Pastoral Commentary for Judges 2:1-3:11
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
The angel of the LORD was sent to the Israelites to rebuke them for disobeying Him by allowing the Canaanites and other people to continue to dwell among them and worship their idols at their pagan altars. Although the people wept aloud over the angel's message, their repentance produced no change. When Joshua's generation had passed, a new generation grew up "who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel." What a sad failure this was on the part of God's people. Psalm 78:4 says, "We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done." Their failure to pass on their faith to the next generation led to Israel's downfall. "Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals." In anger the LORD handed His people over to raiders and plunderers. They could prevail against their enemies no longer. In their misery the people would cry out to the LORD and He raised up judges to rescue them from their oppressors. While the judge lived, the Israelites would serve the LORD, but when the judge died they would turn to ways more corrupt than ever. So began a miserable cycle of idolatry, oppression, repentance, rescue, and return to idolatry that would repeat itself over and over again during the period of the judges. The reason for their repetition of sin is laid out in Judges 3:6: "They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods." This is why Paul admonished the Corinthians saying: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). The first of the judges God raised up for Israel was Othniel, a nephew of Caleb. His leadership brought 40 years of peace.