-The Angel of the LORD (which was quite possibly a Christophany) came up from Gilgal, where He had met with Joshua previously (Joshua 5:13-15), to Bochim. His message was clear enough, “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, and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars (Exodus 23:20-33).’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?” God also told them what He had sworn before that if they did not drive out the pagan influences, they would become as thorns in their sides with their gods being a snare to them. When these words were proclaimed to the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices in weeping. Therefore, the place got the name “Bochim (weepers).” They sacrificed to the LORD there because they knew that they had transgressed a faithful God. Their sorrow was genuine, but it was not permanent (Judges 2:1-5).
-There are some canonical ties in the text next here as Joshua’s legacy is mentioned in reiteration of the last parts of the book of Joshua (Joshua 24:28-31). The people of Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua and the elders who survived him and had seen the great work of the LORD which He had done for Israel. Joshua’s death came at 110 years old, and he was buried in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. “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 (Judges 2:6-10).” This was a sad turning point in the national history of Israel. Somehow the elders had not transmitted their relational knowledge of the LORD to the younger generation. They had failed to do what God had commanded in the “Shema (Deuteronomy 6).” Or maybe it was just the rebellious spirit of the younger generation. Who knows for sure?
-What we do know is that from that point the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD provoking Him to anger by serving (worshipping) the Baals (the pagan god of storms and rain thought to control the vegetation and agriculture) and the Ashtaroth (the pagan mother goddess of love, war, and fertility, also called Astarte or Ishtar, temple prostitution and child sacrifice were a part of her worship rituals). They forsook the LORD of their fathers Who had done so much good for them in bringing them out of false religions and slavery in Egypt. Therefore, God gave them into the hands of their enemies who plundered them. They could no longer stand in victory over them because they had gone against their covenant God. “Wherever they went, the Hand of the LORD was against them for evil” in fulfillment of His threat to them should such a violation happen (Joshua 24:19-20). They were indeed “severely distressed (Judges 2:11-15).”
-Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 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. 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. 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 (Judges 2:16-19).” The anger of the LORD revealed His infuriation with their inconsistency. Because of their transgression of His covenant and not listening to His Voice, He decreed that He would no longer drive out their enemies, which Joshua left when he died. These enemies would be a constant test for them now to see if they would keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not. So, the LORD allowed these nations to remain in the Promised Land, and they were not driven out as quickly as they otherwise would have been (Judges 2:20-23).
-*Application* This saga has intense spiritual significance for us as believers. How much are we compromising with the world around us? Why would we ever forsake the incredible things that God has saved us from? Are we relationally imparting the faithfulness of Christ into the next generation who will one day take up the mantle of leadership in our society? This passage gives us clear indication as to why we still have enemies around us and have not completed total victory on this side of Heaven. Meditate on these things today and cultivate consistency in the walk with the LORD.
Verses to Memorize: Judges 2:10-11, 16-19