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Verses 11-23

2. The pattern of history during the judges’ era 2:11-23

Having revealed the roots of Israel’s apostasy (Judges 2:6-10), the writer proceeded to examine its character. In this section a cyclical pattern of Israel’s history during this era becomes clear. This section is chiastic, focusing on Israel’s pursuit and worship of other gods. Israel departed from Yahweh and served idols (Judges 2:11-13). The Lord then disciplined His people by allowing them to fall under the domination of their enemies (Judges 2:14-15). [Note: See Wood, ch. 5, "The Oppressing Nations."] God then raised up judges to deliver Israel (Judges 2:16). The people apostatized again (Judges 2:17). God raised up another judge in response to His people’s distress (Judges 2:18). When that judge died, they wandered away again (Judges 2:19). This continual rebellion resulted in God not driving Israel’s enemies out of their land (Judges 2:20-21), but leaving them in Canaan to test Israel’s love and commitment to Him (Judges 2:22-23). [Note: See Frederick Greenspahn, "The Theology of the Framework of Judges," Vetus Testamentum 36:4 (October 1986):385-96.] One writer called the stages in each cycle: sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, and silence. [Note: Wolf, p. 394.] Others have labeled them: rebellion, retribution, repentance, and restoration.

"This simple routine of events cannot be projected at will over all cultures and circumstances, yet it does provide some guidelines for the interpretation of history. No corrupt nation can presume upon the grace of God indefinitely; sooner or later its lawlessness will bring disaster, either from within or without." [Note: Lewis, p. 18.]

". . . It is precisely this pattern that is the primary means by which the book serves as a condemnation of idolatry and disobedience and their inevitably violent and destructive consequences." [Note: McCann, p. 21.]

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