|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:6-23 We have a general idea of the course of things in Israel, during the time of the Judges. The nation made themselves as mean and miserable by forsaking God, as they would have been great and happy if they had continued faithful to him. Their punishment answered to the evil they had done. They served the gods of the nations round about them, even the meanest, and God made them serve the princes of the nations round about them, even the meanest. Those who have found God true to his promises, may be sure that he will be as true to his threatenings. He might in justice have abandoned them, but he could not for pity do it. The Lord was with the judges when he raised them up, and so they became saviours. In the days of the greatest distress of the church, there shall be some whom God will find or make fit to help it. The Israelites were not thoroughly reformed; so mad were they upon their idols, and so obstinately bent to backslide. Thus those who have forsaken the good ways of God, which they have once known and professed, commonly grow most daring and desperate in sin, and have their hearts hardened. Their punishment was, that the Canaanites were spared, and so they were beaten with their own rod. Men cherish and indulge their corrupt appetites and passions; therefore God justly leaves them to themselves, under the power of their sins, which will be their ruin. God has told us how deceitful and desperately wicked our hearts are, but we are not willing to believe it, until by making bold with temptation we find it true by sad experience. We need to examine how matters stand with ourselves, and to pray without ceasing, that we may be rooted and grounded in love, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. Let us declare war against every sin, and follow after holiness all our days.
Verse 16. - Raised up judges. Hence the name of this book, which recites the names and exploits of those whom God raised up to deliver them out of the hand of their enemies. The title Judges (Hebrew, shophetim) is, as is well known, identical with the Carthagenian suffetes. Mark the riches of God's mercy.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges,.... Who are particularly mentioned by name, and their exploits recorded, in some following chapters, and from whom the book in general has its name: these were men that God raised up in an extraordinary manner, and spirited and qualified for the work he had to do by them; which was to deliver the people of Israel out of the hands of their oppressors, and restore them to their privileges and liberties, and protect them in them, and administer justice to them; which was a wonderful instance of the goodness of God to them, notwithstanding their many provoking sins and transgressions:
which delivered them out of the hands of those that spoiled them; who took away their goods and cattle from them, and carried their persons captive: these were the instruments of recovering both again, just as Abraham brought again Lot and all his goods.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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