So now I tell you that I will not drive out these people before you; they will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a snare to you."
I. A PLACE OF SOLEMN RECOLLECTION AND RE-STATEMENT. Shiloh, the place of Israel's worship and sacrifice, is also the place of Israel's repentance. A name, Bochim, is given to it. "They named the place from their tears." So the house of God becomes the monument and memorial of our deepest religious experiences. No new revelation is here made. The simple facts of the Divine deliverance of the people, their perfidy and faithlessness, are recited; in contrast with which God's steadfastness is mentioned. The foundation article of the covenant is rehearsed, and the question asked, "Why have ye done this?" And then the connection of their punishment with their sin is set forth.
II. A PLACE OF INQUIRY, REMONSTRANCE, AND SORROWFUL APPEAL. The tone of this address is sympathetic and yet severe. The question, "Why have ye done this?" suggests to the people how foolish and profitless their conduct has been. How fitting would such a question be to many sinners of to-day. We too have broken plain precepts and sinned against the light of truth. What reason has there been in the conduct of God, in the nature of the duties neglected, or in the advantages we supposed we should secure? An appeal to conscience like this is of infinitely more value than a speculative disquisition. He is a true angel who bears such a message.
III. A PLACE OF REPENTANCE. Israel is invited to change its mind. God is solicitous for its repentance. He has sent "an angel" to produce this result. The tears that flow so freely are precious in his sight, and may avail, if followed up, to recover his favour and to reinstate them in their lost possessions. How great a privilege was this; not that it was a place of tears only, but that it might become a place of repentance, a turning-point in Israel's history. This Esau found not, though he sought it carefully with tears. Let it therefore be seized as a blissful augury that God wills not the death of a sinner, but that all men may turn to him and live. Such experiences are not to be artificially produced. A faithful recalling of God's real dealings with us in the past ought to make tears flow from the most hardened of sinners. But let the next step be taken, and beyond the tears, even beyond the ostentatious sacrifice, let reformation commence at once with his help and blessing. Then shall we have reason to recall our tears with gratitude when we discover that our repentance is not to he repented of. - M.
The Lord raised up Judges.I. These men, in some of whom the miraculous operations of the Holy Spirit were singularly manifested, were not chosen, like the suffetes of Carthage, with regal powers for a year; nor like the archons of Athens, with divided and carefully defined responsibilities; nor like the dictators of Rome, chosen to exercise uncontrolled power during extraordinary emergencies. They were not chosen by the people at all. They were sent forth by the Divine King of Israel — impelled by an inward inspiration, which was in several instances confirmed by outward miraculous signs to act in His great name. They were raised up as the exigencies of the times required; and their presence and their absence were alike calculated to keep alive in the nation a sense of dependence upon its invisible King.
II. The functions which the judges were called upon to discharge may be partly understood by referring to the position in which Moses and Joshua stood in relation to the twelve tribes. The judges were God's vicegerents. The parallel between the office of the judges and that of Moses or Joshua was not, however, complete. In so far as they were specially raised up to be God's vicegerents in Israel, it holds good; yet it was a separate and distinct form of government, and is recognised as such by St. Paul. Moses and Joshua was called, each of them, to introduce a new order of things. But during the period of the judges, nothing, in respect of God's covenant, was put upon a new footing. The history of the people is a succession of various fortunes, afflictions, and deliverances, alternating according to their public sin or their repentance: but no change occurred, permanently or deeply affecting their public condition. As often as the sins of the people brought down God's chastisements, and chastisement produced repentance, judges were raised up to repel the invader, and to restore peace and tranquillity. Hence they are frequently called, in the sacred history, "deliverers and saviours." The judges were the chief magistrates of the Hebrew commonwealth. As such, they had to deal with religious, no less than with civil, affairs; for the sharp line of separation between these which modern ingenuity has invented did not then exist. It became the duty of the judges to stir up the people to return to the Lord; and hence they needed to be themselves men of faith.
III. With regard to the effect of their administration upon the nation of the Jews, I think the period of the judges was, upon the whole, a period of national advancement. For, in the first place, the rule of the judges secured long periods of public tranquillity. Gloomy and fearful as are some of the details furnished in the Book of Judges, the Hebrew nation was nevertheless in a better state during that period, morally, politically, and spiritually, than it became afterwards during the reigns of the later kings. Not only the intervals of repose, but also the periods of warfare, must be taken into account in estimating the benefits of their rule. In general, they exerted themselves to prevent idolatry, dissuading the people from their besetting sin; but there were times when the people "would not hearken unto their judges"; and further, "when the judge was dead," they took advantage of the interregnum which sometimes occurred, and "returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers." These apostasies were followed by chastisements. The Lord forsook them; He permitted their enemies to oppress and torment them; "the east wind from the wilderness" dried up the fountain of their strength, until, at the point to die, they bethought themselves of His holy name. Miserable and forsaken, their name might have been blotted out for ever but for the "saviours" — figures of a greater Saviour — whom their God raised up to deliver them. Nor was success denied to these men in that which they undertook. The kings of Mesopotamia, of Moab, and of Canaan, the fierce mountaineers of Ammon: the innumerable hordes of the Bedouin; the lordly and persistent Philistines, were in turn humbled and subdued by these men who, through faith, "quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the ninnies of the aliens."
(L. H. Wiseman, M. A.).
PeopleIsraelites, Joshua, Nun
PlacesBochim, Egypt, Gaash, Gilgal, Timnath-heres
TopicsAdversaries, Cast, Cause, Danger, Drive, Falling, Gods, Presence, Sides, Snare, Snares, Thorns, Trap, Wherefore
Outline1. An angel rebukes the people at Bochim
6. The wickedness of the new generation after Joshua
14. God's anger and pity toward them
20. The Canaanites left to prove Israel
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJudges 2:3
LibraryA Summary of Israel's Faithlessness and God's Patience
'And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3. Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Israel's Obstinacy and God's Patience
Whether the Female Sex is an Impediment to Receiving Orders?
The Unmistakable Honesty of the Writers of the Bible Attests to Its Heavenly Origin
The Death of Abraham
Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
The Doctrine of Angels.
A Case of Conscience Resolved
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