In chapter 2, the apostasy of the people is made explicit, and the angel of the Lord’s words to them brings fear, tears, and sacrificing. But unfortunately, not true repentance, as they return to their idol worship of Baal and Ashtaroth (verses 11-13). The repetition of the death of Joshua serves to explain the behavior That prevented them from completing the task of driving out the Canaanites. The problem was not just a lack of faith, but a lust for the wickedness and the immoral and often perverse behavior that accompanied idolatry.
Verses 11-23 present a summary of the book of Judges, and verse 11 sums it up very well – “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” God would no longer drive the Canaanites out for them, but leave them as a snare and a test for them. Indeed, verse 15 says that “Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them.”
Their condition was miserable. How could a nation that had been honored to have the visible presence of the one true God among them, and witness His power with their own eyes turn to bow down to statues and carved images? Judges is the illustration of our own ability to turn away from God and worship immorality when His presence is made perfectly clear in everything we see (Romans 1:18-21).
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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