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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Judges 2



Verses 1-5

Judges 2:1-5

This is clearly an incident to arrest our attention and to arouse our curiosity. Let us inquire: (1) Who this angel was? (2) What the meaning of "Gilgal" and "Bochim" is; and (3) What significancy may lie in that apparently meaningless ascent of the heavenly visitant from Gilgal to Bochim.

I. Most commentators recognise in this angel the uncreated angel of the covenant, even the second person of the Blessed Trinity. This "Angel" uses words which are emphatically the words of God Himself and of no lesser being.

II. Gilgal was the first camp of Israel after Jordan was actually crossed, it was at once a goal and a starting-point. To Christians it represents that position of vantage, that excellence of endowment whence they go forth in obedience and faith to subdue their spiritual foes. Bochim was the place of weepers—the place of mere feelings, emotions, idle fears, barren sorrow, unavailing regret.

III. The visit of the angel to reproach us should teach us to make a vigorous move, to break up from Bochim, and make Gilgal once more our headquarters. Sentimental regrets, self-bewailing tears, barren religious emotions, only divert attention from real remedies and practical duties.

R. Winterbotham, Sermons and Expositions, p. 59.

I. The sin of Israel, here reproved, consisted in their not thoroughly driving out the inhabitants of the land and throwing down their altars. Christ bids His people mortify their members which are on the earth. Come out and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. For generally we have no definite plan of life at all. Hence vacillation, fitfulness, inconsistency, excess and deficiency, by turns. The opportunity of setting up a high standard and aim is lost, and soon, amid the snares of worldly conformity, we sigh for the day of our visitation, when we might have started from a higher platform and run a higher race than we can now hope ever to realise.

II. Consider the inexcusableness of the sin in question. Look back to the past and call to mind from what a state the Lord has rescued you, at what a price, by what a work of power. Look around on your present circumstances, see how the Lord has performed all that he swore to your fathers; the land is yours, and it is a goodly land. And if, in looking forward to the future, you have any misgivings, has He not said, "I will never break My covenant with you." What can you ask more? A past redemption, a present possession, and a covenant never to be broken. Are these considerations not sufficient to bind you to the whole work and warfare of the high calling of God, and to make cowardice and compromise exceeding sinful.

III. Consider the dangerous and disastrous consequences of the sin in question. Hear the awful sentence of God: "They shall be as thorns in your sides," etc. (Judges 2:3), and then see how the children of Israel lift up their voice and weep. The golden opportunity is lost, their error is not to be retrieved, its bitter fruits are to be reaped from henceforth many days.

R. S. Candlish, Sermons, p 155.

References: Judges 2:1-5.—J. Baldwin Brown, The Sunday Afternoon, p. 185.

Verse 4

Judges 2:4

I. Observe, first, that the reprover of the people is termed "an angel." "An angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal." But the first utterance carries us to the thought of One higher than angel or archangel. The speaker describes Himself as the deliverer of Israel out of Egypt, and He finishes with the denunciation, "Ye have not obeyed My voice." The coming up from Gilgal seems to connect at once the prophet of Bochim with Joshua's vision of the Captain of the Lord's host. In this place and in many others, we have a previous manifestation of the second person of the Trinity in the form of the manhood which in the latter days He was about to take into God. We here see the eternal Word in one of His three great offices, viz., that of prophet or teacher. The burden of His prophecy is worthy of the Divine speaker, for it is the simple enunciation of the fundamental truth of all religion—man in covenant with God, and bound to comply with the terms of that covenant.

II. Consider the result of the prophesying. The general result was but transitory. The people wept and sacrificed unto the Lord. But no amendment ensued. The whole effect was a momentary outburst of feeling and a hasty sacrifice. Most true picture of the reception of the word of God in after time. It is sensational or emotional religion against which Bochim is our warning. There are two principal elements of this fruitless sorrow. The first is want of depth of soul. The second is the "after revolt of the human mind against the supernatural."

Godly sorrow issues in a repentance not to be repented of, in that thorough turning of the life to God's service, from which, in the hottest fire of temptation, there is never a turning back to the way of evil again.

Bishop Woodford, Oxford Lent Sermons, 1870, p. 63.

References: Judges 2:4, Judges 2:5.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1680. Judges 2:18.—Parker, vol. vi., p. 162. 2—Ibid., vol. v., p. 324. Judges 3:4.—Ibid., vol. vi., p. 163. Judges 3:9, Judges 3:10.—Ibid., vol. v., p. 333. Judges 3:15.—Ibid., vol. v., p. 339. Judges 3:16.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii., Appendix, p. 16. Judges 3:20.—T. Guthrie, Sunday Magazine, 1873, p. 281; T. Cartwright, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 125. Judges 3:31.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. ii., Appendix, p. 47; Parker, vol. v., p. 344; T. Kelly, Pulpit Trees, p. 21. Judges 4:1-24. —Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 279. Judges 4:8.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Sundays after 2rinity, Part I., p. 64. Judges 4:8, Judges 4:9.—S. Leathes, Truth and Life, p. 99. Judges 4:14.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvi., p. 273.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Judges 2:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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