Judges 2 Commentary

Results of Israel’s failure (2:1-10)

In bringing Israel into Canaan, God was faithful to his covenant promises. The Israelites, however, were not faithful to theirs. Therefore, just as Israel was once God’s instrument to punish the Canaanites, so now the Canaanites would be God’s instrument to punish Israel (2:1-5). After the death of Joshua and the godly leaders whom he had trained, the Israelites turned away from God. In so doing they brought Israel into an extended period of suffering and defeat, though within this period there were times of peace. These were won for them through God-sent deliverers known as judges (6-10).


Pattern of judgment and deliverance (2:11-3:6)

When the people of Israel rejected God and began to worship Baal and other gods, God punished them. He allowed them to fall under the power of foreign tribes and nations who seized their property and ruled them cruelly (11-15). When, after many years of suffering, the people finally turned again to God, God gave them deliverers who overthrew the enemy and restored independence to Israel. But as soon as they were living in peace and contentment again, the people forgot God and returned to their idolatrous ways. This pattern was repeated generation after generation (16-19). The enemy whom the Israelites failed to destroy then became a source of trouble to them (20-23).


God used enemies in and around Palestine to test Israel’s loyalty to him and to punish them when they were disobedient. He also used them to give each new generation of Israelites experience in warfare (3:1-4). Some Israelites intermarried with these people and worshipped their gods (5-6).

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