The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They served the gods that were named after Baal.
They deserted the Lord, the God of their people. He had brought them out of Egypt. But now the people of Israel followed other gods and worshiped them. They served the gods of the nations that were around them. They made the LORD angry
because they deserted him. They served Baal. They also served the goddesses that were named after Ashtoreth.
The LORD became angry with Israel. So he handed them over to robbers. The robbers stole everything from them. He gave them over to their enemies who were all around them. Israel wasn't able to fight against them anymore and win.
When Israel went out to fight, the LORD's power was against them. He let their enemies win the battle over them. The LORD had warned them with an oath that it would happen. And now they were suffering terribly.
Then the LORD gave them leaders. The leaders saved them from the power of those robbers.
But the people wouldn't listen to their leaders. They weren't faithful to the Lord. They joined themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They didn't obey the LORD's commands as their people before them had done. They quickly turned away from the path their people had taken.
When the LORD gave them a leader, he was with that leader. He saved the people from the power of their enemies. He did it as long as the leader lived. He was very sorry for the people. They groaned because of what their enemies did to them. The enemies beat them down. They treated them badly.
But when the leader died, the people returned to their evil ways. The things they did were even more sinful than the things their people before them had done. They followed other gods. They served them. They worshiped them. They refused to give up their evil practices. They wouldn't change their stubborn ways.