And it came to pass, when the judge was dead
Any one of them, the first and so all succeeding ones:
[that] they returned;
to their evil ways and idolatrous practices, from which they reformed, and for which they showed outward repentance during the life of the judge; but he dying, they returned again to them:
and corrupted [themselves] more than their fathers;
in Egypt and in the wilderness; or rather than their fathers that lived in the generation after the death of Joshua; and so in every generation that lived before a judge was raised up to deliver them out of the evils brought upon them; the children of those in every age successively grew worse than their fathers:
in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them;
not content with the idols their fathers served, they sought after and found out others, and were more constant and frequent in their worship and service of them, and increased their sacrifices and acts of devotion to them:
they ceased not from their own doings;
or, "did not let them fall" F2; but retained them, and continued in the practice of them, being what they were naturally inclined unto and delighted in:
nor from their stubborn way;
which they were bent upon, and determined to continue in: or "their hard way" F3; which their hard hearts had chosen, and they obstinately persisted in, being obdurate and stiffnecked; and which, in the issue, they would find hard, troublesome, and distressing to them, though at present soft and agreeable, and in which they went on smoothly; but in time would find it rough and rugged, offensive, stumbling, and ruinous; or it may signify a hard beaten path, a broad road which multitudes trod in, as is the way of sin.
F2 (wlyph al) "non Cadere faciebant", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Drusius.
F3 (hvqh Mkrdm) "de via sua dura", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Drusius.