Judges 2:18
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.
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(18) It repented the Lordi.e., Jehovah was grieved. (Comp. Jonah 3:10, “God repented of the evil that He had said He would do unto them; and He did it not”—Genesis 6:6; Exodus 32:14; 1Samuel 15:35; Amos 7:3; Joel 2:13, &c.) The simple anthropomorphism of early ages never hesitates to describe the ways and thoughts of Jehovah by the analogy of human lives; nor is it easy to see how the sacred writers could have otherwise expressed their meaning. Yet they were, even in using this language, perfectly aware that it was only an imperfect and approximate method of explaining God’s dealings with man; and when they are using the language of calm and unmetaphorical instruction they say, “God is not a man . . .that he should repent” (Numbers 23:19); “He is in one mind, and who can turn Him?” (Job 23:13); “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

Jdg 2:18-19. For 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. When the judge was dead they returned — To their former and usual course. More than 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.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.It repented the Lord - Rather, "the Lord was moved with compassion," or "was grieved," "because of their groanings." (Compare Judges 21:15.) 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. It repented the Lord, i.e. the Lord changed his course and dealings with them, as penitent men use to do; removed his judgments, and returned to them in mercy, Genesis 6:6. And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge,.... Every one of them that he raised up; as he stirred up their spirits for such service, to judge his people, and qualified them for it, he assisted and strengthened them, and abode by them, and succeeded them in whatsoever they engaged for the welfare of the people; the Targum is,"the Word of the Lord was for the help of the judge:"

and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies all the days of the judge; so long as a judge lived, or continued to be their judge, they were protected by him, and preserved from falling into the hands of their enemies:

for it repented the Lord because of their groanings, by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them; the Lord being merciful had compassion upon them, when they groaned under their oppressions, and cried unto him, then he received their prayer, as the Targum, and sent them a deliverer; and so did what men do when they repent of a thing, change their conduct; thus the Lord changed the outward dispensation of his providence towards them, according to his unchangeable will; for otherwise repentance, properly speaking, does not belong unto God: the Targum is,"he turned from the word he spake;''the threatening he had denounced.

And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings {k} by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them.

(k) Seeing their cruelty.

18. was with the judge] as He had been with Moses and Joshua, Joshua 1:5. The Hebrew tense here shews that the verbs was, saved, denote frequentative acts in the past, used to be, used to save; similarly, it repented the Lord means the Lord used to be moved to pity. Not that Jehovah abandoned His fixed intention to punish, but His compassion was roused by the people’s cries to mitigate His purpose.

oppressed … vexed] The first word is used characteristically of Israel’s oppressors, Jdg 4:3; Jdg 6:9; Jdg 10:12, 1 Samuel 10:18; cf. Jdg 1:34 n. The second word occurs only here and Joel 2:8; it is common in Aramaic, and may be a late gloss on them that oppressed. LXX. cod. A omits it.Repeated Falling Away of the People from the Lord. - Judges 2:11-13. The Israelites did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord (what was displeasing to the Lord); they served Baalim. The plural Baalim is a general term employed to denote all false deities, and is synonymous with the expression "other gods" in the clause "other gods of the gods of the nations round about them" (the Israelites). This use of the term Baalim arose from the fact that Baal was the chief male deity of the Canaanites and all the nations of Hither Asia, and was simply worshipped by the different nations with peculiar modifications, and therefore designated by various distinctive epithets. In Judges 2:12 this apostasy is more minutely described as forsaking Jehovah the God of their fathers, to whom they were indebted for the greatest blessing, viz., their deliverance out of Egypt, and following other gods of the heathen nations that were round about them (taken verbatim from Deuteronomy 6:14, and Deuteronomy 13:7-8), and worshipping them. In this way they provoked the Lord to anger (cf. Deuteronomy 4:25; Deuteronomy 9:18, etc.).
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