Judges 2:15
Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them: and they were greatly distressed.
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(15) The hand of the Lord was against them.—Contrast this with Joshua 1:9.

As the Lord had said.Leviticus 26:17-36; Deuteronomy 28:25, &c.

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.Consult the marginal references. The phrase, "he sold them into the hands etc.," is first found in Deuteronomy 32:30. 14. the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them—Adversities in close and rapid succession befell them. But all these calamities were designed only as chastisements—a course of correctional discipline by which God brought His people to see and repent of their errors; for as they returned to faith and allegiance, He "raised up judges" (Jud 2:16). Whithersoever they went out, i.e. whatsoever expedition or business they undertook; which is usually signified by going out and coming in. Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil,.... They prospered not in any business they undertook, or put their hands unto; or in any expedition they went upon, or when they went out to war, as Kimchi, Ben Melech, and Abarbinel explain the phrase: the battle went against them, because God was against them; his hand was against them, and there was no resisting and turning that back; and this sense seems to agree with what goes before and follows after; though in some Jewish writings (a) it is explained of those that went out of the land to escape the calamities of it, and particularly of Elimelech and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, Ruth 1:1,

as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them; having ratified and confirmed his threatening with an oath, that if they served other gods, he would surely bring upon them all the curses of the law; see Deuteronomy 29:12,

and they were greatly distressed; by the Canaanites they suffered to dwell among them, who were pricks in their eyes, and thorns in their sides, as had been threatened them; and by the nations round about them, who came in upon them, and plundered them, and carried them captive.

(a) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 12. p. 34.

{g} Whithersoever they went out, the {h} hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.

(g) In all their enterprises.

(h) The vengeance.

15. For the threat of punishment in case of disloyalty see Deuteronomy 28:48-53 and Leviticus 26:17; Leviticus 26:36-39.The account of this development of the covenant nation, which commenced after the death of Joshua and his contemporaries, is attached to the book of Joshua by a simple repetition of the closing verses of that book (Joshua 24:28-31) in Judges 2:6-10, with a few unimportant differences, not only to form a link between Josha and Judges 2:11, and to resume the thread of the history which was broken off by the summary just given of the results of the wars between the Israelites and Canaanites (Bertheau), but rather to bring out sharply and clearly the contrast between the age that was past and the period of the Israelitish history that was just about to commence. The vav consec. attached to וישׁלּח expresses the order of thought and not of time. The apostasy of the new generation from the Lord (Judges 2:10.) was a necessary consequence of the attitude of Israel to the Canaanites who were left in the land, as described in Judges 1:1-2:5. This thought is indicated by the vav consec. in וישׁלּח; so that the meaning of Judges 2:6. as expressed in our ordinary phraseology would be as follows: Now when Joshua had dismissed the people, and the children of Israel had gone every one to his own inheritance to take possession of the land, the people served the Lord as long as Joshua and the elders who survived him were alive; but when Joshua was dead, and that generation (which was contemporaneous with him) had been gathered to its fathers, there rose up another generation after them which knew not the Lord, and also (knew not) the work which He had done to Israel. On the death and burial of Joshua, see at Joshua 24:29-30. "Gathered unto their fathers" corresponds to "gathered to his people" in the Pentateuch (Genesis 25:8, Genesis 25:17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:29, Genesis 49:33, etc.: see at Genesis 25:8). They "knew not the Lord," sc., from seeing or experiencing His wonderful deeds, which the contemporaries of Joshua and Moses had seen and experienced.

In the general survey of the times of the judges, commencing at Judges 2:11, the falling away of the Israelites from the Lord is mentioned first of all, and at the same time it is distinctly shown how neither the chastisements inflicted upon them by God at the hands of hostile nations, nor the sending of judges to set them free from the hostile oppression, availed to turn them from their idolatry (Judges 2:11-19). This is followed by the determination of God to tempt and chastise the sinful nation by not driving away the remaining Canaanites (Judges 2:20-23); and lastly, the account concludes with an enumeration of the tribes that still remained, and the attitude of Israel towards them (Judges 3:1-6).

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