they might not lie
and wallow in their transgression and become altogether like the swinish
nations that surrounded them. God began to punish them by their own sin. He
suffered the Canaanitish nations to grow strong, so that they grievously
oppressed Israel. He put the Israelites under the yoke of those nations
which they ought to have utterly destroyed. If they would not be conquerors
they should be conquered. If they would not lead captivity captive they
should be led captives themselves. The Lord laid his blows upon them thick
and heavy. But, before he did this, he sent a messenger to rebuke them. It
is ever the Lord’s way to have space for repentance ere he executes
The axes which were carried before the Roman magistrates by the lictors
(ancient Roman officers who bore the fasces [fasces = a bundle of
rods and among them an ax with projecting blade borne before ancient
Roman magistrates as a badge of authority] as the insignia of their office
and whose duties included accompanying the chief magistrates in public
bound up in bundles of rods. It is said that when a prisoner was before the
magistrate the lictor began to untie the rods, and with these the culprit
was beaten: meanwhile the judge looked in the prisoner’s face and heard his
defense, and if he saw reason for averting the capital sentence, because of
the repentance which the offender expressed, then he only smote him with the
rod, but the axe remained unused. But if, when every rod was taken off, the
culprit was still hardened, and the crime was a capital one and clearly
proven, then the axe was used; and used all the more sternly because space
had been given for penitence, and the rods had been used in vain.
rod is despised the axe is ready. It is certainly so with God: He waiteth
to be gracious, but when patience cannot hope for penitence then justice
takes her turn, and her stroke is terrible. (Woe! We might all want to read
this description over several times until we have a clear conception in our
mind's eye of the disciplining rod of the Lord. God is surely not mocked
beloved. We are called to be holy - separate from the venomous sinfulness of
this present evil age!)
AND THERE THEY
SACRIFICED TO THE LORD: (Jdg 6:24; 13:19; 1 Samuel 7:9) (cp Isa 1:11, 1Sa 15:22, Jer 7:21,
22, 23, Ho 6:6,
Mic 6:6, 7, 8, Zec 7:4, 5, 6, 7.
The constant urging is
that God’s servants give their hearts and their lives in deep contrition and
brokenness of spirit before they observe feasts, fasts, sabbaths or
sacrifices. Rote religion can never substitute for purity of heart (Pr
22:11, Mt 5:8-note). It would have been more meaningful if it had said they broke down
the altars, smashed the sacred pillars (Ex 23:24, 34:13, Dt 7:5), etc. thus
bringing forth fruit in keeping with repentance (Mt 3:8)
addressing the question of "repentance" at Bochim writes
the Angel of Yahweh’s speech Yahweh
himself addresses Israel, as the repeated “I” shows. Yahweh accuses Israel
of breach of covenant (Judges 2:2b) and announces the discipline and judgment
they would endure (Judges 2:3). They have now forfeited the promised help in
Judges 1:2, 4. The primary peril, however, will be spiritual (Jdg
Note the response. There are tears all
over the place. “The people lifted up their voice and wept” (Hebrew, bakah,
Jdg 2:4b). The place was even named for their tears — Bokim
(“Weepers,” Jdg 2:1, 5). And the tears led to sacrifice (Jdg
far so good. It is usually a good sign when God’s people can still weep,
when we can be moved to tears. Would that it would happen more often! We are
either too sophisticated, too refined, too hardhearted, or, what’s worse,
all of these, to cry over our sins. Yet the text keeps us hanging. There is
no neat closing, no answer to “What happened then?” So they wept and
sacrificed. What did all that produce? The Angel of Yahweh’s sermon induces
weeping, tears, and profound impressions. Does anything go beyond Israel’s
tear ducts? Is anything more lasting than water produced here?
pastor in Wales, Martyn Lloyd–Jones was accused of encouraging emotionalism.
Lloyd–Jones’s retort was that
“it is very easy to make a Welshman cry, but
it needs an earthquake to make him change his mind!”
Our response to
Yahweh’s accusing word should be more than wet eyes. It is good to be moved
to tears but better to be brought to repentance. God wants to produce “good
grief” in us (cf. 2Cor. 7:8, 9, 10, 11). Yahweh’s demand via Joel keeps the
perfect balance and needs no hermeneutical doctoring for the church:
“Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning,
and tear open your heart, not your garments” (Joel 2:12, 13). (Ralph
Davis Judges: Such a Great Salvation - Focus on the Bible)
When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went each to his
inheritance to possess the land.
WHEN JOSHUA HAD
DISMISSED THE PEOPLE: These words appear to be a
continuation of Joshua's last charge to Israel in Josh 24 (see Jos 24:28).
THE SONS OF ISRAEL WENT EACH TO HIS INHERITANCE TO POSSESS THE LAND:
This period that
follows Joshua's death could be subtitled "Generation Degeneration"!
Gary Inrig sounds a note of
warning about "good starts" (like the one Joshua had given to Israel in the
promised land) in the example of the story of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" of
In 1745, Charles Edward Stuart suddenly
appeared at Glen-finnan in the Scottish Highlands. He was a tall,
good-looking, young man and an exciting, dynamic leader. The heir of the
Scottish kings and queens, Stuart had returned to Scotland to recapture the
throne. George II, the British king, was an arrogant, cruel man, who spoke
only German; and the Scots hated him. The Highlanders loved their Prince
Charles and committed themselves to follow him and dethrone the foreigner.
At first they were successful in battle.
But, suddenly, at the Battle of Culloden, their dreams came to an abrupt
end. The Scots were crushed by the English army, and, although Charles
escaped, his troops were slaughtered. The prince found his way to France to
plan and dream about the day he would return to take his ancestral throne.
He never did. In fact, to meet Charles
twenty years later was to confront a tragedy. He had become a hopeless
alcoholic, his body and health broken. His life had become a record of
disgrace and shame, a long trail of broken marriages, discarded mistresses,
and public scandals. His former friends wanted nothing to do with him. The
Scots may still sing about their "Bonnie Prince Charlie," but there was very
little that was "bonnie" about Charles at the end of his life.
The life of Charles Stuart is the story
of a great beginning followed by a tragic downward spiral into the slavery
of sin. His life seemed to be one cycle of sin after another, taking him
lower and lower and lower. Sin, unchecked in our lives, has a way of doing
that to us. It is possible to begin brilliantly and end ignominiously. Some
Christians are like the Russian satellite that went up on the back of a
rocket, but came down like a rock and required a team of searchers in
northern Canada to find the fragments. A good start does not assure a
successful conclusion. (Inrig,
G: Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay. Moody)
Ralph Davis - Judges 2:6-3:6 functions as a sort of
visitors’–center film for the Book of Judges. It provides the necessary
preview for understanding what is happening in the rest of the book,
particularly chapters 3-16. This section is a summary which interprets for
the reader the significance of the judges’ stories. If you want to
understand Judges you must stop here for perspective, to get a handle on
what to look for in the upcoming stories and how to understand the various
episodes you read. In particular, Jdg 2:6–3:6 will show you what God is doing
in the period of the judges — and, for understanding the Bible, nothing
could be more crucial than that. (Ralph
Davis Judges: Such a Great Salvation - Focus on the Bible)
And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of
the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the LORD
which He had done for Israel.
AND THE PEOPLE SERVED THE LORD ALL THE DAYS OF JOSHUA
(Joshua 24:31; 2Kings 12:2; 2Chronicles 24:2,14-22; Philippians 2:12):
knowledge of God and His greatness is preserved in a community, especially
by those who have personally experienced God's power, faith is nourished and
If we as parents allow
our children to grow up w/o this knowledge of God, we serve not only their
ignorance and unbelief, but also their destruction. It is the solemn duty of
all parents to teach their children and those in their sphere of influence
who might be "young" in the Lord, about God and His saving work so that the
next generation will know and be saved. The most important school the child
will ever attend is the home. The most important and influential theological
teachers they will ever (potentially) have are Mom and Dad.
AND ALL THE DAYS OF THE ELDERS WHO SURVIVED JOSHUA, WHO HAD SEEN (LXX = ginosko ~ they learned by experience):
It is only when we
obey God that we really begin to experience Him personally. We may all about
Him but yet we fail to experience fellowship which comes from whole hearted
surrender to His sweet will.
Moses in Ps 103:7 who
knew God's "ways", whereas the children of Israel only knew His acts! there
is a big difference. Spurgeon comments on this Psalm 103:7...
Psalm 103:7 He made known His
ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
He made known his ways unto Moses.
Moses was made to see the manner in which the Lord deals with men; he saw
this at each of the three periods of his life, in the court, in retirement,
and at the head of the tribes of Israel. To him the Lord gave specially
clear manifestations of his dispensations and modes of ruling among mankind,
granting to him to see more of God than had before been seen by mortal man,
while he cornmaned with him upon the mount.
His acts unto the children of Israel. They saw less than Moses, for
they beheld the deeds of God without understanding his method therein, yet
this was much, very much, and might have been more if they had not been so
perverse; the stint was not in the revelation, but in the hardness of their
hearts. It is a great act of sovereign grace and condescending love when the
Lord reveals himself to any people, and they ought to appreciate the
distinguished favour shown to them. We, as believers in Jesus, know the
Lord's ways of covenant grace, and we have by experience been made to see
his acts of mercy towards us; how heartily ought we to praise our divine
teacher, the Holy Spirit, who has made these things known to us, for had it
not been for him we should have continued in darkness unto this day, "Lord,
how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?"
Why hast thou made us "of the election who have obtained it" while the rest
Observe how prominent is the personality of God in all this gracious
teaching -- "He made known." He did not leave Moses to discover truth for
himself, but became his instructor. What should we ever know if he did not
make it known? God alone can reveal himself. If Moses needed the Lord to
make him know, how much more do we who are so much inferior to the great
ALL THE GREAT WORK OF THE LORD WHICH HE HAD DONE
FOR ISRAEL: (Joshua 3:10,11)
When Israel crossed
the Jordan "the Lord of all the earth" cut off "the waters of the Jordan...
and the waters which" were flowing down from above were made to stand in one
heap. Alluding to this "great work of Jehovah" Joshua declared that...
"By this you shall know that the living
God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the
Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the
Amorite, and the Jebusite. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of
all the earth is crossing over ahead of you into the Jordan. (Joshua
If you ask those who
had walked across the Jordan River (which in fact was even at flood stage)
on dry ground if they "knew" God and His great works what do you think they
Oh how we need to see
the mighty deeds of God in our generation...but it all has to do with
obedience...if the Joshua the leader had balked and not obediently led them
across or if the people had balked and said we're not going across, then
they would never have experienced God's miraculous power.
Beloved, I ask to give
serious attention to this question:
Is your disobedience (or even
so-called "partial obedience") keeping you from seeing His power in your
Harness God's promises
by immediate, unflinching obedience, stepping out in faith (not sight).
In Joshua 6 we see
"the great work of the LORD"...Jericho's walls some say up to 18 feet thick
came falling down. Why did they see the power of God?
Blessing", as it always does. Because Joshua and company had obeyed the
commands of God to march around the city He did exactly what He said He
Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of one
hundred and ten.
JOSHUA THE SON OF NUN:
LXX of Joshua = iesous = ''Jesus" How would
this fit with the key phrase in Judges ''No king in Israel..." (Jdg
When Joshua died began the days when there was no king in Israel...surely he
was clearly a type of Him who was to come as King of kings and Lord of
THE SERVANT OF THE LORD: refers to a divinely chosen individual,
normally a leader of the people, who has faithfully and obediently carried
out the Lord's will and most often used to describe to Moses.
Gary Inrig comments that "This verse teaches an important lesson.
One man, committed unreservedly to God and His Word, can make an enormous
difference for good in the lives of God's people. One woman, living her life
for Jesus Christ, can bring blessing to a whole group of people. If you will
trust God and build your life on His Word, you can have a godly influence on
your family, student group, or local church. That truth is written many
times on the pages of Scripture." (Inrig,
G: Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay. Moody) (Bolding added)
DIED AT THE AGE OF ONE HUNDRED AND TEN:
The Greek Septuagint translates "died"
with teleutao (means to finish, bring to a close, to come to an end
or as we might say today "to bring down the curtain" on the "drama" of one's
life) which is from teleo in turn from telos which means goal, end.
Interesting to think of Joshua's death as attaining a "goal", the goal for
which God had created him. How wonderful this would be for every believer to
achieve the "goal" for which we were created.
It's as if Joshua had faithfully, obediently run the race with endurance and
crossed God's "goal line". Surely he will hear "Well done, My good and
faithful servant." May his tribe increase!
And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in
the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
AND THEY BURIED HIM IN THE TERRITORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN TIMNATH-HERES:
“extra portion” "portion/image of the sun". Synonymous with “Timnath-serah,”
= double portion (Jos 19:50; 24:30).
The traditional site
is at Tibneh, 17 mi NW of Jerusalem. Some scholars suggest that the
consonants for Heres (hrs) were deliberately written backwards as Serah (srh)
as a reminder of these pagan worship practices. Timnath Serah = Timnath
IN THE HILL COUNTRY OF EPHRAIM , NORTH OF MOUNT
And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose
another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work
which He had done for Israel.
AND THERE AROSE ANOTHER (qualitatively different)
THEM (Joshua and elders): (Genesis 15:15; 25:8,17; 49:33; Numbers
27:13; Deuteronomy 31:16; 2Samuel 7:12; Acts 13:36)
Without LEADERS the
past history of God's acts and the future hope based on those acts can be
easily forgotten. Lack of leadership and forgetting of history lead to
self-centered life where wrong looks right...Black looks White...Upside down
looks right sided up!
Within only one
generation after entering Canaan, the Israelites began to practice idolatry.
Even within one lifetime, idolatry is always only a heartbeat away. Each
generation must learn and remember what God has done to show He is truly the
WHO DID NOT KNOW THE LORD (Jdg 3:1,2-note):
A SAD REFRAIN:
Did not - This
is a sad refrain in the book of Judges (and I fear too often in our lives
[including mine!] as believers!
Did not drive out
= Jdg 1:21, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33-note
did not know the LORD = Jdg 2:10-note
did not listen to their judges = Jdg
did not do as their fathers = Jdg
did not abandon their practices or their
stubborn ways = Jdg 2:19-note
did not remember the LORD their God Jdg
did not serve Him = Jdg 10:6-note
Know has the
nuance meaning to "experience in a personal way."
Why didn't they know
Him? Because they didn't obey Him. They knew about Him but had not
experienced Him in a personal way. They had heard the
great works but they didn't know Him. Head knowledge had not become heart knowledge. They
forgot God [Jdg 3:7-note ].
The second generation
has a natural tendency to accept the status quo and to lose the vision of
the first generation. Too often the second-generation experience is a
secondhand experience. That syndrome operates in the spiritual realm as well
as in the political. Church history is filled with examples of it, and,
sadly, so are many churches. The parents' fervor for the Lord Jesus Christ
becomes the children's formalism and the grandchildren's apathy.
In Joshua 4:22
Joshua instructs the people
"you shall inform your children, saying,
'Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground."
So what happened to
all the godly generation that was alive when Joshua died (Jdg 2:10,11)? Did
they not tell their children about the great works of God that the children
would learn to fear God forever (Joshua 4:24)? Or did they tell them and the
children were apathetic, hearing but not caring with the result being that
they did not know God or His works. Why might they have been apathetic
toward the things of God? It could be that the pleasures of the Canaanite
lifestyle were simply too seductive and they couldn't resist and were
ensnared by the passing pleasures of the pagan licentious ways. And as Jesus
said over 1000 yrs later, one cannot not serve 2 masters, for he will hold
to one and despise the other, love one and hate the other (Mt 6:24-note). And so
they forgot their God and then they forsook their God. And the downward
cycle of the book of Judges began.
See also the
incredible parallel with [Pr 29:18] which could be paraphrased from the
Where there is no revelation of God's Word the people are undisciplined, out
of control (cf Ex 32:25) and run wild! But fully satisfied (blessed, happy)
regardless of the circumstances is he who guards the treasure of God's
This is why Paul was
so adamant that Timothy entrust what he had heard to trustworthy men who
would then be able to teach others also (2Ti 2:2-note). The Spirit anointed and
empowered teacher is one of the vital links to pass on the "standard of
sound words" (2Ti 1:13-note) to the next generation, and this call involves
suffering and hardship (2Ti 1:2, 8, 16-see notes
sounds a warning call against "second generation" Christianity
In 1963, John Gardner wrote a challenging
little book, Self-Renewal. His words are addressed to motivate the renewal
of societies and organizations, and he is not writing as a Christian. But he
too is concerned with the second-generation syndrome, and his words deserve
to be weighed carefully:
The renewal of societies and
organizations can go forward only if someone cares. Apathy and lowered
motivation are the most widely noted characteristics of a civilization on
the downward path. Apathetic men accomplish nothing. Men who believe in
nothing change nothing for the better. They renew nothing and heal no one,
least of all themselves. Anyone who understands our situation at all knows
that we are in little danger of failing through lack of material strength.
If we falter it will be a failure of heart and spirit.'
That applies with even greater force to
spiritual things. The challenge of the second generation is dynamic renewal
and growth. The danger is apathy and spiritual rigor mortis. Which way are
you going? Are you a spectator or a soldier? (Inrig,
G: Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay. Moody)
Had the people
remembered Joshua's “farewell speech” given to the leaders and the people of
Israel (Jos 23:12,13) and taken those speeches to heart, they would have
known the Law of Moses; for in his final messages, Joshua emphasized the
covenant God had made with Israel and the responsibility Israel had to keep
it. When you forget the Word of God, you are in danger of forsaking the God
of the Word, which explains why Israel turned to the vile, vicious,
lascivious, licentious worship of Baal.
The majority of the
Jews of this new generation were not true believers ("did not know the Lord"
and as assessed from their disobedience cp Heb 3:18,19 (see notes
3:19) for relationship of
true faith and obedience), and they did not turn to the God of the
miraculous deliverance from Egypt under Moses and the victorious conquest of
the Promised Land under Joshua. Still, many of the judges did genuinely know
the Lord, and some who did not live by faith eventually threw themselves on
God’s mercy during oppressions.
For believers today,
the first step away from the Lord is taking your eyes off of Jesus (He 12:2-note)
and looking at (Pr 4:23-note)
the "passing pleasures of sin" [He 11:25-note] the world
is reveling in, just as Achan looked on the spoil that was under the ban of
God (Jos 7:21). Achan looked. Achan coveted. Achan stole. Achan concealed.
Do not be deceived
[led astray from truth by lusts of the flesh] beloved brethren (Jas 1:16-note,
If we do not flee idolatry of the world and youthful lusts (1Co 10:14, 1Jn
5:21, 2Ti 2:22-note ,1Ti 6:11) we naturally (our old flesh
"nature") gravitate toward “friendship (affection) with the world” (Jas 4:4NKJV-note), which then leads to our being spotted by the world (Jas 1:27-note).
Then we “love (agapao = sacrificially love) the world” (1Jn 2:15-note)
and progressively become more and more “conformed" to the corrupt mold of
this world which is passing away, even its lusts (Ro 12:2-note, 1Jn 2:17-note). This can lead to being
“condemned with the world” (1Co 11:32), the kind of judgment that came to Lot
(Ge 19), Samson (Jdg 16), and Saul (1Sa 31:3,4, 15:35).
NOR YET THE WORK WHICH HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL:
They did not even know
of His mighty deeds [Ps 71:16, 106:2, 150:2; Lu 1:51; Acts 2:11]. Note how it is
quite fascinating that those men who were first filled with and thus
controlled by the Spirit in Acts2 spoke of God's mighty deeds. That should
be our goal at all times, for as men see the Lord high and lifted up, and
thus have a proper opinion of His holiness and majesty, then they are
prepared to place themselves in proper perspective...BOWED down before His
O God, how we need men
of the Book today, emboldened with Your Spirit O Lord, to speak forth about
Your great and mighty deeds which You have done and will do again. Lord, let
this tribe of godly, discerning men like those of the tribe of Issachar
[1Chr 12:32] increase even in our day of apathy and anemic believism, while
America rots away at her core. For Thy marvelous, mighty Name's sake Lord
Ps 111:2 Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight
The works of the LORD are great. In design, in size, in number, in
excellence, all the works of the Lord are great. Even the little things of
God are great. In some point of view or other each one of the productions of
his power, or the deeds of his wisdom, will appear to be great to the wise
Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. Those who love their
Maker delight in his handiwork, they perceive that there is more in them
than appears upon the surface, and therefore they bend their minds to study
and understand them. The devout naturalist ransacks nature, the earnest
student of history pries into hidden facts and dark stories, and the man of
God digs into the mines of Scripture, and hoards up each grain of its golden
truth. God's works are worthy of our researches, they yield us instruction
and pleasure wonderfully blended, and they grow upon, appearing to be far
greater, after investigation than before. Men's works are noble from a
distance; God's works are great when sought out. Delitzsch reads the
passage, "Worthy of being sought after in all their purposes," and this also
is a grand truth, for the end and design which God hath in all that he makes
or does is equally admirable with the work itself. The hidden wisdom of God
is the most marvellous part of his works, and hence those who do not look
below the surface miss the best part of what he would teach us. Because the
works are great they cannot be seen all at once, but must be looked into
with care, and this seeking out is of essential service to us by educating
our faculties, and strengthening our spiritual eye gradually to bear the
light of the divine glory. It is well for us that all things cannot be seen
at a glance, for the search into their mysteries is as useful to us as the
knowledge which we thereby attain. The history of the Lord's dealings with
his people is especially a fit subject for the meditation of reverent minds
who find therein a sweet solace, and a never failing source of delight.
Inrig explains that there are 3 main reasons the second generation
They were satisfied with the status quo. After Joshua had led the
people in some victorious assaults on the land of Canaan, God came to him
and said, "Joshua, you are old and advanced in years, and very much of the
land remains to be possessed." Then, through Joshua, God gave orders to each
of the tribes to take their territory from the Canaanites. The first
generation did conquer parts of Canaan, but they left pockets of the enemy
untouched. Then the second generation came along. Their reaction was, "Why
bother? We have all the land we need. Those Canaanites are not so bad. We
can get along with them." God had given them a command to move out and take
the land, but they refused to move out in faith. They were content and
comfortable with the status quo.
There has never been a first generation, no matter how great it is, that
conquered all the land, that has been all God wants it to be. But the great
temptations are to believe that their experience is either the standard for
our experiences or that their ideals are beyond our expectations, and we
should settle for something less. That is wrong. God did not plan for the
experiences of previous generations to be a diving board from which we go
down, but to be a foundation on which we are to build. It is Satan's lie to
make us believe that the status quo is all there is. His strategy allows us
to say that it does not matter that the Canaanites have the valleys, as long
as we have the high country....The first sign, then, of the
second-generation syndrome is complacency about the status quo. Watch out
for it! The second cause of the syndrome is equally dangerous, one God
warned about years before it happened.
2. They took God's blessings for granted and did not acknowledge Him.
In Deuteronomy 6:10, 11, 12,
God issued a warning to His people that still speaks to us, especially in
the affluent West...The Lord God does not command us to give thanks because it makes Him feel
good, but because it does us good. Praise, worship, thanksgiving, and
acknowledgement of God's blessings are the greatest protections against the
second-generation syndrome. The solution to the problem is not a joyless
asceticism which turns its back on God's blessings. As Paul reminds us, "For
everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is
received with gratitude" (1Ti 4:4). Our attitude toward our
blessings and possessions is one of the most determinative factors in our
spiritual health. To be ungrateful about grace is not only foolish, it is
We need to recognize the subtlety of our sinful hearts. In our desperation,
we call upon God to meet our needs, and, in His infinite grace, He does.
Then, with a characteristic display of spiritual amnesia, we begin to take
the credit for God's blessing. Israel looked at the land they possessed and
said, "Look at what we did!" They became man-centered in their view of life,
and, by their attitude of self-congratulation, they sowed the seeds of
That is why the Word of God commands us to give thanks in everything. (1Th
5:18-note). This is God's expressed will for every Christian. As believer-priests
we are to "continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the
fruit of lips that give thanks to His name" (He 13:15-note). It is essential
then, in our personal lives, in our families, and in our fellowship in the
Body to cultivate and nourish a spirit of praise and thanksgiving. Apathy
dies where praise flourishes.
3. They neglected God's Word. The third cause of the second-generation syndrome is painfully obvious in
Judges. It is astonishing to discover almost no reference to the study of
Scripture in this book. What was so central in Joshua is peripheral in
Judges. The people possessed Scripture but chose to ignore it. It is almost
as if it were not written at all.
Ritually, the people did many of the things the Law required, but their
obedience was based on tradition, not on personal biblical conviction.
There is an enormous difference between a direct and an indirect
relationship to Scripture. An issue comes up in conversation, and two people
give exactly the same answer. But on the lips of one, the answer is hollow.
He is peddling secondhand convictions, something he has heard from parents
or preachers or friends. The other person says the same thing, but his
answer rings with the authority of personal conviction. He has been in the
Word himself, studied and prayed about the matter, and heard the Shepherd's
voice. That Christian know the fresh dynamic experience of walking with
Jesus Christ. Beware of secondhand convictions and secondhand experiences.
Don't neglect the Word of God! (Inrig,
G: Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay. Moody)
Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the
THEN THE SONS OF ISRAEL DID EVIL (an intentional evil which hurts
those around) IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD
Did evil in the
sight of the LORD - a repeated phrase in Judges - Jdg 2:11, 3:12, 4:`,
6:1, 10: 6, 13:1 - see notes
Hebrew word for
evil is ra' which also describes the Tree of knowledge of good
and evil! (Ge 3:5).
The phrase did evil
is common in Judges and also 24x in 1 & 2 Kings, increasing in frequency in
2nd Kings! (click
here for all 41 uses of the phrase "did evil" in the OT) It is as if the closer they got to judgment, the more evil they
became. Just a thought to ponder. Note it is also interesting that this
phrase "did evil" is not found in 1 & 2 Samuel. Could it be that the reason
is that the leaders were godly men like Samuel and David? Note also that the
evil began with Baalim (plural) but progressed to the point documented in
Five terms, simply but
succinctly, capture the pattern of these verses. They also summarize the
period of the judges because they describe the repeated cycle of 350 years.
The terms are:
It is as if the
children of Israel refused to acknowledge the truth that God was teaching
them, and, because they would not learn from the past, they were forced to
Wayne Barber comments on Judges
2:11: They adopted for themselves an Independent lifestyle. It is
very important in our understanding of covenant to realize that you
can’t live independently any longer. Example of Wayne’s marriage
covenant with his wife...he better live like he is in covenant with his
wife. He had better act like he is in covenant with his wife. Wayne’s
wife is very quiet but she carries a big stick. He has no right
whatsoever now to live independently of his covenant
relationship...Wayne and his wife live dependent on one another. As you
study covenant, you will see this principle that there is no such thing
as an independent lifestyle. (Eve wanted to live independent of God and
God called it SIN! Anytime we live independent of God the result is
SIN.) The problem with Israel was that they did evil in the sight
of God=they stepped out of line. This fits with the whole theme of the
book of Judges: ‘’Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.’’ (LIVING
INDEPENDENT OF GOD) The result of this action God called ‘’EVIL’’.
Let’s look at some of the words: EVIL: bad in contrast to good.
The Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, referred to as the
Septuagint, translates EVIL with the Greek word ''poneros
(see in depth word study)
Poneros-has several shades of meaning:
1. The effort: toilsome (a lot of
sweat goes into evil conduct!), grievous and painful.
2. The intrinsic value of this evil: useless, worthless, of no good
whatsoever. So you work hard all day...if you’re working at evil it’s
3. The effect: it always means that which is injurious and harmful to
Judges 2:11 says the Israelites did evil...
1. they worked hard at it
2. it was useless, worthless and of no good
3. and it harmed everybody that was around them...it was an injurious
What a picture...the result of them
doing what was ‘’right in their own eyes’’=>EVIL.
Remember that although we might say that their evil was, for example,
lust, immorality, etc., EVIL is what God says is EVIL! There are many
today who do not understand their relationship with God...they do not
understand the covenant of grace (when we get to Hebrews 8:6 you will
get excited...when you begin to understand that the NEW COVENANT is
something totally different than the other covenants and you begin to
realize the worthlessness of what we can do in the flesh and you begin
to recognize the beauty and purity of what God can do in and through us
you begin to see the significance of this NEW COVENANT
relationship...there are many who do not truly understand what this
entails with the result that they are still working in their own way in
an attempt to somehow please God...they are not those who live and
abide and walk in the Word...they’ve got religious works stacked
‘’bigger than Dallas’’ and God calls it EVIL!
You may be the sweetest person in the room...why you would never commit
adultery...you would never murder anyone...but in your heart there might
be an Attitude that will not allow God to be God in your life and you
are not willing to walk in ONENESS with Him. So whatever you call
‘’good’’ in your life, God calls it ‘’evil’’!
notes on Wayne's Lectures on Covenant
Covenant Precept Upon Precept
-- The best course you will
ever take -- take it then teach it and yes, pastors [jettison pride, put
on the clothing of humility
- 1Pe 5:5-note],
take it and then preach it -- I can guarantee individuals will be saved,
marriages will be saved [It saved mine! All glory to Jehovah, the
Covenant keeping God - see
Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage],
and there may well be a Spirit energized spark of revival in your
congregation from this powerful teaching.)
Covenant: Why Study It? See the "Related
Resources" Index at took of the page - follows along with the Precept
Course if you cannot take it -- at least go through the notes!)
AND SERVED THE BAALS (contrast Jdg 2:7): (Jdg 3:7; 10:6,10;
1Samuel 7:4; 1Kings 18:18; 2Chronicles 28:2; 33:3; Jeremiah 2:23; 9:14;
Hosea 2:13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
Served (abad) is in
the qal impf. The Septuagint translates abad with the Greek verb
latreuo (from latris = one hired or
latron = reward, wages) means to work for reward, for hire or for
pay, to be in servitude, render cultic service. Latreuo was used
literally for bodily service (e.g., workers on the land, or slaves), and
figuratively for “to cherish.” In
the NT the idea is to render service to God (in this context gods with a
little "g"!), to worship, to perform sacred services or to minister to God
in a spirit of worship (in fact in the NT uses below, note several passages
clearly associate worship with serving.)
With the death of
Joshua and the following generation, the last living link with Mount Sinai
was gone, and the result was gross sin. The result is that
were enslaved, (cf 2Pe 2:19-note, Jn 8:34,
Pr 5:22-note) were in bondage to the Baals (ONE GOD
<<>> many Baals!). Israel did not merely fall into sin and break
some of God's laws. They threw themselves into the sin, the supreme sin,
idolatry, the sin of all sins. The greatest sin a human being can commit is
not murder or rape or other despicable acts of atrocity. It is to turn his
back on the living God to serve man-made gods. And thus they were burdened by the Baals.
And so it was that the Israelites gave in and sank to the level of the
people they were commanded to destroy. What is not recorded here and you may
not be aware of, is the fact that Baals and Asthoreths were sex deities
and their worship of them involved not only bowing down before stone idols
but also engaging in obscene sexual practices. So Israel soon sank into
idolatry and gross immorality. Mark it down as a principle: Idolatry is
almost always associated soon with immorality!
The Hebrew word
Baal means to be master over another. Instead of allowing God to be
their husband, His people followed "the Baals"
Jeremiah 2:23 "How can you say, 'I am not defiled, I have not gone
after the Baals'? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done!
You are a swift young camel entangling her ways"
The Canaanite religion
was based on the idea that you worship your god by behaving as he does. The
result was Baal worship which was perhaps the most degraded and degrading
form of worship ever practiced on earth. The Canaanites engaged in temple
prostitution, fertility rites, drunken sexual orgies of the most debased
variety, idolatry, snake-worship, homosexuality, and even human sacrifice.
was bad wherever it existed, but in Canaan it existed in its rawest form.
Everything about it—its view of God, moral standards, ethics and values,
rituals—stood in absolute and total contradiction to everything God had
revealed about Himself to His people. However, the Israelites did the
unthinkable. They did not stop speaking of Yahweh or forget Him entirely.
Rather, they borrowed the rites, practices, and idols of Canaanite paganism
and grafted them onto their existing worship, in a new syncretistic
religion, forgetting that God said He was a Jealous God, and that He would
not share His glory with another. They were tolerant of that which God
commanded them to destroy. They accepted what God called them to hate, and
they compromised when God called them to wholehearted obedience.
HOW MUCH COMMITMENT
And thus the period of
the Judges was a seemingly endless cycle of rebellion, punishment, lament,
new leadership, and deliverance. Repeatedly Israel suffered because they
refused to commit themselves to God alone. They wanted to worship Him along
with the gods of their neighbors. Often the evil God's people suffer comes
because we want to be God's people with minimum commitment. But beloved,
commitment has only one level--total devotion. Anything else is not
Havergal well expresses the essence of commitment writing
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee
Do we sing this
hymn and mean it? Notice it is clearly a cry to God. Do we really understand
what we are asking Him to do? Or do we just mouth the words, because
everyone else is singing out so lustily? Are we sincere or sincerely
to play the entire hymn and ponder the words of Francis Havergal... if
you're not convicted, then you didn't read every stanza!)
God calls us to be 100 percent committed.
His resources can make us willing to take a stand with our friends and
neighbors against abortion. We can write our senators and oppose laws
legalizing pornography and homosexuality. Ours need not be the day of the
placid pulpit and the comfortable pew. Dante said, "The hottest place in
hell is reserved for those who, in times of crisis, preserved their
Lack of commitment
and lack of devote, dedicated leadership led
to loss of sense of God's holiness and His great works. In their deceived, stuporous condition they were ensnared by the demon gods and intoxicated by
the lusts of the flesh and eyes so they lost the proper reverential awe and fear
of Jehovah and wantonly pursued their goals and desires all the more
becoming enslaved. Sounds like America, at the turn of the 21st century!
notes) (KJV = Baalim = Hebrew ending "-im" = plural) Greek also = masculine
plural. Like most of the world they rejected the "SHEMA" of [Dt 6:4] & became
in effect "polytheists"! (see even the wise King Solomon in 1Ki 11:5, 7)
When you depart from the One True God it's amazing & frightening how far you
will go from Truth! Cp 2Ti 4:3, 4- notes
2 Timothy 4:3;
“Baals” not only
refers to images of Baal but also to various manifestations of the god (cf.
8:33; 9:4; Nu 25:3). The Canaanites were addicted to Baal worship, which was
conducted by priests in temples and outdoors, in fields and on hilltops
called “high places.” Cult activities included animal sacrifice, ritualistic
meals, and provocative dances. Near the altars the Canaanites placed symbols
of fertility: the sacred pillar (massebah) and a wooden cult object (asherah).
High places housed chambers where male prostitutes and harlots (qedeshim and
qedeshot) practiced cult prostitution (cf. 1Ki 14:23; 2Ki 23:7). God had
previously judged Israel for her association with Baal of Peor (Nu 22:41;
25:1-18; Dt 4:3, 4), but the Israelites were subtly attracted to the gaiety
and provocative character of Baal worship.
The “Ashtoreths” (ashtarot)
were figurines and various manifestations of Ashtoreth (or Asherah), the
Canaanite goddess of fertility and the consort of Baal. Closely associated
with the Babylonian Ishtar, goddess of sensual love, maternity, and
fertility, she also became identified as the patroness of war as well as
sex. Her worship was early entrenched at Sidon (cf. 1Ki 11:5, 33; 2Ki 23:13),
where she was identified as Astarte (Greek for her name). During times of
spiritual decline and apostasy, Israel continually forsook the Lord God and
served Baal and Ashtoreth (Judges 3:7; 10:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,
15, 16; 1Sa 7:3, 4; 12:10; 31:10; 1Ki 11:4, 5, 6, 7, 8;
and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them
out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the
peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they
provoked the LORD to anger.
AND THEY FORSOOK THE LORD:
[Deuteronomy 13:5; 29:18,25; 31:16,17; 32:15; 33:17]
Forsook (left) (05800)('azab
- see word study) means that they abandoned and neglected
Azab - 6x in
Judges - Jdg. 2:12, 13, 21; 10:6, 10, 13
The picture of
completeness of this act is shown by [Ge 2:24]. But here the Jews departed
from Jehovah. They committed apostasy. God Who has everything and needs
nothing sought man who is nothing without Him and yet who sought Him not! O
what wondrous Love is the deep, deep love of God!
O God Who pursues us when we are so
wicked as to spurn the precious infinite mysterious love of Calvary for that
which perishes. Woe are we O God. Forgive us O God for we have run from Your
favor, Your love, Your sweet tender mercies and constant bidding for us to
'Come'. Adulterers. Harlots, every one of us. Weep and mourn. Cleanse your
hands you sinners. O God forgive us in "Christian" America. We have rejected
You, the "Fountain of Living Waters". For Your Name's sake. Amen.
[compare Daniel's prayer in Daniel
How could a people who had seen so much
of the power of God drift so far from Him? It did not happen all at once. It
1. They lost fellowship with God by incomplete obedience. When Israel did
not drive out the people as God commanded, they were sowing the seeds of
their own spiritual failure.
2. They did not consciously remind themselves of the grace of God. They
forsook God, when they forgot all that He had done for them. That is the
reason we have the Lord's Supper in the New Testament. "Keep on doing this
in remembrance of Me," the Lord said; and every time we come to the Lord's
table, we confront ourselves afresh with the great truths of what He has
done for us.
3. They rejected the Word of God. Israel began to look at life the way the
Canaanites did. Instead of being controlled by the truths of Scripture, they
were controlled by the opinions and impulses of their sinful natures.
G: Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay. Moody
- Highly Recommended Resource)
THE GOD OF THEIR FATHERS WHO HAD BROUGHT THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT:
he had just said they "did not know the Lord" or "the work which He had done
AND FOLLOWED AFTER GODS FROM (Jdg 5:8, 8:33, 10:6- see notes
Followed is used
metaphorically here which conveys the idea of allegiance and loyalty. The
expression "walk after other gods" is prominent in Deuteronomy, where it is
used of idolatry,
THE GODS OF THE PEOPLES WHO WERE AROUND THEM AND BOWED THEMSELVES DOWN TO
THEM (Ex 20:5 Dt
Bow down (shachah)
means to worship, prostrate oneself and was used to describe idol worship,
such as the golden calf in the wilderness (Ex 32). (See the NT word for
worship which has a similar idea of prostrating one's self -
Worship [bow down] =
False gods of Canaan
were everywhere: El (strong, powerful) = supreme Canaanite deity, of
uncontrolled lust, bloody tyrant in writings at Ras Shamra in N Syria. Baal
(“lord, possessor”) = son & successor of El, “lord of heaven,” farm god of
rain & storm. Baal cult at Phoenicia = animal sacrifices, ritual meals,
There were Temple
chambers for so-called "sacred" prostitution with both men and women
(1Ki 14:23,24; 2Ki 23:7).
Anath, sister-wife of
Baal = Ashtoreth (Astarte), patroness of sex and war, called “virgin” and
“holy” but actually a “sacred prostitute.”
THUS THEY PROVOKED THE LORD TO ANGER:
Provoked the LORD
- Deut. 9:7f, 22; Jdg. 2:12; 1Ki. 15:30; 22:53; 2Chr. 28:25
Moses had clearly
warned Israel of the consequences of idolatry declaring...
"You shall not follow other gods,
any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in
the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God
will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. (Deut 6:14, 15)
Is this conclusion any
surprise. How long will God hold back His hand against any so-called
"Christian" nation that leads the world in crimes, prostitution, drug abuse
and world wide exportation of pornography?!
FAILURE - JUDGES RULE ISRAEL
- C. T. Studd, the great
missionary to China, India, and Africa, ended his life as a morphine addict.
Despite all of his success, his last days were dark ones. His mission board
dismissed him; he died a few weeks later.
Israel showed power and promise in escaping from Egypt. The people, however,
unlike Studd, displayed their selfish addictions early. Trouble erupted only
a few miles from Egypt. The faithless people, grumbling and carousing,
played out a drama of disaster and death for forty years in the desert.
Joshua's leadership brought new hope to the nation when the people finally
entered the Promised Land, but his successors, the judges, gave Israel a
topsy-turvy season of success and failure.
Some judges ruled
wisely and in peace, but others did not. And the people were mostly wicked
during the whole period.
The failure of the judges led the people to demand an earthly king. Saul,
David, and Solomon gave Israel some success, but many of the mad monarchs
that followed wrote their stories of failure in blood.
For many, the last
pretender to the throne was the greatest failure. He too wrote His story in
blood—His own. But as King of kings, He turned failure into victory.
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Judges 2:13 So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and
SO THEY FORSOOK (made a choice to abandon, to walk away from) THE
LORD (Hebrew = Husband (ba'al) as in Isaiah 54:5):
- see word study)
means abandoned, apostatized, departed from Jehovah even though He had given
clear commands (Ex 20:3, 4, 5 cf Ro 1:25-note,
The children of Israel
sought to be free by making themselves "god" and doing what was right in
their own eyes.
You can mark it down
True Freedom is not
to do as we please
but the power to do as we should.
Their attempts at
"freedom" brought them even deeper into bondage!
Isn't our response
to God often like
Let us repeat the
axiom...lest we forget it...
SIN will take you
further than you ever meant to STRAY,
Will keep you longer than you ever planned to STAY,
Will cost you more than you ever dreamed that you'd PAY!
AND SERVED BAAL AND
THE ASHTAROTH: (Jdg 2:11; 3:7; 10:6; 1Samuel 31:10; 1Kings
11:5,33; 2Kings 23:13; Psalms 106:36; 1Corinthians 8:5; 10:20, 21, 22)
is the singular noun and is the name of the patroness of sex and war.
"She" was called “virgin” and “holy” but was actually a
“sacred prostitute.” Figures of Ashtoreth (1Ki 11:5), the equivalent of the
Phoenician goddess of fertility, Astarte (Dt 16:21), which were worshiped as
idols during times of spiritual declension in Israel (Jdg 10:6-note; 1Sa 7:3,4;
12:10; 31:10; 1Ki 11:5,33; 2Ki 23:13).
The Hebrew form
Ashtaroth (NIV, "Ashtoreths") is the plural of Ashtoreth. This
name is a deliberate distortion of Astarte's name that vocalizes the last
two syllables of the name to reflect the Hebrew word boset, "shame."
Modern readers often
miss the import of Canaanite idolatry and how it so closely parallels
sexuality being practiced in the "civilized" world of the 21st
worship of a Canaanite god or goddess was no minor blemish in Israel's
history. Besides having a devastating and debasing effect on the practitioner,
the acts of worship included male and female cultic prostitutes in hetero-
homo-sexual liaisons which were fundamentally opposed to the worship of the
living God, and were acts of treason against His Covenant.
R. K. Harrison,
after describing the gross and savage worship system of the Canaanites,
"its sordid and debased nature stand in
marked contrast to the high ethical ideals of Israel. The absolute lack of
moral character in the Canaanite deities made such corrupt practices as
ritual prostitution, child sacrifice, and licentious worship the normal
expression of religious devotion and fervor. In consequence there could be
no compromise between the morality of the God of Israel and the debased
sensuality of Canaanite religion"
Judges 2:14 And the anger of the LORD burned against
Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them;
and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they
could no longer stand before their enemies.
AND THE ANGER OF THE LORD BURNED AGAINST ISRAEL:
(Septuagint translates the Hebrew with the verb orgizo the verb
orge [see word study])
Anger is actually the Hebrew word for "nose or nostril" and so this verse
could be more literally read as "His nose became hot" (glowed, was
kindled, grew warm, burned). The KJV rendering as "the anger of the LORD
was hot" is closer to the literal Hebrew, a most expressive metaphor for
the anger and one of the most obvious examples of the anthropomorphisms (Anthropomorphism
God relates to us in human terms) for
God in the OT. This word is related to a rare Aramaic root meaning "to cause
fire to burn". This word differs from other Hebrew words for anger in
that it emphasizes the "kindling" of anger, like the kindling of a fire, or
the heat of the anger, once started. It is used of Potiphar's anger burning
against Joseph when his servants falsely accused Joseph of sexual assault on
Mrs. Potiphar in Gen 39:19. This picture also recalls to mind God giving
Himself the Name "Jehovah Who is jealous" God (Ex 20:5, 34:14).This name for
Jehovah, does not refer to a shallow, childish human emotion, but instead
emphasizes that God will not tolerate a divided loyalty.
And thus God's anger
is not the petty anger of hurt feelings, but the holy anger of a righteous
response to sin. It is the revulsion of a perfect God against evil,
wickedness, and sinful rebellion.
In reverential fear
and loving obedience those whom He has bought with a price ought to honor
Him as the one true God and give Him something more than lip service for "no
one (oudeis = absolutely no one) can serve two masters..." (Mt 6:24 -note)
AND HE GAVE THEM INTO (see Ro 1.24,26,28,) THE HANDS OF PLUNDERERS
[2Ki 17:20] WHO PLUNDERED THEM:
For this same idea of
giving one over to the power of another force see the verses and notes
in Romans 1:24, 26, 28 (See notes Romans
Gave them - Jehovah repeatedly
gave Israel into the hands of their enemies. Jdg 2:14, 6:1, 11:32, 13:1- See notes
Moses had prophesied
Jehovah will cause you to be defeated
before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them, but you shall
flee seven ways before them, and you shall be an example of terror to all
the kingdoms of the earth. And your carcasses shall be food to all birds of
the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to
frighten them away. (Dt 28:25-26)
AND HE SOLD THEM INTO THE HANDS OF THEIR
ENEMIES AROUND THEM SO THAT THEY COULD NO LONGER STAND BEFORE THEIR ENEMIES:
The Hebrew idiom
(lit., "sell into the hand of") pictures the Lord as the owner of his people
who decides to sell them to another because of their unfaithfulness. See
similar idea in
[Jdg 3:8, 4:2, 10:7- See notes
10:7, Ps 106:41, Neh 9:27]
As Christians, we must not forget that
God and evil cannot coexist. Because of the Lord Jesus, we know that God's
anger blazed out at Calvary, and we will never come under His wrath. We have
been saved from wrath through Christ. But it is impossible for us to live in
sin and have fellowship with God. The disciplining hand of God will work in
our lives if we choose sin in deliberate disobedience to Him. Sin that is
not confessed to the Lord brings servitude and bondage in our lives. The joy
fades, and the frustration builds.
One of my favorite hymns is "Come,
Thou Fount of Every Blessing (play it now)."
It is a great hymn of praise to God, but there is a sad story related to it.
Two strangers were riding in a coach—a miserable-looking man and a
happy-faced woman, who was reading the hymn. She showed the hymn to her
unknown companion and told him how much the words meant to her. The man
looked at it and suddenly broke into tears. Sobbing, he said to her, "Madam,
I am the poor, unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would
give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feeling I had then."
Robert Robinson had drifted out of fellowship with God, and he knew the
awful bondage that sin brings. (Inrig,
G: Hearts of Stone, Feet of Clay. Moody)
asks the question all believers need to consider...
Have you ever had the Lord’s hand against
you? Have you ever sensed that He was against you in everything you did?
What you thought you were doing in dedication and sincerity was so opposite
to what He had said that you discovered His hand was against you. This is
what Israel discovered: Nothing seemed to work out right. They found
themselves in bondage. One after another of the tribes around them was
allowed to rule over them. These tribes came in and made slaves out of them,
year after year after painful year. (Ray
C. Stedman. Adventuring through the Bible)
eventually became their masters! Solomon records that
"His own iniquities will capture the
wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin." (Pr 5:22-see
Freedom of choice is
one of the privileges God has given us, but He instructs us and urges us to
use that freedom wisely. The laws of God are guideposts to lead us on the
path of life, and He watches the decisions we make and the roads we take.
(Pr 15:3). As long as we use our freedom wisely, we will mature in Christian
character, and God can trust us with more freedom. But if we abuse our
freedom and deliberately disobey His Word, our freedom will gradually become
bondage, the kind of bondage that can’t easily be broken. Proverbs 5:22-note
could have been used as an epitaph for Samson whom we encounter later in
Judges 13-16. It is impossible to sin without potentially becoming
bound. One of the deceitful things about sin is that it promises freedom
but only brings slavery. (cp Jn 8:34, Ro 6:16-note) The cords of sin get stronger
the more we sin, yet sin deceives us into thinking we’re free and can quit
sinning whenever we please. As the invisible chains of habit are forged, we
discover to our horror that we don’t have the strength to break them.
Millions of people in our world today are in one kind of bondage or another
and are seeking for deliverance, but the only One who can set them free is
Jesus Christ. (Jn 8:36).
Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the
LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were
WHEREVER THEY WENT THE HAND OF THE LORD WAS AGAINST THEM FOR EVIL:
(Jeremiah 18:8; 21:10; 44:11,27; Micah 2:3 )
Have you ever had
the Lord’s hand against you?
Have you ever sensed that He
was against you in everything you did?
What you thought you were doing in dedication and sincerity was so opposite
to what He had said that you discovered His hand was against you. This is
what Israel discovered. Nothing seemed to work out right. They found
themselves in bondage. One after another of the tribes around them was
allowed to rule over them. These tribes came in and made slaves out of them,
year after year after painful year.
AS THE LORD HAD SPOKEN: (Leviticus 26:15-46; Deuteronomy 4:25,
26, 27, 28; 28:15-68; Joshua 23:15,16)
For example in
Leviticus Jehovah warned Israel...
"If you do not obey Me and do not
carry out all these commandments,
15 if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My
ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My
16 I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror,
consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to
pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall
eat it up.
17 'And I will set My face against you so that you shall be struck down
before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you
shall flee when no one is pursuing you. (Lev 26:14, 15, 16, 17)
AND AS THE LORD HAD
SWORN TO THEM: (Deuteronomy 32:40,41 )
(to repay) those who hate Him to their
faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will
repay him to his face. (Dt 7:10)
"And it shall come about that just as all
the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so
the LORD will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you
from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you. (Joshua
SO THAT THEY WERE
SEVERELY DISTRESSED: (Jdg 10:9; 1Samuel 13:6; 14:24; 30:6;
"But it shall come about, if you will not
obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His
statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come
upon you and overtake you...53 "Then you shall eat the offspring of your own
body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters whom the LORD your God
has given you, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy shall
oppress you. (Deut 28:15, 53)
God Fights Against Us - In Joel’s
book of prophecy, God declared: “I am in the midst of Israel . . . . My
people shall never be put to shame” (Joel 2:27). But earlier in the chapter
God promised to fight against His people. A plague of locusts would descend
like a ravenous army on the nation (Joel 2:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
It’s hard to fathom that the Lord would fight against His chosen people. But
Israel had given their affections to other gods.
In fact, God had fought against them before. “Wherever they went out, the
hand of the Lord was against them for calamity” (Judges 2:15).
I have learned that if my own heart wanders away from God, I can count on
Him to fight to bring me back. If I become proud and self-assured, if
reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer seem like a waste of time,
God will step in and deal with me.
God will fight against us for our good. He permits us to experience defeat
so that we will listen to Him when He says, “Rend your heart, and not your
garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow
to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:13).
Don’t wait for God to fight against you before you seek His face. Return to
Him today. — Albert Lee (Our
Daily Bread - God Fights Against Us)
Because our Father’s heart is grieved
Each time we go astray,
He lifts His chastening hand in love
To help us find His way. —D. De Haan
God’s hand of discipline is a hand of love.
Judges 2:16 Then the LORD raised up judges who
delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.
THEN THE LORD RAISED UP JUDGES
(Jdg 3:9,10,15; 4:5; 6:14; 1Samuel 12:11; Acts 13:20 )
note) equates with
"saviors" for the Hebrew word "judge” = “save, rescue.” “judge” applied to
only 8/12 people we commonly call “judges,” but all of them functioned as
counselors and deliverers.
The 8 are Othniel (Jdg
(Jdg 10:1-note), Jair
Jephthah (Jdg 11:1-note), Ibzan
(Jdg 12:8-note), Elon
(Jdg 12:11-note), Abdon
(Jdg 12:13-note), Samson
RAISED UP JUDGES:
A “judge” or deliverer was
distinct from a judge in the English world today. Such a leader guided
military expeditions against foes as here and arbitrated judicial matters
(cf. Judges 4:5). There was no succession or national rule. They were local
deliverers, lifted up to leadership by God when the deplorable condition of
Israel in the region around them prompted God to rescue the people. (MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word
God established and strengthened the
"deliverers". The noun shopet ("judges") appears only in Judges
2:16-19, where it is used six times of those God raised up to “rescue” or
“save” Israel from her enemies.
The Hebrew word for “judge” is
shopet, meaning “ruler,” rather than
magistrate, and is the source of the noun mishpat, meaning “judgment” or
“justice.” Its cognates are found in Akkadian, Phoenician, Aramaic, and even
Punic (cf. A. Harris, A Grammar of the Phoenician Language, p. 153). The
basic concept of the word has to do with a verdict given by a judge and is
descriptive of every phase of the judge’s work. Therefore, the noun mishpat
means the judgment given by the shopet and, thus, may indicate justice,
ordinance, or codified law (torah) given by God Himself, since Yahweh is the
God of mishpat (Gen 18:25). Real judgment and justice cannot be separated
from Him who is the basis of all ethical righteousness (cf. N. Snaith, The
Distinctive Ideas of the Old Testament, pp. 74–77). Thus, to the Hebrew mind
God’s justice (mishpat) was not a mere idea, but an activated principle in
time and history. It was manifested in real and observable events because
the real God acted with vindicating righteousness upon His people. When
Israel sought the Lord, He raised up “judges” to accomplish His act of
deliverance for Israel. Thus, the English title “judge” may often be
misleading since it conveys the idea of acting mainly in the legal realm of
arbitrating disputes, whereas, the biblical judges were primarily “saviors”
or “deliverers” from their enemies (cf. G. Vos, Biblical Theology, pp.
Actually, the noun
shopet is not used to describe the men themselves, though the verb “judged”
is used of the action of Othniel (note
Judges 3:10), Deborah (note
Judges 4:4), Tola (note
Judges 10:2), Jair
Judges 10:3), Jephthah (note
Judges 12:7), Ibzan (note
Judges 12:8), Elon (note
Judges 12:11), Abdon (note
Judges 12:13), and
Judges 15:20). Their main duty was the act of “judging” by which they
delivered Israel from oppression.
As Cundall, in the Tyndale Old Testament
Commentary (p. 15), has shown, the actual “Judge” in Israel was the Lord
Himself; for He only is called the shopet! The individual judges were called
by divine appointment and brought to prominence in the role of a deliverer
through whom God administered His justice by empowerment with His Spirit
Judges 3:10). Perhaps later they settled as civil leaders as well, since the years
of each one’s “judgeship” are recorded after the initial deliverance of the
people from oppression.
WHO DELIVERED THEM
FROM THE HANDS OF THOSE WHO PLUNDERED THEM: (Nehemiah 9:27;
Deliver (save, help) (03467)(yasha'
- see word study)
is translated by the
with the Greek verb "sozo
(word study)" which means to save (NT rendering 149
times) or saviour (15 times). So judges would move the people from
distress to safety which would equate with deliverance and liberation to
those in bondage to evil masters.
G Campbell Morgan "The Lord raised up judges". This brief sentence records the method
of God during this period. It was a method made necessary by the repeated
failure of the people. That should. be clearly understood. These men were
not judges in our sense of the word. Neither were they appointed to rule
in the normal way. The nation was a Theocracy, halting God as King. Its
life was conditioned by His law, and His will was made known through His
worship, and the teaching of the priests. The first sentences of the
previous chapter reveal the nation inquiring of Jehovah on a matter of
national importance. The answer was direct. It was sought and obtained by
the use of Urim and Thummim by the priest (Ex 28.30). The people had no
need of any other administrators in times of obedience. When through
disobedience they passed into circumstances of difficulty and suffering,
God raised up judges who became the instruments of Divine deliverance. The
Hebrew word Shophetim is derived from a word meaning to put right, and so
to rule, and this is exactly what these men did. In the earlier cases,
when they had accomplished deliverance they retired again into private
life. Gradually they came to retain office. Samuel judged Israel forty
years. The need for them arose out of human failure: the provision was of
Divine Grace. This principle runs through all the history of man. Man
persistently fails, but God persistently overcomes man's failure in order
to man's well-being. Priests, judges, kings, prophets, are all means by
which God stoops to man's level in order to recover him. (Morgan, G. C.
Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
Our Daily Bread - Unlikely Heroes
- The book of Judges is an account of God’s people descending into
spiritual indifference and rebellion. After the death of Joshua and his
peers, the next generation “forsook the Lord God of their fathers, . . .
and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were
all around them” (Jdg. 2:12).
This dismal record of wavering allegiance hardly seems the place to find
spiritual heroes, yet four people from Judges—Gideon, Barak, Samson, and
Jephthah (Jdg 4–16)—are named in the New Testament book of Hebrews (He
11:32). Along with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and other notables, they are
commended for their faith.
Judges, however, presents these men as flawed people who nevertheless
responded to God’s call during a time of spiritual darkness in their
culture. The Bible honors them for their faith, not for their perfection.
They were recipients of God’s grace as surely as we are.
In every generation, God raises up people who are true to Him and to His
Word. The measure of their lives and of ours is not the absence of failure
but the presence of God’s gracious forgiveness and the faith to obey His
call. All of God’s champions are unlikely heroes. — David C. McCasland (Our
Daily Bread - Unlikely Heroes)
Heaven’s heroes never carve their name
On marbled columns built for earthly fame;
They build instead a legacy that springs
Out of a life lived for the King of kings. —Gustafson
Faith in Christ can make extraordinary heroes out of ordinary people.
2:17 And yet
they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other
gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the
way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the
LORD; they did not do as their fathers.
AND YET THEY DID NOT LISTEN TO THEIR JUDGES:
(1 Samuel 8:5-8; 12:12,17,19; 2 Chronicles 36:15,16; Psalms 106:43 )
Did not listen - Did not hearken. Did not listen with a view to
obeying. We must have "ears" to hear what the Spirit is saying. They heard
the words but did not heed the warnings!
This implies that the
judges were giving instructions in godliness and righteous living and yet
these "words of life" went in one ear and out the other so to speak as shown
by Israel's rapid return to idolatry when the judge died.
FOR THEY PLAYED THE HARLOT AFTER OTHER GODS: (Exodus 34:15,16;
Leviticus 17:7; Psalms 73:27; 106:39; Hosea 2:2; Revelation 17:1, 2, 3, 4,5)
had been warned (that's one of the great purposes of God's Word - Are
you reading it daily, looking for those "divine stop signs" so to speak?)
(Ex 34:13-16) “But rather, you are to
tear down their altars and
smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim
14 –for you shall not worship
any other god, for the LORD,
whose name is Jealous, is a jealous (qin'ah)
God–15 otherwise you might make a covenant (karath
with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with
their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to
eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you might take some of his daughters for your
sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your
sons also to play the harlot with their gods (cf an example of this national
travesty in Nu 25:1-11).
The KJV is more vivid
rendering it as they went "whoring after other gods." They
Played the harlot
(zanah) refers primarily to a sexual relationship outside of marriage and
can thus encompass prostitution as well as adultery. In context the metaphor
compares Israel to an unfaithful wife who has violated her marriage covenant
and embraced other lovers (the Canaanite gods).
Remember that one
translation of "Ba'al" is "husband" (speaking to Israel Isaiah
54:5 records "your husband [ba'al] is your Maker, Whose name is the
LORD of hosts"; See also Jer 31:32) and that Jehovah was Israel's Husband,
helps one understand the choice of language that pictures Israel's apostasy
as marital infidelity or as an unfaithful wife.
AND BOWED THEMSELVES DOWN TO THEM. THEY TURNED ASIDE QUICKLY FROM THE WAY
IN WHICH THEIR FATHERS HAD WALKED: (Exodus 32:8; Deuteronomy
9:12,16; Galatians 1:6)
The same phrase used of golden calf
episode, where Moses declares...
And I saw that you
had indeed sinned against the LORD your God. You had made for yourselves a
molten calf; you had turned aside quickly from the way which the LORD had
commanded you. (Deut 9:16)
IN OBEYING THE
COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD; THEY DID NOT DO AS THEIR FATHERS: (Jdg
2:7; Joshua 24:24,31)
The people wasted
their suffering. They didn’t learn the lessons God wanted them to learn and
profit from His chastening.
Ray Stedman sees some powerful
lessons for believers in the book of Judges writing that...
The great lesson of Judges is that we
must take God seriously, and we must take our enemy seriously. Jesus Christ
has come to save us from our sins, not to help us to comfortably accommodate
ourselves to them. He has come to drive those sins and habits out of us. If
we do not take God seriously about these so-called little things, then step
by step, gradually and imperceptibly, we will move away from God’s grace,
and we will sink into moral and spiritual collapse.
Occasionally, we hear the story of an
outstanding man or woman of God who suddenly, unexpectedly is found to be
caught up in dishonest or immoral behavior. A scandal erupts, then
widespread disillusionment. People shake their heads in bewilderment and
ask, “How could this happen so suddenly? What caused this abrupt change in
this person?” I’m convinced that in almost every case, there was nothing
sudden about this behavior. Long before this seemingly sudden moral
implosion took place, there was a long period of inner deterioration,
gradual compromise, secret sins, little sins. They took their toll, day by
day, until a major moral collapse became inevitable.
You may be asking yourself, “Is this
happening to me? In some area of my life am I saying, ‘Lord, this really
isn’t very important. Why bother me with this little matter? This isn’t very
important, is it Lord?’ “ That is a dangerous attitude. If that is your
attitude, you are exposing yourself to peril.
Listen to the message of Judges. Read the
book carefully. Listen to God’s warning-yet-loving voice. If you read it
closely, with an open heart, you will make the same discovery I did: The
book of Judges is a mirror in which we are able to see ourselves and our
condition more clearly. May God give us the courage and the wisdom to take
the insights of Judges and apply them personally, so that the image we see
in that mirror will look less like that of failed, deteriorating Israel and
more like Jesus Christ. (Stedman, Ray: Adventuring through the Bible.
Judges 2:18 And when the LORD raised up judges for
them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their
enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their
groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.
English translation of the
Septuagint (LXX): And because the Lord raised
them up judges, so the Lord was with the judge, and saved them out of the
hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved at
their groaning by reason of them that besieged them and afflicted them.
AND WHEN THE LORD RAISED UP JUDGES FOR THEM, THE LORD WAS WITH THE JUDGE
AND DELIVERED THEM FROM THE HAND OF THEIR ENEMIES ALL THE DAYS OF THE JUDGE
FOR THE LORD WAS MOVED TO PITY BY THEIR GROANING: (Exodus 3:12;
Joshua 1:5; Acts 18:9,10) (Jdg 10:16; Genesis 6:6; Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalms
90:13; 106:44,45; Jeremiah 18:7-10; Hosea 11:8; Jonah 3:10) (Exodus 2:24;
2Kings 13:4,22,23; Psalms 12:5)
Jehovah raised up
Judges This verse teaches us 3 significant facts about the judges:
(1) God raised them up. They were not appointed by men or elected. As an
aside, this is also an example of mercy (not giving Israel what they
deserved) and grace (giving them what they did not deserve) -- remember that
whenever you study Israel and are tempted to point a finger of condemnation
at them, there are four fingers pointing back at you. Flesh is always going
to be flesh, and Israel is just a vivid picture of our
(2) God was with them empowering them to carry out the task He gave them.
(3) God worked through the judges who were the channels of His presence.
As long as the judge
was alive, God brought freedom and victory to His people. One might say that
during this period, Israel was essentially functioning as a theocracy for
these leaders were directly raised up by God, empowered by God, and
answerable to God, the King in Israel.
means to utter sounds of despair, especially as a result of oppression. A
groan refers to a non-verbal guttural noise of great physical pain and
"(Israel in Egyptian bondage) So God
heard their groaning and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob." (Ex 2:24)
"And furthermore I have heard the
groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in
bondage; and I have remembered My covenant. (Exodus 6:5)
Jehovah is still the same here in Judges
(circa 1100bc) as He was in Egypt (circa 1400 bc) when Israel groaned
under Egyptian slavery. Truly God's mercies never cease! Hundreds of years
do not cool the warmth of His compassions. Truths such as these should cause
of to read the Old Testament with a sense of anticipation and excitement at
what we will discover about our infinite God.
God is not a man and so He does not break
His covenants, and He does not desert His people. In fact, as the people
experience their richly deserved judgment, we read He "was moved to pity by
their groaning." What a beautiful picture of God's heart of compassion!
His people sin against Him even as a
faithless wife commits harlotry with strangers. They rebelled, rejected Him,
and spurned the love of He was a husband to them. God could easily and
justifiably declared "That's enough" and justice would had have no
complaint. But as God saw Israel wallowing in their bondage of sin, His
heart was moved with pity and love. Judges is full of the grace of God, the
same grace and love which ultimately sent the Lord Jesus to the Cross. If
God allowed men to be destroyed in their sin, the angels would keep on
singing their eternal song: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts." But
God's love keeps reaching out, to be consummated in the ultimate cost of
BECAUSE OF THOSE
WHO OPPRESSED AND AFFLICTED THEM:
(lachats) means to press, experience distress, crush, etc. There is no
more graphic word picture of the meaning of this Hebrew verb than that of
Balaam's donkey squeezing up against the wall and thereby crushing Balaam's
foot ("crushed Balaam's foot" Nu 22:25).
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
F B Meyer
commenting on "The Lord raised them up judges" writes...
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.” (Meyer, F. B.
Our Daily Homily)
Judges 2:19 But it came about when the judge died, that
they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following
other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their
practices or their stubborn ways.
BUT IT CAME ABOUT WHEN THE JUDGE DIED THAT THEY WOULD TURN BACK:
(Jdg 2:7; 3:11,12; 4:1; 8:33; Joshua 24:31; 2Chronicles 24:17,18 )
(Jdg 2:7) The people served the LORD all
the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who
had seen all the great work of the LORD which He had done for Israel.
(Jdg 3:11) Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz
died.12 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So
the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they
had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
(Jdg 4:1) Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD,
after Ehud died.
(Jdg 8:33) Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of
Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their
But - Always
pause, ponder and query this strategic
term of contrast. They reversed their
direction, turning from good to evil.
the problem that occurred when the judge died, noting that often we...
"discover the true nature of people by
observing them when they are not bound by external constraints. Take a class
full of second graders. Let the teacher leave the room and all Cain gets
raised. They, like Israel, are showing their true nature. During a judge’s
lifetime Israel tolerates an external righteousness. But let the judge die,
let the “restraining one” be taken out of the way, and there is continual
slopping back into idolatry. Even the kindness of God (Judges 2:16, 18)
does not move the Israelites to faithfulness or repentance. They do not and
apparently cannot keep themselves from the slavery of sin (Judges 2:19);
they are held in sin’s grip; they have Baal in their blood. Sometimes we
have difficulty understanding the slavery of sin (a key theme of Judges, by
the way), understanding sin as power. There is a mystery about it.... “When
the judge died, they turned back and acted more corruptly than their
fathers” (Judges 2:19). Why did they always do that? Why could they not break
that pattern? It is mysterious; but Judges does teach us that that is the
tragic tyranny of sin.
Sin is not simply an action you do or fail to do,
that you can choose to do or not to do. Sin is a power that holds you in its
grip. That is precisely what the apostle meant when he averred that all
— both Jew and Gentile, both religious man and pagan man — are “under sin”
(Ro 3:9-note), by which he means “under the power of sin” (RSV). And until
the church gets a proper view of sin, we will never see salvation as much
more than a moving religious charade rather than as an act of holy, vicious
violence by which Christ wrenches his people out of the clammy clutches of
the prince of darkness (cf. 1John 3:8).(Ralph
Davis Judges: Such a Great Salvation - Focus on the Bible)
AND ACT MORE CORRUPTLY THAN THEIR FATHERS IN FOLLOWING OTHER GODS TO
SERVE THEM AND BOW DOWN TO THEM: (Jeremiah 16:12; Matthew 23:32 )
Bow down (Shachah)
means to prostrate one's self...vivid picture of what the Chosen people were
doing in direct rebellion to God's very explicit command (see esp. Ex 20:5)
in Ex 20:3, 4, 5, but be aware that we can do it in the NT as taught in Col 3:6
(greed = idolatry! Watch over your heart w all diligence).
Jeremiah 2:5 :... That they went far
from Me And walked after emptiness and became empty? (NIV = They followed
worthless idols and became worthless themselves.)
translates "bow down" with the picturesque verb
(see word study) which conveys the basic sense to bow down
and kiss someone's feet, garment hem, or the ground in front of him (picture
God's people kissing the feet of gods which are no gods! - this is how far
you can go when you abandon God!) and thus means to express in attitude or
gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to a high
authority figure. It means to fall down and worship or to prostrate oneself
before and reverence or welcome respectfully! This is what Israel was doing
to the vile Canaanite idols which were associated with unspeakable depravity
THEY DID NOT
ABANDON THEIR PRACTICES OR THEIR STUBBORN WAYS: (1Samuel 15:23;
Psalms 78:8; Jeremiah 3:17; 23:17)
hardhearted, stiff-necked, obstinate..
Judges 2:19 has an
unusual use of the Hebrew verb (naphal) which means abandon, cease = NIV
renders it "refused to give up". The
translates naphal with aporripto
which gives us a vivid picture for this same verb is used in the NT in Acts
27:43 to describe those who "should jump overboard" from a ship that
would soon be wrecked! (Interesting thought to ponder in context of
idolatry!) In Jdg 2:19 the root problem seems to be that they never made a clean
break (note Greek verb is in the
which calls for a decision of our will
to carry out a certain action) with the false gods...they chose not to "jump
overboard" from this "ship of idols" even though it was bound for certain
What is the important lesson for believers today? These verses serve
as a testimony and reminder that sin is always a serious matter to the
children of God. If we do not deal decisively with sin in our lives, we will
never experience the fullness of the Spirit and Christ's victory over sin.
There must be no compromise and no peaceful coexistence with sin. If we try
to go only part of the way in our commitment to the Lord Jesus, we will find
ourselves bound up in a spiral that inexorably takes us downhill
The cycle of disobedience, discipline, despair, deliverance is seen today
whenever God’s people turn away from His Word and go their own way.
The spiritual theme at this point is ether obvious: God gives the victory to
all believers but
only by faith and obedience do we enter fully into the victory He has made
available. He is sovereign but He demands personal response and
The antidote to the
Judges complex is the constant application of 1 John 1:9 to our lives.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful
and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness." (1Jn 1:9)
That is God's
provision for fellowship, and our opportunity for abundant, victorious
The pattern of
Joshua-Judges serves as an excellent illustration of the conflicts of the
Christian life. In Christ we have been guaranteed total victorious
possession of “the land.” The inheritance of our salvation is assured,
however, we must maintain our personal relationship to God by continually
driving out our “enemies.” Therefore, separated and dedicated Christian
living is necessary to maintain the victory which has been assured to us.
If you want to know just how up-to-date the Book of Judges is, listen to the
words of the late General Douglas MacArthur: “In this day of gathering
storms, as moral deterioration of political power spreads its growing
infection, it is essential that every spiritual force be mobilized to defend
and preserve the religious base upon which this nation is founded; for it
has been that base which has been the motivating impulse to our moral and
national growth. History fails to record a single precedent in which nations
subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline.
There has been either a spiritual reawakening to overcome the moral lapse,
or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”
Judges 2:20 So the anger of the LORD burned against
Israel, and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which
I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice,
SO THE ANGER OF THE LORD BURNED
(Jdg 2:14; 3:8; 10:7; Exodus 32:10,11; Deuteronomy 32:22 ) (Jos 23:16, Dt
4:24, 25, 26, 27, 28)
Anger of Jehovah
burned - Literally "His nose
became hot" (See
Judges 2:14 Comments)
Jehovah's anger burned
repeatedly in Judges...
(Jdg 2:14) The anger of the LORD
burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who
plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around
them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.
(Jdg 3:8) Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so
that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia;
and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.
(Jdg 10:7) The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He sold
them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the sons of
AND HE SAID, "BECAUSE THIS NATION HAS TRANSGRESSED MY COVENANT WHICH I
COMMANDED THEIR FATHERS, AND HAS NOT LISTENED TO MY VOICE,
Why did God punish Israel?
How did He punish
Is there any lesson for us, especially
when we have a besetting ("pet") sin that we refuse to give up (enabled of
course by the Spirit = Ro 8:13-note)?
Judges 2:21 I also will no longer drive out before them
any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,
I ALSO WILL NO LONGER DRIVE OUT
BEFORE THEM ANY OF THE NATIONS WHICH JOSHUA LEFT [Jos 23:5,13] WHEN HE DIED:
[Judges 2:3, 3:3, Joshua 23:13; Ezekiel 20:24]
Again Israel had been
clearly warned by Joshua (so it was not that long ago! How quickly our flesh
forget truth! Little wonder Jesus advised daily intake of daily bread - Mt
4:4, Lk 4:4)
(Josh 23:13) know with certainty that the
LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you;
but they will be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and
thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the LORD
your God has given you.
God allowed the
Canaanites to remain in the land
(1) to punish Israel's apostasy (Judges 2:20),
(2) to test Israel (Judges 2:22),
(3) to teach Israel how to fight (Judges 3:2).
Judges 2:22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they
will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not."
IN ORDER TO TEST ISRAEL BY THEM:
(Genesis 22:1; Deuteronomy 8:2,16; 13:3; 2Chronicles 32:31; Job 23:10;
Psalms 66:10; Proverbs 17:3; Malachi 3:2,3)
(Pr 17:3) The refining pot is for silver
and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests hearts.
Moses had warned
Israel before they entered the promised land that they would be tested (Do
you believe you will be tested? Do you chaff at God's testing times?).
"And you shall remember all the way which
the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He
might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart (to
reveal Israel's true character),
whether you would keep His commandments or not. "And He humbled you and let
you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your
fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by
bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of
the LORD. (Deut 8:2-3)
In the wilderness He fed you manna which
your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might
test you, to do good for you in the end. (Deut 8:16)
you shall not listen to the words of that
prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing
you (the test was to determine if Israel was loyal to the Lord) to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with
all your soul. (Deut 13:3)
Tested by them -
Who is them?
The pagan idol worshipping nations. By
whom or what is God testing you beloved? Our hearts are prone to wander, so
we are always in need of testing and refining of our hearts. The tests will
not cease until we see the King face to face in glory.
most OT uses has idea of testing or proving quality of someone or something
and doing so often through adversity or hardship. As the following context
makes clear (note "to see," lit., "to know," in 3:4), the purpose of this
divine test was to determine if Israel was truly loyal. An examination of
parallel passages shows that such divine tests were designed to reveal
otherwise hidden character qualities. Testing which shows
what someone is really like generally involves difficulty or hardship.
Swanson sums up
Nacah - 1. (piel) test, try, i.e., attempt to learn the true
nature of something (1Ki 10:1); 2. (piel) attempt, try, i.e., exert oneself
to do something (Dt 4:34); 3. (piel) test, try, i.e., cause or allow
hardship or trouble in a circumstance, often with choices within the
situation, implying a different outcome is possible (Jdg 2:22)
Baker - 5254.
נָסָה nāsāh: A verb meaning to test, to try, to prove. Appearing
nearly forty times in the Old Testament, this term often refers to God
testing the faith and faithfulness of human beings, including Abraham (Gen.
22:1); the nation of Israel (Ex. 15:25; 16:4; 20:20; Deut. 8:2, 16; 13:3;
Judg. 2:22; 3:1, 4); Hezekiah (2 Chr. 32:31); David (Ps. 26:2). Although
people were forbidden from putting God to the test, they often did so (Ex.
17:2, 7; Num. 14:22; Deut. 6:16; 33:8; Ps. 78:18, 41, 56; 95:9; 106:14; Isa.
7:12). Testing, however, does not always suggest tempting or enticing
someone to sin, as when the Queen of Sheba tested Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kgs.
10:1; 2 Chr. 9:1); and Daniel’s physical appearance was tested after a
ten-day vegetarian diet (Dan. 1:12, 14). Finally, this term can refer to the
testing of equipment, such as swords or armor (1 Sam. 17:39). (Complete
Word Study Dictionary- Old Testament)
Nacah - 34x in
OT - See these use below. Translated in NAS = make a test(1),
proved(1), put(1), put to the test(2), tempted(3), test(13),
tested(9), testing(3), tried(1), try(1), venture(1), ventures(1).
Testing quality of someone or something through stress. Dt 6:16, 8:16,
Ps 78:18 Lxx = ekpeirazo 
KJV =“tempt” for “test” = confusing because "tempt" ~ “enticing to do wrong”
yet God does not tempt man (Ja1:13), so rendering “TEMPT” became a problem.
In Ge 22:1 God was
testing (REFINING) the character of Abraham & did the same with Hezekiah in
2Chr 32:31 because God wants us to walk more closely to His way (Ex 16:4; Dt
8:2; Jdg 2:22; Ps 26:12).
NACAH, TSARAPH, BACHAN = TEST
1). Nacah/nasah = an attempt to prove the
existence of a particular quality in someone or something.
=“to refine,” usually indicating the purifying result of divine
3). Bachan focuses attention on an examination to prove the existence of some
spiritual quality, such as integrity.
NOTE: Underlying each words is the
conviction that even when a test involves difficulty or suffering, God
intends His tests of our faith to bring us something good.
Attempt to do something. of attempting or venturing a word which might
offend hearer Job 4:2; of venturing to touch one's foot to ground Dt
28:56; of trying to take a nation (Israel) fr another nation (Egypt) Dt 4:34
of TESTING VARIOUS THINGS armor and WEAPONS 1Sa17:39
PLEASURE Eccl 2:1; Eccl 7:23
Most uses of nacah deal with PERSON or NATION UNDERGOING TRIAL OR DIFFICULT
Man is FORBIDDEN TO PUT GOD TO THE TEST Dt 6:16 but OT records that he did
so. MASSAH ("TRIAL") = byword in this regard, often combined in a play on
words with nasa, "to try" (Ex 17:2, 7; Dt 6:16; Dt 33:8; Ps 95:8, 9; cf. Dt
9:22). Those who put God to the proof in the wilderness would not see Canaan
(Num 14:22-23). The hymns of Israel reflect this DEFIANT ATTITUDE (see Ps
78:18, 41, 56; Ps 106:14).
OF MAN PUTTING ANOTHER MAN TO THE TEST: Queen of Sheba TESTED SOLOMON
with hard questions (1 Ki 10:1; 2Chr 9:1); chief of the eunuchs TESTED the
appearance of DANIEL and his friends after they ate vegetables for ten days
(Dan 1:12, 14); FALSE PROPHETS sometimes were the instrument for TESTING A
MAN'S FAITH (Deut 13:3 [H 4]).
Often GOD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TESTINGS AND TRIALS UPON MAN. God delivered
Israel by sending "great trials" upon the Egyptians (Dt 7:19; Dt 29:3); but
He later TESTED ISRAEL BY THE CANAANITE NATIONS (Jdg 2:22; Jdg 3:1, 4). GOD
TESTED BOTH ABRAHAM (Gen 22:1) and HEZEKIAH (2Ch32:31). SUCH TESTING BY GOD,
HOWEVER, WAS NOT WITHOUT INTENT. It was to REFINE THE CHARACTER of man that
he might walk more closely in God's ways (Ex 16:4; Dt 8:2; Jdg 2:22;
2Ch32:31; Ps 26:1-3).
When a believer comes through a trial still trusting the Lord, he is assured
that his faith is genuine (Ge 22:1-12; Job 1:20-22, 42:5,6 => Job's
perseverance ultimately resulted in a clearer revelation of God and His
Here are the 34 OT
Uses of Nacah/nasah...
Ge 22:1 Now it came
about after these things, that God tested (Lxx =
Abraham, and said to him,
“Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had
received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
Ex 15:25 Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and
he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.
There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested
Ex 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven
for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day,
that I may test (Lxx =
them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction.
Ex 17:2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water
that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why
do you test (Lxx =
Ex 17:7 He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the
sons of Israel, and because they tested (Lxx =
the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among
us, or not?”
Ex 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in
order to test (Lxx =
you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so
that you may not sin.”
Nu 14:22 “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I
performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test
ten times and have not listened to My voice,
Dt 4:34 “Or has a god tried (Lxx =
to go to take for himself a nation from within
another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty
hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God
did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Dt 6:16 You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him
at Massah. (Both Lxx uses = ekpeirazo)
Dt 8:2 “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you
in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing
(Lxx = ekpeirazo) you,
to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or
Dt 8:16, “In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did
not know, that He might humble you and that He might test (Lxx =
ekperiazo) you, (Why did He
test them?) to do good
for you in the end. (cf Heb12:5)
Dt 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of
dreams; for the Lord your God is testing (Lxx =
you to find out if you love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Dt 28:56 “The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to
set the sole of her foot (Literally = who hath not tried
the sole of her foot ) on the ground for delicateness and refinement,
shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and
Dt 33:8 Of Levi he said, “Let Your Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your
godly man, Whom You proved (Lxx =
peirazo) at Massah, With whom You contended at the waters
Jdg 2:22 in order to test (Lxx =
Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of
the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.”
Jdg 3:1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test (Lxx =
Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan;2 only
in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war,
those who had not experienced it formerly).3 These nations are: the five
lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the
Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as
Lebo-hamath.4 And they were for testing (Lxx =
peirazo) ISRAEL, to find out if they would
obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers
Jdg 6:39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let Your anger burn against
me that I may speak once more; please let me make a test (Lxx =
peirazo) once more with the
fleece, let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all
1 Sa 17:39 David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he
had not tested (Lxx =
peirazo) them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I
have not tested (Lxx =
peirazo) them.” And David took them off.
1 Ki 10:1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon
concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test (Lxx =
peirazo) him with difficult
2 Ch 9:1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came
to Jerusalem to test (Lxx =
peirazo) Solomon with difficult questions. She had a very large
retinue, with camels carrying spices and a large amount of gold and precious
stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was
on her heart.
2 Ch 32:31 (Read 2Chr 32:30 for context) (THE TEST =) A Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who
sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left
him alone only to test (Lxx =
peirazo) him, that He might know all that was in his heart
(Ed: Hezekiah showed the Babylonian envoys ALL of the treasuries! And
Isaiah then prophesied that Judah would one day future be taken into
captivity in Babylon. Hezekiah's son was evil Manasseh)..
Job 4:2 “If one
ventures (tried) a word with you, will you become impatient?
But who can refrain from speaking?
Ps 26:2 (Context Ps 26:1) Examine
(bachan = to try like testing metals for their authenticity and purity. ) me, O Lord, and
(nasah/nacah; Lxx =
= to refine; cast, goldsmith, melt, purge away, try.
) my mind and my heart. (All red verbs = commands).
Ps 78:18 And in their heart they put God to the
test (ekperiazo) By asking food
according to their desire.
Ps 78:41 Again and again they tempted (Lxx =
peirazo) God, And pained the Holy One of
Ps 78:56 Yet they tempted (Lxx =
peirazo) and rebelled against the Most High God And did not
keep His testimonies,
Ps 95:9 “When your fathers tested (Lxx =
peirazo) Me, They tried Me, though they had
seen My work.
Ps 106:14 But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted
peirazo) God in
Ec 2:1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test (Lxx =
peirazo) you with pleasure. So enjoy
yourself.” And behold, it too was futility.
Ec 7:23 I tested (Lxx =
peirazo) all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it
was far from me.
Isa 7:12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test(Lxx =
peirazo) the Lord!”
Da 1:12 "Please test (Lxx =
peirazo) your servants for ten days, and let us be given some
vegetables to eat and water to drink.'' 13 "Then let our appearance be
observed in your presence, and the appearance of the youths who are eating
the king's choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you
see."14 So he listened to them in this matter and tested (Lxx =
peirazo) them for ten days.
WHETHER THEY WILL
KEEP THE WAY OF THE LORD TO WALK IN IT AS THEIR FATHERS DID OR NOT:
What was the purpose
of the testing?
Affliction God allows
or brings is good for our spiritual health...
Ps 119:71 It is good for me that I was
afflicted, That I may learn Thy statutes. (cp Pr 6:23, Ps 94:12, Ps 119:67,
He 12:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Judges 2:23 So the LORD allowed those nations to remain,
not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of
SO THE LORD ALLOWED
THOSE NATIONS TO REMAIN, NOT DRIVING THEM OUT QUICKLY; AND HE DID NOT GIVE
THEM INTO THE HAND OF JOSHUA:
So (KJV =
term of conclusion
conquest is general in nature; much of the land remains to be possessed
Now Joshua was old and advanced in years
when the LORD said to him, "You are old and advanced in years, and very much
of the land remains to be possessed. (Joshua 13:1).
The Danger of Indecision
WE admire the
condescension of Jehovah towards his chosen people, in that he raised up
prophets to instruct them, and not unfrequently sent angels also to minister
unto them. But the person who is here called “an Angel of the Lord,” seems
to have been no other than “the Angel of the Covenant,” the Lord himself. It
is certain that Jehovah did sometimes assume the appearance of an angel; as
when he visited Abraham, and informed him of the judgments that were about
to be inflicted on Sodom and Gomorrha. And it is clear that the person
spoken of in our text was no created angel; for if he had, how could he with
any propriety use such language? It was not a creature that brought the
Israelites out of Egypt; but Jehovah. It was not a creature that made a
covenant with them; but Jehovah. It was not a creature to whom they were
accountable for their disobedience, or whose threatened dereliction they had
such reason to deplore, but Jehovah: and the circumstance of his being said
to come up from Gilgal, which is supposed to militate against this
interpretation, rather confirms it: for it was in Gilgal, near to Jericho,
that this same divine person had appeared to Joshua, as an armed warrior.
That he was Jehovah, cannot be doubted; because he suffered Joshua to
worship him; and even commanded him to put off his shoe from his foot,
because the very ground whereon he stood was, by reason of his presence,
rendered holy. In his conversation with Joshua he had called himself “the
Captain of the Lord’s host;” and therefore there was a particular propriety
in his appearing now to the people, to inquire, “Why they had not carried
his orders into effect? and to threaten that he would fight for them no
longer. Besides, at Gilgal the people had revived the ordinance of
circumcision, and had kept a Passover unto the Lord; in both which
ordinances they had consecrated themselves to God afresh, and engaged to
serve him, as his redeemed people. In coming therefore as from Gilgal, the
Angel reminded them of their solemn engagements, and humbled them the more
for their violation of them.
The particular address
of the Lord to them, together with the effect it produced upon them, leads
us to consider,
I. The danger of
The command which God had given to the
Israelites was plain and express: they were “utterly to destroy the
Canaanites, and to make no covenant with them:” (Dt 7:2) and on their
performance of this condition was suspended the continuance of God’s
interposition in their favour. But they were not careful to execute the
divine command: and therefore God threatened, that the Canaanites, whom they
had presumed to spare, should become a lasting source of pain to them; that
they would gradually draw them into sin, and ultimately become instruments
of inflicting on them the vengeance they had merited.
Such is the sin
which God’s professing people still commit—
[The command to every one of us is to
make no league with any one of our spiritual enemies; not with the world: on
the contrary, we are to “overcome it;” to “come out from the people of it,
and be separate;” to be “dead to” all its cares and pleasures, “being
crucified to it, and esteeming it as crucified unto us:” we are “not to be
of it, any more than Jesus Christ himself was of it.” With respect to the
flesh also and our corrupt nature, no truce must be made with it, even for a
moment: we must “mortify our members upon earth,” and “crucify the flesh
with the affections and lusts:” we must not spare one evil desire, though it
should be dear as “a right eye,” or useful as “a right hand;” we must “pluck
it out with abhorrence, or cut it off, and cast it from us.” It is not
sufficient to make them pay tribute: we must slay them; we must “shew them
no mercy;” (Dt 7:2) our hatred of them must be irreconcilable and
But what is our state? Do we find in
ourselves this zeal? Instead of proceeding to the utter extirpation of our
spiritual enemies, are we not satisfied if they do not reign? Are we not
contented to let them exist, provided they keep themselves concealed from
public view? — — — What then is the declaration of God unto us? Does he not
warn us, that the evils which we spare shall become “as thorns in our sides,
and prove a snare unto our souls?” And do we not find that it is even so in
our daily experience? Let the person who still associates with the men of
this world, say, whether he does not find that they are a clog to him in his
spiritual course? whether his endeavours to please them do not lead him
sometimes into sinful compliances, and his fear of displeasing them do not
keep him from testifying against their evil ways? Will any say that he has
found it practicable for “light to have communion with darkness, or Christ
with Belial;” or that the soul can flourish whilst it is engaged in such a
foolish attempt as that of reconciling the services of God and Mammon? Let
the person who is still too deeply immersed in the cares or pleasures of the
world, say, whether he has not often been led to strain his conscience in
order to prosecute his ends, and to adopt some practices which in his heart
he disapproved? — — — Let the person who harbours some besetting sin, ask,
whether it has not often risen up with a force that was almost irresistible,
and nearly, if not altogether, involved him in some flagrant transgression?
Let the person in whom pride, or lewdness, or covetousness, or passion is
suffered to dwell, answer this question — — — He knows but little of his own
heart, who does not know, that sin is a flame, which, if not extinguished,
may speedily “set on fire his whole nature,” (Jas 3:6 with Dt. 32:2) and
“burn to the lowest hell.” Lastly, Let the person who listens to the
temptations of Satan, say, whether there be any way of making him flee, but
by perpetual resistance? [Jas 4:7-
— — —]
If such then be the
danger of indecision, let us consider,
II. The duty of
those who are convicted of it—
Two things were
produced by the declarations of the Angel in the breasts of all the
congregation of Israel; which also our own experience calls for; namely,
1. An humiliation
of soul before God—
[The people “lifted up their voice and
wept.” And who amongst us has not abundant reason to follow their example?
Whether we consider our sin or our punishment, we have but too much reason
to weep. Indecision is not so light a sin as some imagine: (Job 31:25, 28)
it shews an insincerity of heart, which is most odious in itself, and most
offensive to God. See in what a light the Israelites beheld it, when once a
conviction of it was brought home to their minds! and is not the sparing of
inveterate lusts as wicked as sparing the devoted Canaanites? Does it not
betray an equal want of reverence for God, of love to his name, and of zeal
for his honour? Behold then what is the duty of every one amongst us: “Be
afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning,
and your joy into heaviness; humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
and he shall lift you up.” (Jas 4:9-note,
Nor does the threatened punishment afford us less occasion to weep: for a
subjection to sin is the greatest evil that can befall us. If God should
once say, “He is joined to idols; let him alone;” it would be a heavier
judgment to us than immediate death and immediate damnation; because we
should live only to “treasure up wrath against the day of wrath,” and should
perish at last under an accumulated weight of misery to all eternity. O that
the dread of such a punishment might humble us all in dust and ashes!]
2. An application
to God through the medium of sacrifice—
[“They sacrificed there unto the Lord;”
and had recourse to the blood of sprinkling for the remission of their sin.
Though their weeping was very general, and very bitter, insomuch that the
name of the place, which was Shiloh, was called Bochim, or Weepers, from
that circumstance, yet did they not hope to pacify their offended God with
tears: they knew that an atonement was necessary; and they sought him.
therefore in his appointed way. O that we might learn from them! Humiliation
is necessary; but it is not sufficient: tears, even if we could shed rivers
of them, could never wash away sin: the blood of atonement is necessary;
“without shedding of blood there is no remission.” We must apply to the Lord
Jesus Christ, and “go to God through him.” We must acknowledge our
obligation to his sacrifice for all the mercy and forbearance we have
already experienced; and must look to it as the only means of our
reconciliation with God: it is his blood, and “his blood alone, that can
ever cleanse us from our sin” — — — And here I would particularly remind you
that the sin laid to the charge of Israel, was not of commission, but of
omission; not some flagrant enormity, but a lukewarmness and neglect of
duty: yet did they see the need of a sacrifice to atone for that. In like
manner, though we should have no guilt imputed to us but that of omission
and defect, yet must we apply to the blood of sprinkling, and seek for
pardon through that one Sacrifice which was once offered for us on the
Learn then from
1. The value of a faithful monitor—
[We do not like faithful admonitions,
even from those whose special duty it is to reprove sin. We are ready to
account them harsh and severe. But what is the office which a friendly
monitor performs? Is it not that which the Angel of the Covenant himself
executed, yea, and came from heaven on purpose to perform? But it may be
said, that we alarm men, and make them melancholy: true; we shew them their
guilt and danger, and try to bring them to a state of humiliation on account
of it, and to an affiance in the Lord Jesus Christ for the pardon of it. But
is this an evil? If the whole congregation were affected precisely as the
whole congregation of Israel were, every one weeping for his sins, and
seeking the remission of them through the great Sacrifice, would it be a
matter for regret? No: we would to God that this very place might this day
deserve the name of Bochim; and that the remembrance of it might never be
obliterated from your minds! Sure we are that the congregation of Israel
felt themselves deeply indebted to Him who thus sought their welfare; and we
have no doubt but that, however an ungodly world may hate our reproofs,
there is not a contrite sinner in the universe who will not regard his
monitor as a father, and “receive him as an Angel of God, even as Christ
Jesus.” (Gal 4:14) They will not hesitate to thank him, who, by bringing
them to weep here, has kept them from weeping and wailing and gnashing their
teeth in hell for ever.]
2. The danger of
forgetting the admonitions that have been given us—
During the days of Joshua and the elders
that outlived Joshua, the Israelites maintained some measure of
steadfastness in their duty to God: but afterwards they fearfully declined,
and brought upon themselves the most afflictive judgments. The whole
remainder of the chapter from whence our text is taken, elucidates this
truth. The impressions which were now made upon them gradually wore away;
and the people relapsed into their former state of supineness. Of the
unreasonableness of their conduct they were fully convinced: for, when the
Angel asked them, “Why have ye done this?” they could not offer one word in
extenuation of their guilt: but when they ceased to listen to the voice of
conscience, they proceeded from one wickedness to another, “till there was
no remedy.” And how often is this seen amongst ourselves! Many are deeply
affected on some particular occasion: they will weep, and pray, and think of
the Saviour; but in process of time they lose all their good impressions,
and “go back with the dog to his vomit, and the sow that was washed to the
wallowing in the mire.” The Lord grant that it may not prove thus with us!
May our “goodness not be as the dew, or as the morning cloud that passeth
away;” but rather as the sun, which shines brighter and brighter unto the
perfect day. (Horae
Homileticae - Judges 2:1-5 The Danger of Indecision)
APOSTASY AND FAILURE
This was the first of
many bitter remonstrances that were to come to Israel. "The messenger
Jehovah" must be He of whom the prophet spoke (Mal. 3:1), the Word and Son
Judges 2:1-3 There
is a recital of the true cause of their failure. --It was due, not to
any failure on God's part, but to a great failure on theirs. They had made a
league with the people, and had not destroyed their idols. Was this guilty
collusion due to any shame of their allegiance to an unseen God; or was it
owing to their love of the sinful orgies which characterized the heathen
God's warning angels
still come to men. Let us be on the outlook for them. But how bitter
sometimes is their reproof? Have not we entered into covenant with forbidden
things, avoiding His altar, and disobeying His voice. And this is the reason
why we are hindered and injured by the thorn in our side and the snare for
our foot (Judges 2:3). We, at least, may learn this solemn lesson, that the
Church is no match for the world, so long as it is allied to the world; and
that the way of separation is the only path of victory and safety.
Judges 2:6-9 The
death of Joshua. -- The former part of this paragraph is identical with
Joshua 24:29. There was a parenthesis of twenty years of rest, before the
great warrior was summoned to his rest. During that time he exerted a great
repressive influence, which waned when his sun set; and another generation
Judges 2:10-15 The
sins and sorrows of Israel -- What a marvellous relapse was here! How
the heart of man abhors the spirituality and purity of God (Jer. 2:11-12).
But those who turn from God lay themselves open to bitter sorrows. If your
heart is not perfect with God, your best plans will be spoiled by spoilers,
and you will be sold as a slave to the flesh.
In the light of Judges
2:14 and Judges 2:15 it cannot be too clearly or constantly repeated that
failure in consecration and obedience always means defeat. When we follow
other gods, and bow ourselves down to them, we can no longer stand against
our enemies. Then the hand of the Lord is against us, and we become sore
distressed. But even under such circumstances He does not forget His
covenant. Though we believe not, He remaineth faithful, He cannot deny
Himself. He therefore raises up judges, and saves us from the full measure
of His wrath (Judges 2:18).
God's compassion. -- How touching is the account of God's pity (Judges
2:18). Even though we have brought grave sorrows on ourselves by sin, yet
will God interpose to avert the full brunt of penalty. Though we believe Him
not, He remaineth faithful. He cannot deny Himself. God can always find or
make deliverers in the most degenerate age of the Church; so we find here
that He raised up judges which delivered His people.
Judges 2:19-23 The
madness of their apostasy. -- After a while God left the people to the
results of their own choice, and, as they had permitted the Canaanites, they
were allowed to suffer from them, and the discipline which refined them came
through the results of the sin, from which they were to be set free. (F. B.
Meyer. CHOICE NOTES ON JOSHUA THROUGH 2 KINGS)