This chapter continues the introduction into the book of Judges. It is good to note that the book of Judges is not in chronological order starting from the events in the book of Joshua. Before this point, at least, each of the tribes had received their inheritance in the promised land, except for the Levites, who were given the responsibility of serving the Lord in his tabernacle. With the settling of their own lands, the people of Israel would begin to succumb to temptations if they did not strictly obey the commandments and guidance they had been given.
1 And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.
2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?
3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.
4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.
5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord.
Israel is rebuked by an angel of the Lord, because they had not listened to the words of the Lord. They had not fully served the Lord, and had not done away with those things that would lead them to worship false gods. The host of Israel wept and made sacrifices to the Lord.
6 And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.
7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel.
8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
9 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.
10 And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
Joshua died when he was 110 years old. After Joshua and the generation that had inherited the land with him passed away, the newer generation did not know the Lord and the things He had done for Israel. If we do not strive to raise our own children with a knowledge of the Lord and His commandments, they will not know these things when we are gone. This is part of the reason that it is so important for us to remember to do the simpler things with our families each day. Praying, studying the scriptures, having family home evening, attending church and the temple regularly, will establish traditions of good in our homes. Hopefully, these things will carry over as good traditions, into the lives of our children and grandchildren.
11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim:
12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.
13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
This new generation forsook the Lord, and begin to serve Baal (Baalim) and Ashtaroth. This was a fulfillment of the warning that their fathers had been given.
14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.
15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.
The Lord allowed the Israelites to fall into the hands of their enemies because of their weaknesses. His promise had been, that if they did not worship Him alone, He would no longer protect them from their enemies. They failed to keep the laws and worship God, so they suffered at the hands of their enemies.
16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.
17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.
18 And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
The Lord raised up judges, to deliver the Israelites out of the hand of their enemies. The people would not listen to the judges, but continued to sin against the Lord. When the judges were righteous, the Lord was with the people in protecting them from their enemies. When the righteous judges died, the people would return to wickedness even more then previous generations.
20 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice;
21 I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:
22 That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.
23 Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
The Lord promised that he would not drive out anymore of the Canaanites from the land, which had been there when Joshua first brought them into the land. He did this to test Israel and see if they could prove that they were able to keep the commandments of the Lord.
The book of Judges, shows a time when the Israelites had truth, guidance and direction from the Lord. They were blessed greatly and then in their time of peace they would forget the Lord and turn to the ways of the world around them. The Lord would be ever merciful and patient, allowing them many opportunities to return to Him. The Lord was long-suffering with the Israelites, just as he is with us. Our lives are not so different from the people of old. We can have blessings of peace and prosperity in times when we strive to do what is right. We are also vulnerable to the temptations of the world. If we allow ourselves to become ungrateful, apathetic, or comfortable with our standing with the Lord, we will also be at risk of falling into the ways of the world. Our choices will lead to the Lord chastening us, and then feelings of sorrow and sadness. On the other hand, if we are continually striving to do what is right, the Lord will be with us and protect us from the dangers of the world. We are here to be tested and to prove ourselves willing and able to follow the commandments of the Lord. I know that we can and will be greatly blessed for our efforts in living righteously. I know that greater blessings will come if we share what we learn and know with other, especially with our loved ones.