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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Judges 2

 

 

Verses 1-23


Prologue to the Story of the Judges

1-5. The moral of the preceding notices, delivered by an angel at Bochim.

1. An angel of the lord] RV 'the angel.' Cp. Judges 6:11, Judges 6:22; Judges 13:3, Judges 13:21, where it is plain (from Judges 6:14, Judges 6:16; Judges 13:22) that the angel is thought of as God Himself (see on Judges 6:14). The word translated 'angel,' however, means simply 'messenger': cp. Judges 6:8.

Gilgal] the site of the first Hebrew camp after the crossing of the Jordan (Joshua 4:19). Bochim] 'weepers' (Judges 2:4), but LXX here reads 'Bethel' (Judges 1:23), which was later the abode of the ark (Judges 20:27) Allon Bacuth, 'weeping tree,' was near Bethel (Genesis 25:8). Covenant] see Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:19; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 8:18; Deuteronomy 29:1; Deuteronomy 31:16, etc.

Division 2, Judges 2:6 to Judges 3:4.

A return to the later scenes of Joshua's life, to connect it with the stories of the Judges. chapter Judges 2:6-10 is very similar to Joshua 24:28-31. The history of Israel in this period is here interpreted as a succession of punishments for disobedience, and deliverance after repentance, a point of view which is not emphasised in the individual stories, but not inconsistent with them. Israel's only chance of existence in Canaan lay in its adherence to the one bond of union, the worship of Jehovah. The introduction divides into three parts: Judges 2:6-10, historical prologue; Judges 2:11-23, interpretation of the history; Judges 3:1-6, Israel's actual relations with the Canaanites.

6-10. Historical Prologue.

6. Cp. Joshua 24:28. Evidently the beginning and not the end of conquest is here referred to. In the OT. Canaan is never regarded as a land of rest.

9. Timnathheres] 'territory of the sun': probably near Shechem. In Joshua 24:30 the letters of 'heres' are transposed, to avoid the suggestion of idolatrous association (cp. also Judges 8:13 and RV there). Gaash] unknown.

11-23. The religious interpretation of the history of the Judges.

11. Baalim] RV 'the Baalim,' i.e. the local gods worshipped by the Canaanites. Baalim is” the plural of Baal, which means 'lord' (cp. Judges 8:33). Each place might thus have its patron god. Jehovah was never thought of by the Hebrews as a local deity in this sense.

13. Ashtaroth] RV 'the Ashtaroth,' properly the feminine counterpart of 'the Baalim.' In Babylon, the goddess Ashtoreth appears as Ishtar (with attributes corresponding in part to Aphrodite or Venus). How easily the worship of the native deities, the Baals, the Ashtoreths, in their sacred groves, would lead to licentiousness is obvious (see on Genesis 38:15).

17. A whoring] Adultery and fornication are common figures for unfaithfulness to Israel's 'lord,' Jehovah, cp. Hosea 1-3; Ezekiel 16, 20; Matthew 12:39. The succeeding stories make it clear that it was by uniting the Hebrews in a religious war that the Judges caused the local cults to be put aside.

18. It repented the lord] cp. 1 Samuel 15:11; Psalms 90:13; Zechariah 8:14 : on the other hand, 1 Samuel 15:29; Jeremiah 4:28; Ezekiel 24:14. Here the word really means'pity.'

20. Covenant] Joshua 23:16 chapter Judges 2:1. In Joshua the ark is constantly called 'the ark of the covenant' (Joshua 3:3, etc.).

22. Prove] cp. Judges 3:1, Judges 3:2. Such an expression shows how easily a test may become a temptation.

23. Neither delivered he, etc.] a later addition: the whole passage deals with what occurred after the death of Joshua.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Judges 2:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/judges-2.html. 1909.

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