An Angel Sent to Rebuke the People at
1-3. an angel … came from Gilgal to
Bochim—We are inclined to think, from the authoritative tone
of his language, that he was the Angel of the Covenant (Ex 23:20; Jos
5:14); the same who appeared
in human form and announced himself captain of the Lord's host. His
coming from Gilgal had a peculiar significance, for there the
Israelites made a solemn dedication of themselves to God on their
entrance into the promised land [Jos 4:1-9]; and the memory of that religious
engagement, which the angel's arrival from Gilgal awakened, gave
emphatic force to his rebuke of their apostasy.
Bochim—"the weepers," was a name
bestowed evidently in allusion to this incident or the place, which was
at or near Shiloh.
I said, I will never break my covenant with you
… but ye have not obeyed my voice—The burden of the
angel's remonstrance was that God would inviolably keep His promise;
but they, by their flagrant and repeated breaches of their covenant
with Him, had forfeited all claim to the stipulated benefits. Having
disobeyed the will of God by voluntarily courting the society of
idolaters and placing themselves in the way of temptation, He left them
to suffer the punishment of their misdeeds.
4, 5. when the angel of the Lord spake these words
… the people lifted up their voice, and wept—The
angel's expostulation made a deep and painful impression. But the
reformation was but temporary, and the gratifying promise of a revival
which this scene of emotion held out, was, ere long, blasted by speedy
and deeper relapses into the guilt of defection and idolatry.
6-10. And when Joshua had let the people
go—This passage is a repetition of Jos 24:29-31. It was inserted here to give the
reader the reasons which called forth so strong and severe a rebuke
from the angel of the Lord. During the lifetime of the first occupiers,
who retained a vivid recollection of all the miracles and judgments
which they had witnessed in Egypt and the desert, the national
character stood high for faith and piety. But, in course of time, a new
race arose who were strangers to all the hallowed and solemnizing
experience of their fathers, and too readily yielded to the corrupting
influences of the idolatry that surrounded them.
Jud 2:11-19. Wickedness of
the New Generation after Joshua.
11-19. the children of Israel did evil in the
sight of the Lord—This chapter, together with the first eight
verses of the next [Jud 2:11-3:8], contains a brief but comprehensive
summary of the principles developed in the following history. An
attentive consideration of them, therefore, is of the greatest
importance to a right understanding of the strange and varying phases
of Israelitish history, from the death of Joshua till the establishment
of the monarchy.
served Baalim—The plural is used to
include all the gods of the country.
13. Ashtaroth—Also a plural word,
denoting all the female divinities, whose rites were celebrated by the
most gross and revolting impurities.
14. the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel,
and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled
them—Adversities in close and rapid succession befell them.
But all these calamities were designed only as chastisements—a
course of correctional discipline by which God brought His people to
see and repent of their errors; for as they returned to faith and
allegiance, He "raised up judges" (Jud 2:16).
16. which delivered them out of the hand of those
that spoiled them—The judges who governed Israel were
strictly God's vicegerents in the government of the people, He being
the supreme ruler. Those who were thus elevated retained the dignity as
long as they lived; but there was no regular, unbroken succession of
judges. Individuals, prompted by the inward, irresistible impulse of
God's Spirit when they witnessed the depressed state of their country,
were roused to achieve its deliverance. It was usually accompanied by a
special call, and the people seeing them endowed with extraordinary
courage or strength, accepted them as delegates of Heaven, and
submitted to their sway. Frequently they were appointed only for a
particular district, and their authority extended no farther than over
the people whose interests they were commissioned to protect. They were
without pomp, equipage, or emoluments attached to the office. They had
no power to make laws; for these were given by God; nor to explain
them, for that was the province of the priests—but they were
officially upholders of the law, defenders of religion, avengers of all
crimes, particularly of idolatry and its attendant vices.