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An angel reproves Israel, who bewail their sins, ver. 1 - 5.
They served God during the life of Joshua and his
contemporaries, ver. 4 - 9.
Their frequent revolts to idolatry, ver. 10 - 19.
God stops their success, ver. 20 - 23.
1: The angel - Christ the angel of the covenant, often called the
angel of the Lord, to whom the conduct of Israel out of Egypt
into Canaan, is frequently ascribed. He alone could speak the following
words in his own name and person; whereas created angels and prophets
universally usher in their message with, Thus saith the Lord, or some
equivalent expression. And this angel having assumed the shape of a man,
it is not strange that he imitates the motion of a man, and comes as it
were from Gilgal to the place where now they were: by which motion he
signified, that he was the person that brought them to Gilgal, the first
place where they rested in Canaan, and there protected them so long, and
from thence went with them to battle, and gave them success. Bochim - A
place so called by anticipation; it seems to be no other than Shiloh,
where it is probable, the people were met together upon some solemn
festival. I said - That is, I promised upon condition of your keeping
covenant with me.
2: Done this - That is, disobeyed these express commands.
3: I said - With myself, I have now taken up this peremptory
4: Wept - Some of them from a true sense of their sins; others from a
just apprehension of their approaching misery.
5: Bochim - That is, Weepers. They sacrificed - For the
expiation of their sins, by which they had provoked God to this resolution.
6: Let the people go - When he had distributed their inheritances,
and dismissed them severally to take possession of them. This was done
before this time, whilst Joshua lived; but is now repeated to discover
the time, and occasion of the peoples defection from God, and of God's
desertion of them.
10: Knew not - Which had no experimental, nor serious and
affectionate knowledge of God, or of his works.
11: In the sight - Which notes the heinousness and impudence of their
sins, above other peoples; because God's presence was with them, and his eye
upon them in a peculiar manner, which also they were not ignorant of, and
therefore were guilty of more contempt of God than other people.
Baalim - False gods. He useth the plural number, because the gods of the
Canaanites, and adjoining nations, which Israel worshipped, were
most of them called by the name of Baal.
13: Baal and Ashtaroth - That is, the sun and moon, whom many
Heathens worshipped, tho' under divers names; and so they ran into that
error which God had so expressly warned them against, (De 4:19).
Baalim signifies lords, and Ashtaroth, blessed ones, he - gods
and she - gods. When they forsook Jehovah, they had gods many and
lords many, as a luxuriant fancy pleased to multiply them.
14: Sold them - That is, delivered them up, as the seller doth his
commodities unto the buyer.
15: Whithersoever they went - That is, Whatsoever expedition or
business they undertook; which is usually signified by going out, and
16: Raised up - By inward inspiration and excitation of their hearts,
and by outward designation testified by some extra - ordinary action.
Judges - Supreme magistrates, whose office it was, under God, and by his
particular direction, to govern the commonwealth of Israel by God's
laws, and to protect and save them from their enemies, to preserve and
purge religion, and to maintain the liberties of the people against all
17: Their Judges - Who admonished them of their sin and folly, and of
the danger and misery which would certainly befall them.
18: It repented the Lord - That is, the Lord changed his course and
dealings with them, as penitent men use to do; removed his judgments, and
returned to them in mercy.
19: Returned - To their former, and usual course.
Their fathers - In Egypt, or in the wilderness.
Their own doings - That is, from their evil practices, which he calls
their own, because they were agreeable to their own natures, which in
all mankind are deeply and universally corrupted, and because they were
familiar and customary to them.
22: May prove - That I may try and see whether Israel will be
true and faithful to me, or whether they will suffer themselves to be
corrupted by the counsels and examples of their bad neighbours.