Dave Burnette's Commentary

Judges Chapter 2

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel 
Date Penned: (550 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Compromise in the Promised Land (c 1-21)
Theme: The Military Failure of Israel (c 1-3)
Message: The Religious Rebellion of the People (v 1-23)

Judges 2 Commentary

(2:1) A Significant Change - This event marked a significant change in Israel's relationship with God. At Mount Sinai, God had made a sacred and binding agreement with the Israelites called a covenant (Exodus 19:5-8). God's part was to make Israel a special nation (see the note on Genesis 12:1-3), to protect them, and to give them unique blessings for following him. Israel's part was to love God and obey his laws. But because they rejected and disobeyed God, the agreement to protect them was no longer in effect. But God wasn't going to abandon his people. They would receive wonderful blessings if they asked God to forgive them and sincerely followed him again. Although God's agreement to help Israel conquer the land was no longer in effect, his promise to make Israel a nation through whom the whole world would be blessed (fulfilled in the Messiah's coming) remained valid. God still wanted the Israelites to be a holy people (just as he wants us to be holy), and he often used oppression to bring them back to him, just as he warned them he would (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). The book of Judges records a number of instances where God allowed his people to be oppressed so that they would repent of their sins and return to him. Too often people want the benefit of God's promises while excusing themselves from their own responsibilities. Before you expect the fulfillment of God's promises in your life, ask, Have I done my part?

(2:1-2) An Angel Announces the Covenant was Broken - The angel of the Lord's message was so important that God used a special visitation to communicate the seriousness of breaking the agreement with him. Did this angel speak to all the Israelites at once? One possible answer is that the angel spoke only to the tribal leaders as representatives of the entire nation. (We say, "The president addressed the nation," even though at those times he isn't speaking to each individual.) It is also possible that, by miraculous means, every Israelite actually heard the speech. One way or the other, it is certain that God wanted all the people to know the consequences of their sins.

(2:2-3) Consequences of Disobedience - No one can escape the consequences of disobeying God. The Israelites not only disobeyed God but also often rejected him. Numbers 33:55 is one of several verses warning the Israelites about what would happen if they disobeyed God. The people could not say they hadn't been warned. We also have been warned. We can either obey God's clear commands in the Bible or we can experience the devastating consequences of our wrong actions. If we disregard God's commands and never repent, we can be certain that the consequences will be regrettable.

(2:4) True Repentance - The people of Israel knew they had sinned, and they responded with deep sorrow, weeping loudly. Because we have a tendency to sin, our repentance is the true measure of our spiritual sincerity. Repentance means not only confessing sins and asking God to forgive us but also abandoning our sinful ways. We cannot do this sincerely, however, unless we are truly sorry for our sinful actions. Tears alone are not enough. When we are aware that we have done wrong, we should admit it plainly to God rather than try to cover it up or hope we can get away with it. Then we need to seek ways to change.

(2:7-9) Joshua's Death Referenced - The account of Joshua's death is found here and at the end of the book of Joshua (24:29). This account is likely a summary of what happened earlier. The account in the book of Joshua omitted the events in the first chapter of Judges, so the addition here catches us up and prepares us for what is to come in Judges. 

2:10-3:7 One generation died, and the next did not follow God. Judges 2:10-3:7 previews the cycle of sin, judgment, and repentance that Israel experienced repeatedly. Each generation failed to teach the next generation to love and follow God. Yet this is what was at the very center of God's law Deuteronomy 6:4-9). We can be tempted to leave the job of teaching the Christian faith solely to the church or Christian school. Yet God says that the brunt of the responsibility for this task belongs primarily to the family. Because children learn so much by the example of their parents and other relatives, the home is often the most effective place to pass on the faith to the next generation.

(2:11-15) Canaanite gods - Baal was the god of storms and the provider of rain; therefore, he was thought to control vegetation and agriculture. Ashtaroth was the mother goddess of love, war, and fertility (she was also called Astarte or Ishtar). Temple prostitution and child sacrifice were a part of the worship of these Canaanite gods. This generation of Israelites abandoned the faith of their parents and began worshiping the gods of their neighbors. Many temptations can cause us, too, to abandon what we know is right. The desire to be accepted by the people around us can lead us into behavior that is unacceptable to God. Be aware of and resist the pressure to compromise your standards

(2:12-15) Punishment for Idol Worshipers - God often saves his harshest criticism and punishment for those who worship idols. Why are idols so bad in God's sight? To worship an idol violates the first two of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-6). The Canaanites had gods for almost every season, activity, and place. To them, the Lord was just another god to add to their collection of gods. The people of Israel, by contrast, were to worship only the Lord. How could they possibly believe that God was the one true God and at the same time bow to idols? Idol worshipers could not see any of their gods as their creator because they themselves had created the gods. These idols represent sensual, carnal, and immoral aspects of human nature. God's nature is holy; he is good and perfect in every way. Adding the worship of idols to the worship of God is not to be tolerated.

(2:14) God's Anger - God was angry with the people of Israel, and he allowed them to be punished by their enemies. Anger in itself is not a sin. God's anger was the reaction of his holy nature to sin. One side of God's nature is his anger against sin; the other side is his love and mercy toward sinners. We cannot fully appreciate God's mercy without understanding his fierce wrath. While God is angry at sin, we can experience his mercy because of Jesus' death on our behalf (Romans 5:1-2).

(2:15-16) Judges Are Raised Up - Despite Israel's disobedience, God showed his great mercy by raising up judges to save the people from their oppressors. Mercy has been defined as "not giving a person what he or she deserves." This is exactly what God did for Israel and what he does for us today. Our disobedience demands judgment. But God shows mercy toward us by providing an escape from sin's penalty through Jesus Christ, who alone saves us from sin. When we pray for forgiveness, we are asking for what we do not deserve. Yet when we take this step and trust in Christ's saving work on our behalf, we can experience God's forgiveness.

(2:16-19) A Cycle of Failure - Throughout this period of history Israel went through seven cycles of (1) rebelling against God, (2) being overrun by enemy nations, (3) being delivered by a God-fearing judge, (4) remaining loyal to God under that judge, and (5) again forgetting God after the judge died, We tend to follow the same cycle. We remain loyal to God as long as we are near those who are devoted to him, but when we are on our own, the pressure to be drawn away from God increases. Determine to be faithful to God despite the difficult situations you encounter. In addition, recognize the importance of maintaining contact with other believers; they will encourage you and keep you accountable.

(2:17) A Turning from Faith in God - Why would the people of Israel turn so quickly from their faith in God? Simply put, the Canaanite religion appealed to their sinful nature and offered more short-range benefits (like sexual permissiveness and the promise of increased fertility in childbearing and farming). One of its most attractive features was that people could act selfishly and yet still fulfill their religious requirements. They could do almost anything they wished and still be obeying at least one of the many Canaanite gods. Male and female prostitution was not only allowed but actually encouraged as a form of worship. Faith in the one true God, however, does not offer short-range benefits that appeal to our sinful human nature. The essence of sin is selfishness; the essence of God's way of life is giving and self-sacrifice. We must seek Christ's help to live God's way.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Teach Your Children of the Lord


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Judges with Chapter 2 and we see the Angel announcing the breaking of the covenant and the Religious rebellion of the People as Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord worshiping Baalim as this generation forgot the Lord of their parents. In this we see the raising of the Judges of which the book is named. What catches my eye is how this new generation forgot the God of their fathers due mainly to the fathers failing to stress the God of Israel. In making application I see the same principle in our lives today. The parents are failing to teach their children the precepts of the Lord. Families are replacing the family alter and family Bible devotions with TV and Internet. The parents shift the responsibility of teaching their kids on Biblical standards to the Church which they attend sparingly. The truth is that the responsibility of sharing the Lord rests on the parents. How about you? Are you teaching your kids about the Lord through family devotions and family prayer? Let us learn from today'stext and not forget to teach our children of the Lord. 


Judges 2

Judges 2

 1And 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.

 2And 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?

 3Wherefore 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.

 4And 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.

 5And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.

 6And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land.

 7And 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.

 8And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.

 9And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

 10And 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.

 11And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:

 12And 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.

 13And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

 14And 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.

 15Whithersoever 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.

 16Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them.

 17And 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.

 18And 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.

 19And 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.

 20And 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;

 21I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:

 22That 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.

 23Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.