Judges 2

The Angel of the LORD at Bokim

1 The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you,
2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?
3 And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’ ”
4 When the angel of the LORD had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud,
5 and they called that place Bokim.[a] There they offered sacrifices to the LORD.

Disobedience and Defeat

6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance.
7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.
8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres[b] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.
11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.
12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger
13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
14 In his anger against Israel the LORD gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.
15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.
16 Then the LORD raised up judges,[c] who saved them out of the hands of these raiders.
17 Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the LORD’s commands.
18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them.
19 But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
20 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me,
21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died.
22 I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their ancestors did.”
23 The LORD had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua.

Judges 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

The angel of the Lord rebukes the people. (1-5) The wickedness of the new generation after Joshua. (6-23)

Verses 1-5 It was the great Angel of the covenant, the Word, the Son of God, who spake with Divine authority as Jehovah, and now called them to account for their disobedience. God sets forth what he had done for Israel, and what he had promised. Those who throw off communion with God, and have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, know not what they do now, and will have nothing to say for themselves in the day of account shortly. They must expect to suffer for this their folly. Those deceive themselves who expect advantages from friendship with God's enemies. God often makes men's sin their punishment; and thorns and snares are in the way of the froward, who will walk contrary to God. The people wept, crying out against their own folly and ingratitude. They trembled at the word, and not without cause. It is a wonder sinners can ever read the Bible with dry eyes. Had they kept close to God and their duty, no voice but that of singing had been heard in their congregation; but by their sin and folly they made other work for themselves, and nothing is to be heard but the voice of weeping. The worship of God, in its own nature, is joy, praise, and thanksgiving; our sins alone render weeping needful. It is pleasing to see men weep for their sins; but our tears, prayers, and even amendment, cannot atone for sin.

Verses 6-23 We have a general idea of the course of things in Israel, during the time of the Judges. The nation made themselves as mean and miserable by forsaking God, as they would have been great and happy if they had continued faithful to him. Their punishment answered to the evil they had done. They served the gods of the nations round about them, even the meanest, and God made them serve the princes of the nations round about them, even the meanest. Those who have found God true to his promises, may be sure that he will be as true to his threatenings. He might in justice have abandoned them, but he could not for pity do it. The Lord was with the judges when he raised them up, and so they became saviours. In the days of the greatest distress of the church, there shall be some whom God will find or make fit to help it. The Israelites were not thoroughly reformed; so mad were they upon their idols, and so obstinately bent to backslide. Thus those who have forsaken the good ways of God, which they have once known and professed, commonly grow most daring and desperate in sin, and have their hearts hardened. Their punishment was, that the Canaanites were spared, and so they were beaten with their own rod. Men cherish and indulge their corrupt appetites and passions; therefore God justly leaves them to themselves, under the power of their sins, which will be their ruin. God has told us how deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, but we are not willing to believe it, until by making bold with temptation we find it true by sad experience. We need to examine how matters stand with ourselves, and to pray without ceasing, that we may be rooted and grounded in love, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. Let us declare war against every sin, and follow after holiness all our days.

Cross References 54

  • 1. S Genesis 16:7; Judges 6:11
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 11:30
  • 3. ver 5
  • 4. Exodus 20:2; Judges 6:8
  • 5. Genesis 17:8
  • 6. S Leviticus 26:42-44; Deuteronomy 7:9
  • 7. S Exodus 23:32; S Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:2
  • 8. S Exodus 23:24; Exodus 34:13; Deuteronomy 7:5; 2 Chronicles 14:3
  • 9. Jeremiah 7:28
  • 10. Joshua 23:13
  • 11. S Numbers 33:55
  • 12. S Exodus 10:7; Deuteronomy 7:16; Judges 3:6; Psalms 106:36
  • 13. S Genesis 27:38; S Numbers 25:6; 2 Kings 17:13
  • 14. ver 1
  • 15. ver 17
  • 16. Joshua 1:1
  • 17. S Joshua 19:50
  • 18. S Exodus 5:2; 1 Samuel 2:12; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Galatians 4:8
  • 19. 1 Kings 15:26
  • 20. Judges 3:12; Judges 4:1; Judges 6:1; Judges 10:6
  • 21. Judges 3:7; Judges 8:33; 1 Kings 16:31; 1 Kings 22:53; 2 Kings 10:18; 2 Kings 17:16
  • 22. S Deuteronomy 32:12; Psalms 106:36
  • 23. S Deuteronomy 31:16; Judges 10:6
  • 24. S Numbers 11:33
  • 25. Deuteronomy 4:25; Psalms 78:58; Psalms 106:40
  • 26. 1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Kings 11:5,33; 2 Kings 23:13
  • 27. Judges 3:7; Judges 5:8; Judges 6:25; Judges 8:33; Judges 10:6; 1 Samuel 31:10; Nehemiah 9:26; Psalms 78:56; Jeremiah 11:10
  • 28. S Deuteronomy 31:17
  • 29. Nehemiah 9:27; Psalms 106:41
  • 30. Psalms 44:10; Psalms 89:41; Ezekiel 34:8
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 32:30; S Judges 3:8
  • 32. S Deuteronomy 28:25
  • 33. Ruth 1:13; Job 19:21; Psalms 32:4
  • 34. Genesis 35:3; 2 Samuel 22:7; 2 Chronicles 15:4; Job 5:5; Job 20:22; Psalms 4:1; Psalms 18:6
  • 35. Ruth 1:1; 1 Samuel 4:18; 1 Samuel 7:6,15; 2 Samuel 7:11; 1 Chronicles 17:10; Acts 13:20
  • 36. 1 Samuel 11:3; Psalms 106:43
  • 37. S Exodus 34:15; S Numbers 15:39
  • 38. S Psalms 4:2
  • 39. Nehemiah 9:28; Psalms 106:36
  • 40. Deuteronomy 9:12
  • 41. ver 7
  • 42. 1 Samuel 7:3; 2 Kings 13:5; Isaiah 19:20; Isaiah 43:3,11; Isaiah 45:15,21; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 60:16; Isaiah 63:8
  • 43. S Deuteronomy 32:36; Joshua 1:5
  • 44. S Exodus 2:23; Psalms 106:44
  • 45. S Numbers 10:9
  • 46. S Genesis 6:11; S Deuteronomy 4:16; Judges 3:12
  • 47. Deuteronomy 32:17; Nehemiah 9:2; Psalms 78:57; Jeremiah 44:3,9
  • 48. Judges 4:1; Judges 8:33
  • 49. S Exodus 32:9
  • 50. ver 14; S Deuteronomy 31:17; Joshua 23:16
  • 51. S Joshua 7:11; S 2 Kings 17:15
  • 52. S Joshua 23:5; Joshua 23:13
  • 53. S Genesis 22:1; S Exodus 15:25; Deuteronomy 8:2,16; Judges 3:1,14
  • 54. Judges 1:1

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. "Bokim" means "weepers."
  • [b]. Also known as "Timnath Serah" (see Joshua 19:50 and 24:30)
  • [c]. Or "leaders" ; similarly in verses 17-19

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of an angel of the Lord appearing and rebuking the children of Israel for their present misconduct, Jud 2:1-5; of their good behaviour under Joshua, and the elders that outlived him, Jud 2:6-10; and of their idolatries they fell into afterwards, which greatly provoked the Lord to anger, Jud 2:11-15; and of the goodness of God to them nevertheless, in raising up judges to deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, of which there are many instances in the following chapter, Jud 2:16-18; and yet that how, upon the demise of such persons, they relapsed into idolatry which caused the anger of God to be hot against them, and to determine not to drive out the Canaanites utterly from them, but to leave them among them to try them, Jud 2:19-23.

Judges 2 Commentaries

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