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Verses 1-5

2. The announcement of God’s discipline 2:1-5

The events of this pericope tie in directly with those of the previous one. Israel’s failure recorded there led to the discipline announced here.

"The narrator moves from chap. 1 to chap. 2 like a modern preacher moves from text to exposition. The differences here are that the text of the author’s sermon derives from events of history, not a printed page, and the interpretation comes from God himself or from his messengers, be they the envoy of Yahweh or the author of the book." [Note: Block, Judges . . ., p. 78]

The writer seems to have included the statement that the Angel of the Lord "came up from Gilgal" (Judges 2:1) to connect the Angel’s appearance here with His last recorded appearance at Gilgal (Joshua 5:13-15). On that occasion the Angel appeared after the people had consecrated themselves to God. He promised to lead them in victory against their enemies. On this occasion the Angel promised that He would not drive out the remaining Canaanites because Israel had been disobedient to God, specifically to the Mosaic Covenant (cf. Exodus 24:3; Exodus 24:7; Joshua 24:18; Joshua 24:21; Joshua 24:24). Of the 59 references to "the Angel of the Lord" in the Old Testament, 18 (30.5 percent) appear in Judges. He appeared on four separate occasions: in Judges 2:1-5; Judges 5:23; Judges 6:11-24; and Judges 13:1-25. Additionally, the title "the Angel of God" appears nine times in the Old Testament and at least three times in Judges: in Judges 6:20 and Judges 13:6; Judges 13:9. [Note: See the discussion of this person in Howard, pp. 113-16.]

The issue at the beginning of the Book of Judges and throughout the book is whether Israel will be faithful to the covenant. The issue for the readers is similar: whether he or she will worship and serve God alone. God had stated clearly and repeatedly that His people were to destroy or drive out all the former inhabitants of the land (Exodus 23:31-33; Exodus 34:11-16; Numbers 33:51-56; Deuteronomy 7:1-5).

"The deplorable spiritual condition of the Israelites, not their lack of chariots, lay behind their failure to dispossess the Canaanites. To expose Israel’s sinfulness, the ’angel of the Lord’ appeared to them (Judges 2:1)." [Note: Wolf, p. 392.]

The Angel’s announcement caused great sorrow in Israel that led to weeping and the offering of sacrifices to Yahweh (Judges 2:4-5; cf. Exodus 23:28-31; Exodus 34:11). The people could not change God’s sentence even by repenting (cf. Joshua 24:19). Her disobedience resulted in God’s discipline (cf. God’s judgment at Kadesh-Barnea, Numbers 14:1-10). Nevertheless this warning constituted a manifestation of God’s grace to Israel, and evidences of God’s grace are numerous in Judges. [Note: See Constable, pp. 108-9.]

"The Canaanite system represents forces that yield death, so its presence in the land is as intolerable as Pharaoh’s death-dealing policies were in the land of Egypt. To oppose the Canaanite system is, in essence, to choose life as God intends it. But it is precisely this choice that the people have not made in chapter 1, and will not make throughout the book of Judges. Quite appropriately, therefore, the events in Judges 2:1-5 unfold at a place called Bochim, ’Weeping (Ones)’ (Judges 2:5).

"As it turns out, the name ’Weeping’ is another way in which Judges 1:1 to Judges 2:5 anticipates the rest of the book. Just as Judges 1:1 is echoed in chapter 20, so are Judges 2:1 and Judges 2:5. That is to say, the people are still weeping at the end of the book of Judges." [Note: McCann, p. 31. Cf. Marvin E. Tate, From Promise to Exile: The Former Prophets, p. 34.]

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